Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Who was Martin Luther King, Jr.?

No, this isn't an article answering that question. Rather, it's an attempt to foster that question in you. Let me put it another way, who would your children say that he is?

"Someone who helped African Americans."
Not wrong, but inadequate.

"Someone who fought for civil rights." 
Broader beneficiary audience but still short of the mark. Bonus question: ask your kids what the term "civil rights" means.

"A huge contributor to Natural Law, Natural Rights, and American Constitutionalism"
Really? Your kids said that? AWESOME!

My point is that while the effects of his efforts are huge and clearly visible, and I'm very thankful for those changes he affected, to allow such a man to slip into a slot as primarily an advocate for racial parity or even a crusader for social justice is a loss. To allow him to slip into an excuse for a Monday holiday is tragic. I suppose it's a mentality born from laziness rather than malice, but sad nonetheless. I don't want to make less of the benefits of his life and actions. I want to realize them more by making more of who he was. I want to learn more about the character and ideas that caused such force of life. He was an amazing philosopher, theologian, leader, and thinker. He was a man whose conviction, determination, diligence, intellect, and heart expressed itself so powerfully that from the expression precipitated revolution. I mean that the things we normally ascribe to him overflowed from the power of who he was--his character. I think I fail his dream when my thoughts of him are founded otherwise even if my actions are conditioned by his legacy.

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