Martin Luther King Jr. as Pastor (2006)

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Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deuts...

Martin Luther King leaning on a lectern. Deutsch: 1964: Martin Luther King Português: Martin Luther King (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

PBS
January 13th, 2006

[…]

Prof. BALDWIN: The pastoral role was central to everything, virtually everything, Dr. King achieved or sought to achieve in the church and in the society as a whole.

LAWTON: King was 25 and finishing his doctoral dissertation at Boston University when he was appointed to his first job as a local pastor at Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Baldwin says in many ways, King was simply carrying on the family business.

[…]

Prof. BALDWIN: Being a pastor for him was being a civil rights leader.

Rev. THURMAN: It was the African-American church that nurtured him and gave him the sense that God was a god of justice, God was a god of mercy, God was a god of reckoning.

LAWTON: Thurman says it was King’s position at the church that enabled him to get so deeply involved with the civil rights struggle.

[…]

via January 13, 2006 ~ Martin Luther King Jr. as Pastor | Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly | PBS

see also

The Theology of Martin Luther King, Jr.- Articles- BlackandChristian.com

King’s God: The Unknown Faith of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. | Tikkun Magazine

see

Martin Luther King, Jr.: “I Have a Dream…to Go to War?!”

Beyond Vietnam – A Time to Break Silence By Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1967)

36 thoughts on “Martin Luther King Jr. as Pastor (2006)

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  4. i am glad that you are on tonight pal ! i just finished a day of preaching on the campus of the university. and the peoples lives really changed. intellegent philospher students with linear thinking questions .

    i preached on the great love of God . i said ” what kind of person in their right mind would turn away the God of Humility on a cross? my answer –someone who is not in their right mind”. then i went on to explain why rationalism is not rational . and that though deductive reason is important , it epistemologically can be superseded by ”inspired reason ”. these people like many others flocked to me afterward with hunger in their eyes . these were not ”unbalanced ” cult like people . in fact over the years the people that have come to christ thru me were very balanced people . seekers . serious ones like me . and if you consider conversion ”fallen”, well like ricky lee jones sings about her conversion , it is ”falling up ”.

    should i remain silent ? sure you jest ? and for some reason i had so much love in my heart today that could not resist holding court on campus . to have that kind of Love inside a person ( and i know where it came from ) and to withhold it , is an act of utter cruelty ! these people think that God hates them . they were raised in fundamentalist homes out here pal . my job is to correct this by stating that God is love. not God is love …but. no. God is love. period.

    most people thru history have abused Christ’s name , and we are warned by Christ that it would happen in the gospels , and we are warned most will reject. this has nothing to do with the good news of the living flame of love. it has to do with people having hard hearts.

    you dont see the Bible as a masterpiece of literature ? everything you mentioned about it ( if you have indeed read it at all ) is what literature is all about . Hamlet isnt pretty . Niether is Dante. and you are artist enough to know the trafgedy of what Bosch was seeking to express in Christ carrying his cross , and the Garden of delights. this aint Self magazine here pal . Shakespeare scholar Harold Bloom , athiest, states ipso factp that in the Theocratic age of Lit that Genisis , Exodus , the book of Job , and the Gospel of Mark are equal to the great greek tragedys and Homer . so , you might want to take it up with him in his work ”the Western Canon”.

    • I’d like to stay on-topic, if possible, because I feel this topic is a very important one.

      But just to reply about the scriptures, I don’t intend to blaspheme when I say that indeed the Bible has some captivating stories, but to consider it a ‘book’, written by a single author, or in any way a legitimate translation of anything consistent would be inaccurate. If anything it is a compilation of short stories & parables contributed by many authors, altered by many hands through many transcriptions, transliterations & translations. Homer would be a far more compelling example of epic literature by definition.

      The topical point is not whether Christians haven’t done great works of art, architecture & literature/poetry from belief, nobody in their ‘right mind’ would argue that, certainly not I!

      (But one could not, by that token, say that Christian works were necessarily greater or more excellent than Buddhist, Muslim or ‘pagan’ tribal works. Great works born of spiritual convictions is not unique to Christianity).

      The topical point is also not whether Jesus was loving, since biblical evidence of him (to whatever extent accurate) would indicate such. King has an excellent early expose on early Christian reactions to Jesus (see below).

      The topical point here is regarding the Rev. Martin Luther King as Baptist Preacher & Christian.

