taking the words of Jesus seriously

On January 15, 1929, Martin Luther King Jr. was born in Atlanta, Georgia. In celebration of his contribution to the civil rights movement, the United States Congress made the third Monday in January a national holiday in 1983. While we celebrate Dr. King’s contribution to America, we also remember his insistence that the church exist as the “conscience of the state,” speaking prophetically to those in power. We honor Dr. King with all Americans, but we also remember that the sermon he intended to preach the Sunday after his assassination was titled “Why America May Go to Hell.”

This year, we’re highlighting a few RLC blog posts to revive that spirit within us, the church, to live out this challenge. We’ll also share with you a link to The King Center’s 2024 Beloved Community Global Summit.

Back in 2003, singer/songwriter/musician and activist John Francis O’Mara was inspired to write a song, “Kill the Dreamer”, that only grows in intensity and meaning every day. Like the dream that can never be killed, this is a song that will ring true until the dream of The Beloved Community is realized. Last year, RLC spoke with John Francis and he’s graciously shared the song with us and our readers. Every song is more than just a song. There’s always a story, and it’s more than the story that the song tells. In this case, “Kill the Dreamer” is built loosely around the Biblical story of Joseph and his brothers’ attempts to kill him and then their selling him into slavery. See what happens to his dreams now, they taunt. Click here to revisit that blog post.

Several years ago, Shane and friends of Red Letter Christians read Letter from a Birmingham Jail.  Revisit Dr. King’s Challenge to Moderates Today.

Annually, The King Center leads the observance of the national holiday commemorating the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The Beloved Community Awards is one of the marquee programs of the week-long holiday experience. The awards recognize national and international individuals and organizations that exemplify excellence in leadership; that pursue social justice and that are committed to creating the Beloved Community, in the tradition of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Last year, Shane Claiborne was honored with the 2023 Beloved Community Social Justice Award from The King Center. Click here to read his acceptance remarks.

Below is a link to the 2024 Beloved Community Global Summit. Diana Oestreich of Red Letter Christians was on a panel during the Summit.

For more thoughts on how to talk to kids about Dr. King, how to help children understand racism and the importance of avoiding prejudice, and how we really show our kids these values, a blog post from Kristen Howerton, Dr. King and Our Children: How to talk about and model his dream – Red Letter Christians is insightful and inspiring.

Lord, we pray, Revive Us Again!

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