A word to the church from Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

Trinity Baptist Church is observing Martin Luther King, Jr., day this Sunday, January 20.  During worship, we will be reading these excerpts from various sermons related to Dr. King’s challenge to the Church:

mlk“One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying.  A persistent schizophrenia leaves so many of us tragically divided against ourselves.  One the one hand, we proudly profess certain sublime and noble principles, but on the other hand, we sadly practice the very antithesis of those principles. 

“How often are our lives characterized by a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds!  We talk eloquently about our commitment to the principles of Christianity, and yet our lives are saturated with the practices of paganism.  We proclaim our devotion to democracy, but we sadly practice the very opposite of the democratic creed.  We talk passionately about peace, and at the same time we assiduously prepare for war.  We make our fervent pleas for the high road of justice, and then we tread unflinchingly the low road of injustice.  This strange dichotomy, this agonizing gulf…represents the tragic theme of man’s earthly pilgrimage.  But in the life of Jesus we find that the gulf is bridged.”

 – “Love in Action.”

“Be not conformed to this world” is difficult advice in a generation when crowd pressures have unconsciously conditioned our minds and feet to move to the rhythmic drumbeat of the status quo.  Many voices and forces urge us to choose the path of least resistance, and bid us never to fight for an unpopular cause and never to be found in a pathetic minority of two or three…

“In spite of this prevailing tendency to conform, we as Christians have a mandate to be [transformed] nonconformists…

“Nowhere is the tragic tendency to conform more evident than in the church, an institution which has often served to crystallize, conserve, and even bless the patterns of majority opinion…The church has hearkened more to the authority of the world than to the authority of God…The hope of a secure world lies,[ however], with disciplined [transformed] nonconformists, who are dedicated to justice, peace, and brotherhood.  Human salvation lies in the hands [of the church] of the maladjusted.

–“Transformed Nonconformist,” (various quotes).

Both are from Strength to Love, by Martin Luther King, Jr.

Published by Joe LaGuardia

I am a pastor and author in Vero Beach, Florida, and write on issues related to spirituality, faith, politics, and culture.

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