I'm remembering the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Being born in 1969,
I belong to the very first generation of people for whom he's never been a living being — he's always been a larger than life legend, an icon of the rather quaint knowledge that we are all HUMAN first, and skin pigmentation much
later. In an age where we have an African-American president, an era when blacks had to drink from different water fountains seems like ancient history. By comparison, there's a generation of children coming up now who have no memory of September 11, 2001 — but whose lives have been shaped by it in ways they can't imagine.
The great speaker that Dr. King was, it is so tempting to boil him down into a few soundbytes. That's how he got stuck with the cliche of a moniker “The Dreamer.” I don't want to minimize the power of that dream, or the work he did in striving for racial justice. It's just that the more that I get to know Dr. King through his speeches and writings, the greater I revere him as a profound spiritual teacher — a man whom, like Jesus, I strive to
pattern my life after.
If you are struggling with some challenge, you owe it to yourself to read “Strength To Love” by Dr. King. I can't explain what that book has done for me during some of my darkest days. Anyway, as I was driving to visit my mother this weekend, I heard this excerpt from Dr. King's “Drum Major Instinct” speech. It brought me to tears because he describes how I want to live my life, how I want to be remembered.
Not just today, but for the rest of the year, take some time to dig into Dr. King's writings and lesser known speeches. Learn why he teaches us to have a “tough mind and a tender heart” and how he offers a modern perspective on the Jesus principle of loving your enemies.
Prince has a song dedicated to Dr. King on his latest album, LotusFlow3r. As he says in that song, “If it was just a dream . . . then call me a dreamer too . . .”
My mother plays piano. Quite well, in fact. Among the songs she loves to play and that I love to hear is called “If I Can Help Somebody.” Lyrics go like this:
“If I can help somebody, as I pass along . . . then my living shall not be in vain.”
It sums up a large part of my parents’ life philosophy — consequently, I cherish it as a part of the legacy they left me. And the reason I bring it up here is because of a posting I found on a bulletin board about “A Message From God.”
As much as I love this project and what it’s doing in the world, I actually don’t get a lot of feedback on it. So when I ran across these remars from “Taimour” on a bulletin board at Stresscenter.org . . . well, it meant a whole lot to me. Check it out:
Posted January 01, 2010 08:27 AM
this link that i’m posting is an e-book/online articles (you can read it online or ask them to email it to you)that really helped find my way again
i’ll try to describe my situation to you so before i read it so you know how that book
helped me and how it can help you
well i’m a muslim but i never really feel that i belonged in that religion, i don’t get it why i should be praying 5 times a day always be living in some kind of conservative way and be thinking of religion/good and everything else possible to feel spiritual…i really had problems praying…i felt like i was talking to myself…and especially in
islam..the routine…of reciting some pieces of the quran felt always like a one-sided thing for me…
to put it short.. i was in a relationship with god of me knowing that he exists, that he created the whole world and everything, i wanted and needed to “reconnect with god” and didn’t have a clue HOW
after i read this small book it helped me a lot
it’s very short and very entertaining
took me only an hour or so to read it
It touched me for a variety of reasons:
I’m always excited to find out that something that The Author brought through me is touching lives, period.
This reader is Muslim. This project was never intended to convert anyone to a specific religion and it respects all religious traditions. Instead, it’s meant to help its readers develop a relationship with The Author, regardless of their religious background. It seems to have done that in Taimour’s case, which is both awesome and humbling.
This reader is from Giza, Egypt. Although The Author told me this message would touch millions worldwide, watching it actually happen is pretty awesome!
Perhaps most importantly, it comes during a cold season in my personal life. My faith is fundamentally sound, but it’s also just plain tired. So, knowing that I have helped somebody as I pass along . . .
My living has not been in vain. Amen.
PS: If you’ve read “A Message From God” and would like to share your feedback, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
2010. The beginning of the second decade of the 21st century.
moves on. God moves on.So must we.