      Critical to that point would therefore be his Theology, his interpretation of the bible, his religion, and the ‘canon’ he preached his most influential and celebrated works. Thankfully we have written evidence of his thoughts on theology.

      King was, as illustrated above born into the Baptist church, a third-generation preacher. He did not need to ‘fall up’ or ‘cross over’ or be ‘born again’, he was already there.

      If the point of the OP is to demonstrate that King was a Baptist preacher of the Gospel & influenced by the Church, indeed that was wonderfully shown in the video above to have been his pre-existing condition from his inception.

      But the further point is that king utterly, fundamentally rejected the sort of biblical theology you proclaim as Truth, a point which you seem to entirely avoid.

      If one is going to regularly invoke ‘King the Christian’ in support of your sort of Biblical Christianity, it would be entirely disingenuous to abuse his theology in order to validate yours when in fact King stands in direct opposition to virtually all of your biblical musings about the Virgin Birth, the Resurrection, etc.

      Since you like to read & regularly cite pedantic references, it would be obligatory of you to actually read some of King’s theology (which I don’t believe you have) before you claim him as proof of the biblical stories which you insist are evidence that the divinity of Jesus was & remains the compelling aspect of Christ, or that King is evidence that biblical Christianity begets good.

      The http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/news/article/volume_vi_martin_luther_king_jr_questioned_issues_of_faith_new_volume_reveal King Papers Project, published in 6 volumes from 1994-2007 thoroughly documents his work from his earliest papers at Crozer Theological Seminary College where he “persistently questioned literal interpretations of biblical texts and criticized traditional Baptist teachings”.

      From http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/kingpapers/article/volume_i_13_september_to_23_november_19491/ paper entitled:

      “What Experiences of Christians Living in the Early Christian Century Led to the Christian Doctrines of the Divine Sonship of Jesus, the Virgin Birth, and the Bodily Resurrection”:

      • On the Virgin Birth: “First we must admit that the evidence for the tenability of this doctrine is to shallow to convince any objective thinker”

      • On the Resurrection: “In fact the external evidence for the authenticity of this doctrine is found wanting”

      Some would claim this means King was a Heretic.

      I might offer that this paper & many other evidence of Kings theology, helped unburden Christianity of the literalist prescientific fairytales which besets the faith with primitive, biblical incredulity.

      King realigned Jesus with a more realistic understanding of the compelling human Jesus likely really was.

      In this way King bolstered his own unique convictions, passions & brilliance with what he found to be the true influence & leadership of Jesus.

      In this way, King was able to modernize an antiquated, abused biblical bastardization of Jesus & Christianity, & revive the gifts of Jesus the Man by breathing King’s own life & leadership into the foundation of the faith.

      In this way King allowed the love that you find in Jesus to be brought into modern society in order to truly effect change & to truly bring forth justice, love & compassion into our present lives, something biblical pastors have failed for centuries to achieve.

      It is not the teaching of Christ about which I find you misguided, it is your preaching about the balance of the Bible.

      I suspect the biblical stories, which are full of threats, guilt, fear & longing, with which you & Christian preachers have used to try to compel believers in an effort to somehow save them is the very problem with Christianity throughout history.

      To see the Bible as anything BUT literature is doing a disservice to the very essence of Jesus which you seek to disseminate.

      The Bible is perhaps at the root of why the Teachings of Jesus have failed to bring about Love.

      How best to bring Jesus into our hearts in order to effect the earthly love & compassion he tried to impart?

      Option A:
      Kings method where he tossed biblicalism at the very outset. He did not need the fear & greed, afterlife salvation & threat of damnation used for ages by biblicalists to keep their flock in line in order to effect the change in human society he, & Jesus sought to bring about.

      Option B:
      Biblical method, where the age-old technique of battering believers with primitive biblical ghost-stories & the threat of torture in hell remains the harangue of Christian preachers which results in an undeniably compulsive, crazed cult of war, greed & destructive Dominionism which Christianity continues to perpetuate on steroids today.

      Evangelicals continue to choose the latter & their failed theology continues to propel these misguided hoards of Christian lemmings compulsively down their terrified centuries of unconscionable devastation & destruction through the modern age and inevitably into the perpetual future.

      King chose the former & His theology worked!

