Today’s Theological Thursday column will be written in two parts. This, the first part, begins a conversation that will be revisited on Monday, Martin Luther King Day.
Martin Luther King Day is among the most unlikely of American holidays. It is the only federal holiday to recognize an ordained minister, the only one to recognize an African-American, and (as far as I can tell) the only federal holiday celebrating a person investigated by the federal government.
Dr. King visited Buffalo twice in his life, in 1956 and 1960, but did not address the particular concerns of Buffalo either time. So the task I propose for the weekend is one of imagination. Given what Dr. King said in his context, what might he say in ours?
Known as an advocate for desegregation, Dr. King also passionately spoke out against poverty, and in favor of pacifism and labor. Would Dr. King speak for LGBT people today? How would he address terrorism? Materialism? Technology?
In particular, what would be the most important first step in Buffalo for Dr. King? Would he fight our unofficial segregation by block/neighborhood? The violence we experience? Poverty?
This has been on my mind all week. My twitter feed this week features 1 to 3 quotes per day from Dr. King, and on Sunday at 10AM, I will preach one of his sermons at Lafayette Church. (Amazingly – and sadly – it is still relevant.)
After all of this reflection, including your own, Part II of this topic will be published in this space on Monday, Martin Luther King Day.
A personal plea: open and honest discussion is encouraged, but please hold yourself to a high standard of kindness and collegiality. Discussions that touch on race are sorely needed, but often avoided because of negative participation. This is especially true online, where nobody knows you are a dog. Play nice, and if you would not take ownership of a comment by putting your real name next to it, then please don’t say it.