“Forgetting those things that are behind me, and reaching forth to those things that are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13-14)
How exactly do we move on? First, we repent. This means we commit ourselves to changing our way of thinking. Once our way of thinking changes, our way of doing will also change accordingly. When our thoughts and actions align themselves with the revealed will of God, we will become new beings (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Second, we must release ourselves from whatever and whomever is holding us to our memories of the past. Good, bad, or indifferent, all experiences of the past are mere memories. It’s all right to reflect and learn from the past, but it is NEVER all right to linger in and live with regret over the past. As Jonathan Larson wrote in the hit Broadway musical “RENT,” “No day but Today.”
Third and last, we must reach for those things that are beyond our own limitations in the present moment. Whether it is material, physical, financial, emotional, intellectual, social or spiritual, we must strive to obtain what we have not achieved or received to the present.
As we repent, release and reach, we will MOVE On. With our lives. With time. With God.
After four years of pastoring a storefront church, I’m still dumbstruck at the fact that very few of the members of our church really grasp our mission. (Kind of like Jesus’s disciples didn’t get the Suffering Messiah bit).
What’s even stranger t
o me is that they don’t really understand me. They’ve claimed that they did and pledged their loyalty and support, but their words and actions (or lack thereof) tell me otherwise. (Kind of like Jesus’s disciples didn’t initially buy His servant leadership).
I was reminded of this as recently as last night. The one who was supposed to be teaching “Bible study” spent the majority of the time trying to cast doubt on my character, doctrine and leadership ability. It wasn’t even done subtly; he “made an example” out
of me before the entire listening audience. (Kind of like Jesus and the Pharisees).
What did I say in response? Nada. Zero. Not a mumbling word. (Kind of like Jesus was silent before Pilate at the judgment seat).
What would have been the point? Obviously (to him anyway), I’m a fake. Anything I might have said was not going to change his opinion of me. (kind of like Jesus’s critics then and now).
Not that this is anything new to me. Ever since I was a young boy, I’ve been
seen as “suspect” (meaning not what I appear to be). As a result, I learned not to open myself up easily to those who might mean me harm. (Kind of like Jesus didn’t commit Himself to people completely).
But this guy is not some public enemy; he’s a leader in my congregation. (Kind of like Peter denying he knew Jesus or Judas betraying Jesus to the Roman soldiers with a kiss of friendship).
I hurt – not only for myself, but for him. I know in attempting to disparage me, he hurt his own credibility. Only he doesn’t have a clue. I know this because he came to me afterwards and asked me to consider letting him “teach” more often. Talk about turning the other cheek!!
Maybe one day, when he and I both stand before our Maker, we’ll see each other for who we truly were while we were down here. In the meantime, I’m praying for both of us. For him, I’m praying that he’ll learn and do better; for myself I’m praying that I will remember that I am better because of having to endure this.
Although this project has been in the making for almost three years, it only went live on the Web at around Christmas 2008. Since then, through personal challenges and changes, it's grown into a worldwide phenomenon — and I'm NOT exaggerating.
the message seems to be resonating with young people in The Philippines, Singapore and the surrounding areas. In fact, about 110 of those fans are from Southern Asia and the Pacific Islands. There are fans in India, Bahrain, Sudan and Pakistan. And if you're not a fan yet on Facebook, what are you waiting for?
I want to thank each of you reading this for participating in this project, and for sharing it with those you love. There have been times when I've hesitated about moving forward with this project, mostly out of fear. But through it all, I've been able to quiet the fearful noises and listen to the quiet voice of The Author, which has given me that legendary “blessed assurance.” The more I watch this project touch lives, the more grateful I am to be its messenger.
In the coming months, look for more features and additions to the site, including more bloggers from various belief systems, a recommended reading list, live chats and more video content. Stay tuned!
All that said, I'd love to hear your feedback! If you've read “A Message From God,” watched the video, or
read any of the blogs, speak up! The object of this was never to have a one way communication. Post a message on one of the blog posts to let me know what you think!