    • Rocket,

      If you are going to say ‘god is love, period’, then you would need to renounce the myths of ‘hell’ the ‘devil’, ‘judgement’ & the whole notion that god is a judgmental, wrathful deity.

      In support of this notion, suggest you read this recent article about Pastor Rob Bell’s realignment of god with love, which seems to be upsetting evangelicals:

      http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2065080,00.html

      Do you reject Pastor Bell’s notions as well, and what do you think Rev. King would think of it?

  5. It is true that Christianity helped King preach love, & Islam helped Rumi write about love, but they are the exception not the rule in either faith.

    But King did not spread his vision of peace & solidarity by evangelizing. His politics & activism were peculiarly secular & humanistic for a preacher.

    Certainly Gandhi was no practicing Christian. Turning the other cheek & loving your enemies is a common truth in both Christianity & Hinduism. He was influenced by Christ, but also by Thoreau, Tolstoy among others. King was influenced by Gandhi. The origins & compilations of influences & ideas may not validate the entirety of any faith.

    As preaching in the Baptist tradition refined his brilliance as a compelling public speaker and rousing style of leadership, I think his leadership was ultimately rooted in his own convictions as a rare, humanism.

    Nonviolent political change was a concept drawn from several sources, and if the Sermon on the Mount helped inspire him, as it did Gandhi, then that is as golden as it is rare.

    But Kings extensive study of theology & philosophy, his brilliant treatise on scripture, lead him to the conclusion that the bible is NOT a literal text.

    He is extremely rare among those who would call themselves Christians in that regard. King was a true reformer of scripture, creating a faith all humanity can identify with.

    • well now –you see , humanism is not restricted to an anthropocentric paradigm. Maritan’s book ”True Humanism ” builds the case of the 2 humanisms thru history ; anthrocentric, and theocentric . King was in the theo camp . so was Tolstoy , Bhatsi Khan ( who worked with Ghandi , as well as Ghandi , so on and so forth .

      all the great theologicans never take the Bible literally . it is masterpeice literature of the Theocratic age. everybody knows that the garden is an allegory . to literalize it is to water it down . some of the bible is literal , some allegory , some mythos , etc. etc.

      those who used the sermon on the mount and lets say Bakti Yogi like Gandhi took it LITERALLY . what King did was use the sermon on the mount literally and worked tight with constitutionalist concepts and socialist ones , running big tent . that is a winning combo !

      as far as rightly dividing the bible i would really like to see it less rare and more common , because then it could become more effective. but i may be asking for too much . besides Christ said that very few would follow the straight path . many take the wide road to their own perdictions of chinas that they have forged jacob marly style .

      • I’m no biblicial scholar, philosopher nor intellectual.

        But the Garden wasn’t the only allegory, according to King, and perhaps I should post this on your last, & I’ve yet to read King’s entire screed on biblical literalism from his earliest convictions recently published.

        But limiting the quotation, but per an on-topic close to your heart:

        King on the Virgin Birth http://mlk-kpp01.stanford.edu/index.php/kingpapers/article/king_paper_volumes1/

        “First we must admit that the evidence for the tenability of this doctrine is too shallow to convince any objective thinker…”

        I’ll save the other Pagan sources of birth/death/resurrection for your prior article.

        Love & compassion & justice was a gift of Jesus, a gift he was aparrently gifted in giving.

        The bible is, however otherwise likely an assemblage of miscellaneous malarkey.

        But who am I to say…

        • that is why i stated that King is a Protestant . many Protestants reject virgin birth . dont bother me none . the goal is to be like Christ. King got about as close to that goal as anyone in my lifetime.

        • one more thing .save you a trip to my article on the Christ story being a copycat of pagan storys . that i did not add to my article is this : st. Paul in Athens. the message he preached was so original that people said ” what are these strange deities ?” . ”what is this new teaching”? Athens –Mars Hill –picture it …Paul standing in front of a highly intelligent group of Stoci and Epicurean Philosophers and the idols in their full splendor speaking about Jesus and the Resurrection , and them not recognizing any of their pagan myths in his message. in fact Paul used a poem from the Stoic Cleanthes on the Unknown God .

          they never heard this NEW teaching –strange deity . why ? becuase it was new , strange , and had nothing to do with any pagan myth whatsoever. because the fact of the matter is , it is new , unique. hence the copycat thesis theory falls apart.

