Inspirations: Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968) - Preacher, Public Intellectual, Activist, Martyr

mlk.png

"The end of life is not to be happy nor to achieve pleasure and avoid pain but to do the will of God, come what may." Strength to Love

“Who doubts that this toughness of mind is one of man’s greatest needs? Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think… The shape of the world today does not permit us the luxury of soft-mindedness. A nation or a civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on an installment plan.” Strength to Love

“Who is my neighbor? ‘I do not know his name,’ says Jesus in essence. ‘He is anyone toward whom you are neighborly. He is anyone who lies in need at life’s roadside. He is neither Jew nor Gentile; he is neither Russian nor American; he is neither Negro nor white. He is ‘a certain man’ – any needy man – on one of the numerous Jericho roads of life.’ So Jesus defines a neighbor, not in a theological definition, but in a life situation.

What constituted the goodness of the good Samaritan? Why will he always be an inspiring paragon of neighborly virtue? It seems to me that this man’s goodness may be described in one word – altruism. The good Samaritan was altruistic to the core. What is altruism? The dictionary defines altruism as ‘regard for, and devotion to, the interest of others.’ The Samaritan was good because he made concern for others the first law of his life.” Strength to Love

“The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others. In dangerous valleys and hazardous pathways, he will lift some bruised and beaten brother to a higher and more noble life.” Strength to Love

“Our responsibility as Christians is to discover the meaning of this command [to love our enemies] and seek passionately to live it out in our daily lives.” Strength to Love

"The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral and spiritual authority. If the church does not participate actively in the struggle for peace and for economic and racial justice, it will forfeit the loyalty of millions and cause men everywhere to say that it has atrophied its will. But if the church will free itself from the shackles of a deadening status quo and, recovering its great historic mission, will speak and act fearlessly and insistently in terms of justice and peace, it will enkindle the imagination of mankind and fire the souls of men, imbuing them with glowing and ardent love for truth, justice, and peace. Men far and near will know the church as a great fellowship of love that provides light and bread for lonely travelers at midnight.” Strength to Love

“Only an irrelevant religion fails to be concerned about man’s economic well-being. Religion at its best realizes that the soul is crushed as long as the body is tortured with hunger pangs and harrowed with the need for shelter. Jesus realized that we need food, clothing, shelter, and economic security. He said in clear and concise terms: ‘Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of.’ But Jesus knew that man was more than a dog to be satisfied by a few economic bones. He realized that the internal of a man’s life is as significant as the external. So he added, ‘Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.’ The tragedy of the rich man was that he sought the means first, and in the process the ends were swallowed in the means.” Strength to Love

“All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.” Strength to Love

“We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope. Only in this way shall we live without the fatigue of bitterness and drain of resentment.” Strength to Love

“As guardian of the moral and spiritual life of the community, the church cannot look with indifference upon these glaring evils. If you as Christians will accept the challenge with devotion and valor, you will lead the misguided men of your nation from the darkness of falsehood and fear to the light of truth and love… Never succumb to the temptation of becoming bitter. As you press on for justice, be sure to move with dignity and discipline using love as your chief weapon. Let no man pull you so low that you hate him. Always avoid violence. If you sow the seeds of violence in your struggle, unborn generations will reap the whirlwind of social disintegration.” Strength to Love

“The Gospel at its best deals with the whole man, not only his soul but also his body, not only his spiritual well-being but also his material well-being. A religion that professes a concern for the souls of men and is not equally concerned about the slums that damn them, the economic conditions that strangle them, and the social conditions that cripple them is a spiritually moribund religion.” Strength to Love