Words of Hope: MLK

A woman named Luska is one of NBC’s bright stars. She is brilliant and has an incredibly powerful mind. Since we first met more than 30 years ago, we have called each other sisters and worked hard to give our all to love and care for each other and each other’s families. We phone when we can and discuss the state of the world. How do we reconcile our histories of violence? She is black. Her parents are from St. Lucia but left to live in London. St. Lucia is an island bereft with the blood of slavery. My own generational family came from Jamaica. None of my lineage that I can discover so far owned slaves, but I am sure they held racist beliefs and blindness. Shann is a forgiveness researcher, and in his discoveries, he has uncovered genocide and atrocity in every continent in every age from every race, gender, and religious or irreligious belief, taking different forms and mutating with the change of power and the desire for domination.  

Luska and her family stayed with mom and dad for a few weeks before Dad died. We talked together about ways to bring relational healing and justice to our world, especially the church. I believe MLK would want us to not just post a quote about his life but to wrestle with tangible ways to bring his dream to life. Dad and I loved Martin Luther King Jr. Our family has read many of his books. 

Martin Luther King Jr. was a champion of loving the oppressor. He spoke a prophetic dream of unity, love, and a truly compassionate society. He was a genius at calling out the lies of the white “Christian church” who claimed Christianity while fostering racism, lynching, violence, abuse, segregation, hatred, and horror. We have yet to comprehensively address as a united Christian body the tremendous suffering we have perpetrated through the ages in the guise of Christ but in the motive of power and cultural domination. I hope in my lifetime, a greater movement toward reconciliation of our historical and present violence can be addressed with dignity, self-responsibility, compassion, power, and change. This is being addressed right now in crucial books like James Cone’s, The Cross and the Lynching Tree, All About Love, by bell hooks, and other influential movements like Bryan Stevenson’s Equal Justice Initiative and the work of Nez Perce Leader Robbie Paul to mention just a few.

When Dad was dying, I told him he would have the best time talking with some of the greatest people in history. I love you, Dad, and know you loved Martin Luther King Jr. Dad; I hope you both are enjoying eternity together and my other life heroes, Harriet Tubman, and Sojourner Truth. 

By opening our lives to God in Christ, we become new creatures. This experience, which Jesus spoke of as the new birth, is essential if we are to be transformed nonconformists . . . Only through an inner spiritual transformation do we gain the strength to fight vigorously the evils of the world in a humble and loving spirit.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.