      • Sadly it’s, IMO, hopelessly truncated such as to distort the record, irrelevant to his very erudite & well explicated, detailed theological, biblical interpretation,as I took great pains to point out in relevant footnoted references, studies & quotations. Did DS read them, were they indeed irrelevant & did she have a response or consider Dr. King’s actual writings on the matter pertinent?

        • What do you think of his theology? My opinion is not relevant as I’ve stated before. I generally don’t make comments.

          The point of this post is a reminder that King was a Christian minister, not just a civil rights leader. It’s not a debate on his theology.

        • But I think his theology is entirely relevant to this post. Indeed he was a Christian, but a liberal Christian, with very specific tho controvesial views on the story of the Bible.

          Heaccordingly felt that the Virgin Birth, for example, was alegorical, and that much of the new testament not literal but myth, not credible in the age of science.

          There are many interpretations of Christianity, all are considered Christians.

          If we are to consider King a Christian, then we ought to consider his views of the bible & the specifics of the stories therein, which are subject to so much theological debate among various clergy.

          The views of King are further explicated at this link, and interesting to anyone interested in Rev. King, his theology & interpretation of scripture:

          http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-religion/2658033/posts

          I hope to find a transliteration online of his 1954 thesis which detailed so much of his theology, powering his later work.

        • Touché; actually had me looking up docetist, Eutychean, Monophysite.

          But what if all the labyrinthine obsession is just fiction? What if indeed it’s all just Dust in the Wind, energy back to entropy?

          The labyrinthine eschatological theorems of theology merely machinations of a brain desperate about death…

          It is an option to consider, there may only be the Now, and we may be better off abiding the Buddhist notion of the present. They are less warlike; it’s a fact, no? King, & Gandhi would concur.

        • IF …. it is all just entropy, dust in the wind , fear of death etc etc , then the answer is not an Epicurean cowardice and shrug of the shoulder , but rather Pascal’s wager.

          the Wager as laid out in the” Pensees”, presupposes an Orthodox / Orthodpraxis fusion as King himself believed and lived , and can head off the null set proposals at the pass. indeed , it was Pascals’ answer not only to the rise of rationalism in post Cartesian cogito ergo sum , but also the response to the Deist’s abstract apolegetics as found in the works of Paley’s ”Watch and Watchmaker.”

          The Wager is very Christologically specific and unique .

        • One more thing about King’s theology . one must rememember that he is a Protestent . this is all fine and well . but Protestent theology is not the same as Catholic or Greek orthodox theology either Christologically or Sotierlogically . but that does mean that he is a Herasarch. it is all a matter of emphasis . the old see-saw analogy .

        • There you have it:

          King was a Protestant (& some say a republican…), and Protestants, by your statement, are likely not ‘real’ Christians, therefore king is not a Christian, and you are therefore objecting to the premise of the OP.

          Certainly his theology was far more modern & reformed than even protestants, bringing his conclusions about the validity of the what he felt was the allegorical nature of the bible even further from any literalist interpretation at all.

          But if reformed Christians are lesser believers, and the Catholic & Greek Orthodox the more pure, how do you explain the issues reformers were rejecting in the Catholic church, buying off your sins & such, which, among other heinous activities & abuse of power by Catholics throughout history which were certainly not what one assumes Christ would have taught, a few bad Christians?

          Truly Christian or not, likely the ‘good Christians’ to which you commonly refer (King, Day, et al), are about as rare as ‘good’ people of any faith, or of no faith.

          Would you claim that Christianity, whether as a faith or as a lifestyle ‘wager’ has improved the quality of people who call themselves Christians over non-Christians?

        • Are you implying that King’s theology is that of a nonbeliever living life as a Christian as a lifestyle choice? If you believed that then you wouldn’t believe King was a Christian, and couldn’t use him as an example of the goodness wrought by Christianity because it simply wouldn’t apply.

          It seems you are assuming that Pascal’s Wager is a happy medium for the nonbeliever because living the Christian life is good, whether you believe or not. But others would dramatically disagree.

          Likely one couldn’t properly follow the tenets if one weren’t a believer, it doesn’t work so well even among the highest authorities of the Catholic Church, we see with the rampant epidemic of clergy abusing alter boys, the subsequent cover-up all the way to the pope, etc.

          Living life as if there were an afterlife, that all in this life is beholden to a set of antiquated rules laid out in the NT & OT (which Christ never wrote, and he would likely not have directed followers to violence, stoning to death & such) under a Manichean construct of good vs. evil, a carrot & stick threat of damnation vs. salvation.

