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Monday, January 18, 2010

MLK at Riverside Church

Martin Luther King on "the fierce urgency of now:

A genuine revolution of values means in the final analysis that our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional. Every nation must now develop an overriding loyalty to mankind as a whole in order to preserve the best in their individual societies.

This call for a world-wide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one's tribe, race, class and nation is in reality a call for an all-embracing and unconditional love for all men. This oft misunderstood and misinterpreted concept -- so readily dismissed by the Nietzsches of the world as a weak and cowardly force -- has now become an absolute necessity for the survival of man. When I speak of love I am not speaking of some sentimental and weak response. I am speaking of that force which all of the great religions have seen as the supreme unifying principle of life. Love is somehow the key that unlocks the door which leads to ultimate reality. This Hindu-Moslem-Christian-Jewish-Buddhist belief about ultimate reality is beautifully summed up in the first epistle of Saint John:

Let us love one another; for love is God and everyone that loveth is born of God and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love. If we love one another God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.

Let us hope that this spirit will become the order of the day. We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate. As Arnold Toynbee says : "Love is the ultimate force that makes for the saving choice of life and good against the damning choice of death and evil. Therefore the first hope in our inventory must be the hope that love is going to have the last word."

We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The "tide in the affairs of men" does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out deperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residue of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: "Too late." There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. "The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on..." We still have a choice today; nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.

We must move past indecision to action. We must find new ways to speak for peace in Vietnam and justice throughout the developing world -- a world that borders on our doors. If we do not act we shall surely be dragged down the long dark and shameful corridors of time reserved for those who possess power without compassion, might without morality, and strength without sight.

Now let us begin. Now let us rededicate ourselves to the long and bitter -- but beautiful -- struggle for a new world. This is the callling of the sons of God, and our brothers wait eagerly for our response. Shall we say the odds are too great? Shall we tell them the struggle is too hard? Will our message be that the forces of American life militate against their arrival as full men, and we send our deepest regrets? Or will there be another message, of longing, of hope, of solidarity with their yearnings, of commitment to their cause, whatever the cost? The choice is ours, and though we might prefer it otherwise we must choose in this crucial moment of human history.

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8 comments:

  1. I bet Cline's ears are stinging with angry tears after hearing this sermon! All the talk of God -- it's so much what he hates! Scairt him right off this week with this 'un, didn't you?

    And even though this focuses on the wussy concept of a loving diety instead of the Wrathful Jesus Who Will Smite Mine Enemies (and what's all this mentioning of other pagan religions without condemning their very existence?) it's still good because it mentions God. You can't say "God" enough, when you think about it. I try to do it all the time in my mind, like an endless loop. God God God God God God God God Scrod God God God God God God God God God God God God...

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  2. ... seems the Canadian winter has randomized what few coherent synaptic connections poor ole Bukko had ...

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  3. Speaking of god:

    *"I just can't see myself sunning on the beach, playing in the water, eating a barbecue, and enjoying a cocktail while [in Port-au-Prince] there are tens of thousands of dead people being piled up on the streets, with the survivors stunned and looking for food and water," one passenger wrote on the Cruise Critic internet forum.

    How do the angels sing and praise the lord while so many on earth suffer and perish in pain and agony? Answer: heaven is just another cruise ship, baby--donate a little manna here and there and your conscience can go home and take a long untroubled nap.

    *The man quoted above is obviously a commie god-hater and should be diced up into Carnival Cruise Chum post-haste!

    ++++

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  4. I dunno, General. It all sounds very much like that One World Order that Glenn Beck is always warning us about.

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  5. JoeViz, it's not the Canadahoovian winter (I'm actually warmer here in the Great Wet North than my poor ol' Mum is in the semi-Southern state of Maryland) that makes me write funny. I notice myself getting that way after Mrs. Bukko lights up a stick of this medicinal incense called "B.C. Bud" which she buys from a dispense-o-ree near here. Odd stuff it is, seeing as how she says it's incense but she smokes the sticks like they're cigarettes. But it must be all right, because she had to go to a doctor to get a perskripshun for it, and it operates out in the open from a storefront right there on Broadway (one of the bigger streets in this town.) Or at least it used to before it burnt down a coupla weeks ago. But everybody thinks the arson was part of an urban renewal plan to incinerate some heritage-protected old buildings so they could be replaced by nice, modern high-rises, not anything to do with the medicinal incense business.

    Hey -- I smell some in the other room right now. Gotta go talk to the Mrs. And mebbe engage in some heavy breathing....

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  6. Hey, Rich, I tweeted you earlier today. You’ll pardon the expression.

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We'll try dumping haloscan and see how it works.