[This blog was written on April 3, 2011, the anniversary of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King's last speech - given the night before he was assassinated. Moving beyond confronting racism, King had expanded his work to speak out against the war in VietNam and to address issues of economic injustice. In a crowded church in Memphis, TN, he spoke about his intention to march in solidarity with that City's sanitation workers (black & white) who were on strike to protest low pay and poor working conditions.]
On this night in 1968, MLK delivered his last speech. He was shot and killed the next day.
These are words that haunt, inspire, challenge, and motivate me. I see signs of this kind of radical Christianity, this kind of critical patriotism, and this kind of unabashed spiritual boldness in various places around the world, but not so much in the country I call home. What happened?
Are we afraid to speak truth to power? Have we become domesticated?
Has our spirituality become merely a selfish practice? Do we just like to sing rockin’ praise songs, hear some reminders that God loves us and wants us to thrive and prosper, and then somehow not give a flip about the plight of others? Discuss.
More awkward silence.
Eventually, one Facebook reader says, “Mostly yes to all. You hit the nail on the head.”
I was afraid of that. Okay, so did King’s death scare us? Did it burst our bubbles? Did it cause us to become disillusioned? did it cause us to fear and submit to the powers that be? Was it like Jesus Christ had been crucified again? Did we collectively think, “Bummer. Oh well, guess the Worldly powers won. Let’s just all try to go along with the flow without making waves in life?” — to just accept the status quo and then go to “Shiny-Happy-People-Church,” and/or, do some “spiritual practices” as a form of narcissistic self-medication to help us not confront the big hole in our collective souls and address the rampant tearing of our social fabric?
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Roger Wolsey is a free-spirited GenX-er who thinks and feels a lot about God and Jesus.
He’s a progressive Christian who identifies with people who consider themselves as being “spiritual but not religious.” He came of age during the “Minneapolis sound” era and enjoyed seeing The Replacements, The Jayhawks, Husker Du, The Wallets, Trip Shakespeare, Prince, and Soul Asylum in concert—leading to strong musical influences to his theology. He earned his Masters of Divinity degree at the Iliff School of Theology in Denver, CO. Roger is an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and he currently serves as the director of the Wesley Foundation campus ministry at C.U. in Boulder, CO. He was married for ten years, divorced in 2005 and now co-parents a delightful 10-year old son. Roger loves live music, hosting house concerts, rock-climbing, yoga, centering prayer, trail-running with his dog Kingdom, dancing, camping, riding his motorcycle, blogging, and playing his trumpet in ska bands and music projects. He's recently written a book