          Others would offer that Pascal’s wager if true for Christianity would apply to other religions, such as Buddhism, where even if one didn’t entirely buy into Nirvana, etc. that a daily dedication to living in the present, compassion that is genuine (as opposed to good works in the selfish quest for glory in the afterlife), meditation, finding peace in the moment, ridding oneself of longing, etc. (much of which is diametrically opposed to the tenets of the Bible), would behoove one to practice.

          If Pascal’s wager were practical, as you & Pascal, seem to conclude, could not a wrathful god sniff out the fakes & condemn them to doom at judgment. Perhaps then a Christocentric society that encompasses believers & non is not a solution, as certainly history has proven.

        • i never said anything pejorative about protestants. i love Kierkegaard , Bonhoffer , on and on , and King . though i personally am a Catholic cause it works for me , the only point i am making was that King was a Protestant . that is all. it is a salient point in light of theological differences and similaritys . trying to pick a fight here is useless. in my view there is a prophetic reason for protestants given the corruption of the Church historically . no prob here. it is just vital to rememebr where someone is coming from and not make then into ones own image of what they want them to be . Because King’s Christology was not catholic no less invalidates him being a Christian .

          regarding Pascals wager : the history of the wager was at a time when Pascal , formost Mathematician of his time was observing and remembering the gambling he was around with his father . he simply applied this to theology . it is complex. but in a nutshell , it is a 50 /50 chance on the gospel being true . so why not take the wager ? a man has nothing to lose. if all you see is entropy and dust in the wind , the Wager still applys . in fact it really applys then , because of uncertainty. if the gospel is not true , then what does it matter? but if it is , then the Wager of the leap of faith , it matters infinitely. one does not know , so Pascal is stating , why not take the gamble . Pascal states that a man must wager either way . a decision must be made either way . to not to choose is to choose. so why not make it a conscious choice to believe. i wrote this in answer to your question about what if all of this is dust in the wind . i did not write this in any hope of you believing . because personally , i dont think you want to believe. i think you just want to argue and remain contentious .

        • Thanks for explaining Pascal’s Wager for all who may not be aware of what it means.

          To barefootboy: Basically one needs an open mind and an open heart; read the NT with both open; wait. It literally changed my life and for the better. I’m so grateful and thankful for this salvation. It is the Good News. It doesn’t get any better than that.

        • one more thing . King was a literalistic about the Bible . he believed that when Jesus said ”love your enemies , and pray for those who despitefully use you” , he meant it LITERALLY ! fundamentalists …you know what their problem is –they are not fundamentalist enough . they think that this is all metaphor , when Jesus actually lived what he preached. King’s whole theology of non violence , as well as Gandhi’s was based on a literal interpretation of the Sermon on the Mount. that is why it was so effective. to be a literalist is to be effective. the word protestant comes from the root –to protest. right on for MLK. so dont waste your time trying to juxtopose the catholic / protestant thing. that is old hat . that happened in the Reformation . long gone . we catholic workers love King , and emulate his model .

        • I understand Pascal’s Wager, to the extent it’s understandable, ie you might as well go through the motions just in case it’s true…

          But consider this could be a contextual self-fulfilling conclusion born of a mistrust of both logic & faith, the latter being more compelling.

          Logic is tedius, but terrifying people with what might happen if they don’t believe in what logic is telling them is a dubious ghost story is easy. Naturally fear & greed win.

          I don’t argue to be contentious. I think you believe, and part of believing in the Bible is to evangelize. If mastering a laundry list of phrases from the history of philosophy aids in that goal by bewildering your mark, then it was worth the trouble.

          Your primary goal, it seems, is not so much to draw from various credos to assemble a unique world view, it’s to prove scripture right & invalidate all other thought.

          This justification for promoting what you see as ‘fundamental’ fundamentalism is based in a tiny part of a big book.

          You’ve cherry-picked two or three lines attributed to Christ, and based on that, proclaimed Christianity to be a loving religion.

          Yet in doing so you’ve tossed the entire balance of the book.

          If the Sermon on the Mount is your only evidence of Jesus, then the Bible is a mighty thin book. Why not just scrap the rest?

          I am not un-glad for you both that this conviction has been so good for you & brings you comfort. I do not deny Christ or your faith, I merely point out that what you find in it that gives you strength is part of a far larger, complex construction.

