After watching the controversy surrounding Dodge using MLK as an element of a commercial, I wondered how many people are aware of the totality of MLK's grounding in Christ. Yes, civil rights were in the forefront, however, MLK was not a one sided Christian trying to simplify or change Christ's truth. He was a man of God. He called out injustice, untruth, and everything the deceiver covets in this world in a way that allowed the power of Christ to flow through. My question today is, how often do you see this in the Christian church today? Are we given to Christ enough to stand up to the status quo, to corruption, or do we too often become just another cog in the system?
If you read more of the actual, full and original, speech given by Martin Luther King Jr where he talks about 'having to buy a certain type of vehicle', which I believe was the same speech parsed and used in the commercial ironically, he is actually calling out the advertising, the brainwashing, of people's minds. MLK is speaking out against the idea that we need to do something worldly, have some particular thing, to somehow be acceptable and loved. It is a RADICAL and truth affirming witnessing for God's Truth versus the deceptions that we are bombarded with daily regarding what makes us 'ok'
MLK is challenging the entire system. You are loved by God as you are, without a condition. It is the conditions we impose on ourselves that lead us to believe we are somehow less than what we should be without- the car, the clothes, the house etc. You are not those things.
In the church today, I too often see worldly values going unchallenged, creeping into the everyday of the church. Who was Jesus? Did he cozy up to the pharisees or did he challenge them unto his death? Our call is to expose the falsehoods of the worldly so that God's grace can be our reality. We don't have to do this with hate or judgement and MLK was a great example of this. These issues span so many church experiences- social cliques within the church, politics over Holy Spirit, how we dress, the cars we drive, the profession we choose- I could keep going on with whatever it might be we use to divide and define ourselves. Go back to what MLK was saying- you are not defined by these things. Love is inclusive, unifying, and destroys those things we use to divide ourselves into categories.
Many churches today even use secular ideology to define their manner of doing church business. Resume's, qualifications, business structures, reputation, image...it's as if the Bible is good enough to preach from but when it comes to "real life", we have to rely on what our built up systems tell us. I ask you this- what qualifications did the apostles have? Did Jesus ask for others to wash his feet, or did he wash feet? Is your church serving you, or have you started to feel as though you're servicing the church as some independent entity? These are questions which are meant to help us stop and examine what we're really doing and why.
The point here is not to cast blame but, as MLK called us to do, to examine ourselves and what we place value in. Love should be the foundation of any discernment because there is also a temptation to judge- and that is not what we are called to do. At the same time MLK is calling us out on what we place our faith in, and if you listen to the speech you can feel it come through, he is expressing a great caring and love for the very people he is calling out. It is a beautiful thing to hear and feel. MLK is a man who can at once call out your error and make you feel blessed by his deep caring.
I call on myself, and each one of you, to be a radical, loving Christian. As MLK so eloquently did, allow the Truth of Christ to testify through you for others to see. You don't have to do this with words. You can do it with a gesture, a smile, or an example in your life. Challenge the status quo, speak out for the Truth of Christ in love and understanding, and let Him work through you in your daily life, and in the church.