Recently, I went to see the movie "The Butler". I am a history nerd and have been for many years. I have Fred Bailey to thank for that. Dr. Bailey is an expert on the history of the American South...even more specifically, revisionist history. I feel like in many ways, Dr. Bailey not only opened my eyes to a complex world of history, but also gave me a foundation to help me examine our own churches, systems and doctrine. It's something I never expected to receive out of an ACU summer course.
In the movie, "The Butler", I was astounded again at how close in time we are to the civil rights movement. In my own lifetime, the fight has continued. The thing that I can never understand or get over is how men and women who claimed the name of Jesus as Lord treated people of color so poorly. Some people want to make that about politics. I don't care where you stand politically...that is secondary to where you stand spiritually.
The church has been guilty of treating people in ways that are shameful. We all know that. But, any wise person also knows that if we forget our past (and aren't able to confess the sins of our present) we are destined to repeat history. It gives me pause. It makes me breathe deeply. It makes me contemplate how I am reflecting the love of Christ to those I consider different from me.
Today is the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march on Washington for jobs and freedom and the historic "I Have A Dream" speech. I'm so grateful for Martin Luther King Jr. and all those who followed his lead into peaceful change. I'm not old enough to have been around during that time, but I'll never forget the stories and the fight for freedom that ushered in a healthier season in the life of our nation. I believe that kind of heart is close to the heart of Christ.
"Many people fear nothing more terribly than to take a position which stands out sharply and clearly from the prevailing opinion. The tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous that it will include everything and so popular that it will include everybody. Not a few men who cherish lofty and noble ideals hide them under a bushel for fear of being called different."
- Martin Luther King, Jr