          I don’t reckon that evangelizing, trying to get others to ‘cross over’ is good for society, and I question whether you are doing this to spread love, or in order to fulfill your obligation to spread the Word in order to benefit your report-card on Judgments Day.

          If you are truly trying to bring others your joy through trying to enlighten them to love & compassion, there are better, more proven faiths & philosophies to employ. In other words, spreading Christianity, may, ironically be un-Christian.

          Consider that evangelicals & missionaries, even those spreading it with the best of intentions cause unconscionable destruction.

          Almost invariably the spread of monotheism destroys far more than it enlightens.

          The pestilence of a dubious, anti-intellectual, illogical, blind-belief-based destructive screed unleashed on humanity under the threat that you either follow or fry, is demonic.

          The evangelical nature of monotheism resulted in incalculable harm to humanity.

          If past performance is any guarantee of future returns, you have a pretty slim chance of creating a good Christian, for such people are extremely rare, about as rare as in the secular world.

          Christianity is clearly a faith all too easily abused. Its biblical vehicle, the compelling construct of un-Christ-like tales created a kind of cult that has destined humanity to earthly damnation.

          It is a riddle as to why a faith founded on love is so destructive while Buddhism, for example is not.

          Perhaps the problematic, millennial scourge of monotheism has to do not with Jesus & his meditations on love, compassion for the poor, etc. any more than Rumi’s love poems condemned Islam.

          The problem perhaps stems from the rest, the fundaments of the faith drawn from sources predating Christ, an antiquated system of belief based in fear, terror & control by extreme forces outside the individual, eternal salvation vs damnation in Hades dispensed by a ruthless tyrant governed by some primitive Zoroastrian concept of good & evil.

          Whatever the reason, Christ apparrently couldn’t predict that in trying to spread love through divinity, his followers brought death to humanity. For me that is even more tragic than his torture & execution.

        • In reply to your April 6 points. …

          1. i don’t seek to prove that all scripture is right . some of the epistles of Paul were forged . read bart erman’s new book ”forged”. there are 7 that we know of that were not .

          2. Monotheism : Freud will take you to task on your premise of Monotheism in his book ”Moses and Monotheism ”, where he states that Monotheism is a major leap in evolution for the human race away from animism , polytheism , and pantheism ..and Monism . and this is coming from a brilliant atheist. were i would tweak his statement is that if the monotheism is not God in humility as we see in Christ , it can cause more harm than good even if it is a step up from the former beliefs in the world at large. this we have seen too much . ..in Christianity , Islam , and Judaism fundamentalists.

          3. Evangelism: Jesuit causitry uses the term ” direction of intent ”. and i would agree that before God ones direction of intent as a faith proposition as it works in its dynamic with Orthopraxis is top priority . but not the only priority . the good news of Jesus is so powerful that even if a cat is preaching it with bad motives , i have seen it create faith in the hearers, and change lives. sometimes my motives are great, and sometimes shit , but i have had a lot people come back to me years later and state that i had a hand in their salvation experience.

          4. Christ and world religions –this happens to be one of my big areas of study . you state that there are far better ways than Christ and his teachings to go about spreading compassion and love. well , if there are , i have not encountered it . the blueprint for the revolution is spelled out in the life and death of Jesus , and as Crossan said in his book —Jesus ; a revolutionary bio , it does not get anymore radical than this template. i would state as a side here that Buddhism comes damn close in its seeking to demolish the caste system , and its being free from desire. but its 8 fold path of accomplishing this task should be used as companion to the power that the cross and resurrection provides . for there has to be a Power greater than us to pull this off. hence ..i call myself loosely a zen catholic.

        • 2: it would not be the first time Sigmund got it wrong– just ask all those women with ‘penis envy’, or all the cokeheads.

          History has born out the fundamental flaw of monotheism & all cults of the afterlife, Romans, Egyptians, Christians & muslims. It’s NOT a pretty picture.

          Animists also worked in concert with the spirit, the Spirit the moves in all things. Afterlife-obsessed monotheists forsake the present, the earth & the people thereupon for personal gain.

          One fatal flaw of biblical Christians: Dominionism, the gluttonous excuse for capitalism & abuse that believes that god bequeethed men with some dominion over all that crawleth & squirmeth over the earth.

