Friday, December 29, 2023: the time has come for a real prophecy, and I am willing to go that road - MLK
Reflection from John Dear:
Dear friends, Blessings of Christ’s peace to you now and in the new year!
On Saturday January 6th, I’ll welcome best-selling author Jonathan Eig to the Beatitudes Center to talk about his magnificent new biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. called King: A Life. David Garrow, author of Bearing the Cross, calls it “the most comprehensive and original King biography to appear in more than thirty-five years.” I hope you will join us to learn more about Dr. King!
As we begin the new year we need Dr. King’s life and lessons more than ever to inspire us to stand up and speak out as he did.
It continues to amaze me how Dr. King kept pushing and going farther than anyone else in the cause of peace, hope, justice, and nonviolence. He had already accomplished so much in his mythic life, but as the 1960s unfolded, he moved to Chicago, started connecting the dots, and speaking out on poverty and economic injustice. Then, against the advice of practically everyone in the Civil Rights movement, he started speaking out against the Vietnam war, a decision that surely cost him his life.
Jonathan Eig tells the details of how King came to that conclusion. He quotes King in early 1967 saying, “I feel so deep in my heart that we are so wrong in this country, and the time has come for a real prophecy, and I am willing to go that road.” Wow! I thought as I read that. That’s the bold, courageous next step that we all need to take—to speak out publicly against every war, every weapon, every injustice, whether the cause is popular or not, whether the message is well received or not.
Eig writes about my friend Vincent Harding, who drafted most of King’s famous Riverside Church speech against the Vietnam war. Vincent focused, he writes, on “King’s fundamental identity and question” as he wrote the speech: “What does it mean to be a follower of Jesus the peacemaker, who called others to be peacemakers? What does it mean to take seriously this whole idea that our national identity is secondary to our spiritual identity?”
Vincent heard King preach that winter in Atlanta and ask: “Children of God, where do you stand? Where do you stand in relation to your own country? Where do you stand in relation to the sufferings and oppressions of the world? And where do you stand in relationship to our country’s contributions to those sufferings?” King’s questions as just as relevant today. Please join me as I welcome Jonathan Eig and prepare to be inspired by Dr. King.
To register, visit www.beatitudescenter.org.
The program will begin on Saturday January 6th
11am Pacific/ 12pm Mountain/ 1pm Central/ 2pm Eastern time.
You will receive the zoom link a few days beforehand, so be on the lookout!, and a recording link afterwards. If you have questions, email Kassandra at email@example.com.
Scholarships are available.
See you then! Happy new year!-- Fr. John
PS. In two weeks, I start my 5 month, 65 city book tour for my new book, The Gospel of Peace: Reading Matthew, Mark, and Luke from the Perspective of Nonviolence. Check out the schedule and get a discount copy by calling Orbis at 1-800-258-5838 or go to orbisbooks.com and use code “JDT." And please post a review on Amazon.com, too! See you on the road!