Posts Tagged ‘Order’

More Devoted To Order Than To Justice

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

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.”


Are We Limited to Correct Answers?

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012

It was stunning to read a recent New York Times article on crime at an Indian reservation in Wyoming.  The numbers on the Winding River Reservation startle. As the article notes, “On average, residents can expect to live 49 years, 20 years fewer than in Iraq. Unemployment, estimated to be higher than 80 percent, is on a par with Zimbabwe’s, and is approaching the proportionate inverse of Wyoming’s 6 percent jobless rate.”

Many causes no doubt contribute to create the situation – historical, political, economic etc….  Solutions likewise will need tp be multifaceted.  However, one thing does remain true – a basic sense of order, or structure is a key starting point.

Of course saying that is deeply unpopular.  I feel a discomforting twinge of “Oh I hope no one actually reads THAT” as I type the sentence.  Because shouldn’t the problem be laid carefully and cleanly on the “system” that creates perpetrators who in turn create victims?  The challenge however in taking that tact is then no one person is held accountable.  Responsibility just shift to the nebulous “system.”

Yet we all in a sense bear responsibility.  We all in a sense owe something to the solution.  With a reservation as far away as Wyoming, direct help may well be challenging – beyond our reach – with the exception of a few individuals for whom it may be a call.  But what is not beyond anyone’s reach reading this is a simple call to exercise discipline in our own lives.

Such an unpopular term discipline.  Yet it is critical.  It is how we move beyond our tastes to deeper forms of God given discernment.  It creates the foundation for growth.   In the end, we are actually a bit limited to at least a few correct answers!