More Devoted To Order Than To Justice

There are several must reads I think for everyone that call us on our stuff.  One such must-read is Martin Luther King’s “Letters from  Birmingham Jail.” (Link)  In it King offered this exceptionally well crafted critique, a critique that consistently calls me on my shortcomings as a Pastor.

I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

There are so many areas where a desire for “order” trumps a desire for “justice.”  Christ’s call however is incarnational and therefore a permission of sorts to courageously serve a Master different from “order.”   Just start with King’s “Big Three” – Racism, Poverty, and Militarism.  Those are not about creating a partisan church.  They are an impetus for us to speak out from the better angels of our nature in ways that inspire a return, incarnational in itself,  … about working and struggling with hands pressed into this earth to create what King so beautifully phrased … “the beloved community.”


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One Response to “More Devoted To Order Than To Justice”

  1. Julie Conaron says:

    Yep. Absolutely agree. Many believe its better to be comfortable and conflict free than do the right thing.

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