I find I have little to add, this Martin Luther King Day to what I said three years ago. If you, Gentle Reader, have a thought to share about Martin Luther King, Jr. and his remembrance, please feel free to share it.
Tolerabimus quod tolerare debemus,
Edited to add: as usual, a browse through the words of the Reverend King yields new (to me) food for thought.
Every true Christian is a fighting pacifist.
In a very profound passage which has been often misunderstood, Jesus utters this: He says, "Think not that I am come to bring peace. I come not to bring peace but a sword." Certainly, He is not saying that he comes not to bring peace in the higher sense. What He is saying is: "I come not to bring this peace of escapism, this peace that fails to confront the real issues of life, the peace that makes for stagnant complacency." Then He says, "I come to bring a sword" not a physical sword. Whenever I come, a conflict is precipitated between the old and the new, between justice and injustice, between the forces of light and the forces of darkness. I come to declare war over injustice. I come to declare war on evil. Peace is not merely the absence of some negative force--war, tension, confusion, but it is the presence of some positive force--justice, goodwill, the power of the kingdom of God.
He returns to the theme in A Realistic Look at the Question of Progress in the Area of Race Relations:
For you see, true peace is not merely the absence of some negative force, but it is a presence of some positive force. I think that is what Jesus meant when one day his disciples stood before him with their glittering eyes, wanting to hear something good, and Jesus looked at them and said, in no uncertain terms, "Brethren, I come not to bring peace, but a sword." He didn’t mean, "I come to bring a physical sword." He didn’t mean, "I come not to bring positive peace." What Jesus is saying, "I come not to bring this old negative peace which makes for deadening passivity and stagnant complacently. And whenever I come a conflict is precipitated between the old and the new. Whenever I come, there is a lashing out between justice and injustice. Whenever I come, there is a division between the forces of light and the forces of darkness." Peace is not merely the absence of tension, but it is the presence of justice.
10 April 1957