Monday, January 20, 2014

Bold Dreams on MLK Day

I have written so much about Martin Luther King since I started keeping a blog.  If you're looking for a post with a more spiritual orientation and peacemaking suggestions, try today's post on my theology blog.  Here's one of my favorite blog posts about MLK, a post with lots of links, complete with one of the first poems of mine ever published, "Arcing Towards Justice."

I looked through my poetry folder for a new poem to post today.  I came across a poem from a much earlier time, after I had just watched Gary Sinise play George Wallace.  The poem is much too angry to post here, and not terribly good, but I did like these lines which I repeat in the poem:

If blacks can forgive George Wallace, why can’t I forgive
you?  You have repented your evil past,

Feel free to play with some poem ideas if these lines move you.  I give them away.

Giving away lines of poetry is certainly not the kind of service that so many people feel would be a good way to celebrate the life of Martin Luther King.  Today is a great day to do some service projects to move the world towards mercy or justice.  But truly, what a difference we'd make if we approached every day in that spirit.

Today is a good day to go back to read King's written work.  He was a masterful writer.  We can learn a lot from him.

I love that King almost always called us to higher places, even as others implored him to slow down, to take it easy, to not go at such breakneck pace.  Today is a good day to think about our own dreams for our country, for our planet, while also acknowledging how far we've come.

Today is a day to dream big and bold visions. We could change our society. We could make it better. What would that society look like?

We have to dream that dream before we can achieve it. We have to find the courage to hold tightly to our visions. We have to face down all the fire hoses, both those of our minds which inform us of the impossibility of our dreams and those of our society, that tells us to move more slowly.

But first we have to dream. Dream boldly, today of all days.

Or maybe we have amends to make, the way that George Wallace did.  Maybe we haven't dreamed boldly, or worse, maybe we've stood in the way of those who did dream boldly.  Today is a good day to take a risk and to apologize.

I'm amazed to remember how Wallace transformed himself late in life.  I'm amazed at how many people were willing to forgive him, although I shouldn't be.  The Civil Rights movement was rooted in Christian principles of love and redemption, after all.

Wallace did more than say he was sorry.  He was still governor, and he appointed African-Americans to various positions.

Here is my favorite Martin Luther King quote: "The arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice."  How can we, like MLK, like George Wallace, help bend that arc of history towards justice?

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