Tuesday, January 27, 2009

letter from a birmingham jail

for the english class i'm in this semester i had to read a letter that Martin Luther King Jr. wrote while in jail in response to a letter written by the alabama clergy. it's kind of long [11 pages! think about hand writing that!] but it's so interesting, it really makes me want to read more by and about MLK. he is such an important historical figure in america esp with the black civil rights movement and "i have a dream!" for me it's easy to forget that he was a pastor as well and it's so clear in this letter. of course it is written to people of the church so maybe there is a little more faith in it given the audience but i also haven't read anything else of his to compare. i love how his faith is weaved in and out of this letter. you can see his undivided heart. he didn't have his christian side of his life and his other side of his life. it was all one. and that's the kind of life i strive for, that God will be involved in every aspect not just where church is involved. i so want to invite God into all areas, in doing dishes, in doing homework, in doing laundry, in relationships with friends and family, and in EVERYTHING basically. i really enjoyed this section about being an extremist and King used a lot of examples to make his point and i think it's a fantastic point!! here it is...from a letter from a birmingham jail by Martin Luther King Jr.....

But though I was initially disapointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.” Was not Amos an extremist for justice: “Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Was no Paul an extremist for the Christian gospel: “I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus.” Was not Martin Luther an extremist: “Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God.” And John Bunyan: “I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience.” And Abrahman Lincoln: “This nation cannot survice half slave and half free.” And Thomas Jefferson: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that an men are created equal...” so the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremist for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime—the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, and goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of creative extremists.

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