          This has not worked out too well. Any promotion of the bible as a valid framework for life is opening the many maws of selfish behavior, not compassion as intended.

          Another flaw of evangelicalism: End Times Theology. If Christ compelled believers to be good, why are the bad christians so much more numerous, effective, activist, manipulative, militaristic & destructive?

          Evangelical Christianity is now undeniably disproven as a force for good, by the contemporary antics of the bible belt. Overwhelmingly it is a fundamentally flawed cultist impulse better buried than believed.

          The theory that biblical devotion makes for better men on earth (and somehow preserves his soul in the afterlife) is not born out in practice. If it were, Rev. Martin Luther King would not have had to struggle so hard to correct his fellow Christians, and he would not have been so rare.

          You may have personal evidence that there is a godly higher power, and that this therefore proves the myth of the resurrection, but that does not translate outside yourself, any more than Don Juan’s hallucinations were reality.

          People do see, and hear, and manifest things that weren’t there, just ask any schizophrenic, which is indeed a proven phenomenon, unlike all of the biblical constructs you struggle to prove lacking any evidence.

          Better to keep it to yourself, unless someone asks, and use whatever wisdom you feel the experience blessed you with, to effect the change you seek in a secular way.

          From those outside your personal epiffany, the reaction of the independently minded is to think that just because you believe, benefit, or feel empowered by personal connection, does not make it true, or relevant, real or applicable in any positive way.

          Likely it is the weak, the unbalanced, those who typically fall victim to cultism, who would claim to be ‘delivered’ by your efforts.

          Too many negatives stand in the way of too few positives in the extended example of Christianity, and this should definitely discredit evangelical monotheism, of any stripe.

          Speaking of stripes, phrases from the bible such as the following were well used by slaveholders of the antebellum south, and did not go unnoticed by the young Dr. King and his observations of the biblical absolution of slavery:

          “The lord of that servant will come in a day when he looketh not for him, and at an hour when he is not aware, and will cut him in sunder, and will appoint him his portion with the unbelievers. And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. —Luke 12:46-47”

          One needs to be far more careful about proclaiming the bible a ‘brilliant’ book, of its time, our time or any time.

          It is a flawed, controversial, convoluted, incongruous & primitive compilation of conflicting constructs of little relevance to the modern pursuit of peace & justice.

          Use the bible to inspire oneself perhaps, but silently, subliminally, editorially and with great critical trepidation & distrust.

          But Do NOT evangelize about this book being ‘great’, believable or by any means a framework for modern etiquette. To do so is destructive to your cause.

        • We did this, like 2 years ago, remember? It’s a fairytale, about as relevant as Middle Earth & as long ago & far away as Tatooine.

          Anyone can find Matthew in your local Gideons truck-stop or online, chime in:

          http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/matthew-kjv.html

          About as entertaining as a page of the Bhagavad Gita, excellent substitute for Sominex.

          Its hypnotic, it’s old, it’s largely irrelevant, and it hasn’t helped much.

        • And it is Sad, undoubtedly because knowing the Romans, they did do this thing, to many.

          As did Vlad the Impaler. But did the evil Carpathian count’s victims get such notoriety? Worship instead the women burned as ‘witches’, a far more horribly painful death, by the general followers of Jesus of the time.

          Or try trial by the rack in Spain.

          Christianity is proven to promote far more evil than good.

          King was a good christian NOT because he was born into a Christian tradition, but because he was born a good human.

        • Indeed. Nor would have King harmed (though we don’t know all of his personal life, nor should we, that was his, and Coretta’s business).

          Both Jesus & King were singularities, individuals, special people. Humanistic humans. Born leaders.

          It seems that biblical christians made more trouble than not. Which is why I suspect the faith was complicated by the bible.

          Perhaps people can find the fundamental Jesus in their fundamental humanity, but scripture is full of problems, which Jesus didn’t write. He was innocent of what transpired in his name.

          It is a compelling but strange script, almost irreconcileable, unreadable. I question its directives, compulsions, the relevance of its stories, and what Jesus would have thought of this ‘king james’ ultimate ‘translation’ these serious ‘christians’ attribute to truth, and its ultimate influence.

          Perhaps the bible & jesus are two completely different entities, and following the former corrupts the compassion Jesus tried to teach.

          I sense that this was what King was getting at with his critique of scripture, even while he identified with the tortured Jesus in the end.

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