Posts Tagged ‘MLK’

Audio clip from Coffee & Chat with Rev Bruce Episode #4

When we talk about community leadership, Christians can tend to shy away or step up. There’s usually no middle of the road when it comes to Christian leaders actively engaging in community leadership. Usually, it is one extreme or the other.

Be sure you know the condition of your flocks, give careful attention to your herds – Proverbs 27:23

For those who choose to get involved in community leadership, the challenge can be the lack of focus or attention to the flock. There are plenty of life hacks for getting a work-life balance, but that was not the case for two pastors that I have studied over the years.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. King struggled as the pastor of his flock. Not that King was not cut out for the position of a pastor but he also led the SCLC and was on the front lines of boycotts and other strategic activities related to what we have come to know as the Civil Rights Movement. While King was fundraising for SCLC and its efforts throughout the South, what condition did he leave Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery?

The challenge is real when Christian leaders evolve into community leaders, even national leaders. Unless you have a dynamic system in place within your church, you will struggle to lead in both areas. Know the condition of your flock. In a mega church era, do not get to the place as a shepherd where you do not recognize your own sheep or their condition. Make it a point to stay in touch and on top of what is happening with your folks.

Daddy King recognized the pressure and struggle that his son faced. He implored his son to give up Dexter Avenue and return home to Atlanta to continue his work with the SCLC and maintain his ministry ties under Daddy King’s leadership at Ebenezer. Without the shift, we may not have known the iconic orator and leader from the Civil Rights Movement.

Adam Clayton Powell

Famous People: Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Biography by [Letitia]

https://amzn.to/2NTrxT9 https://amzn.to/2VNVsRc

No one epitomizes the consummate community and church leader like Adam Clayton Powell. Pastor of Harlem’s famous Abyssinian Baptist Church, Adam Clayton Powell became a city council member, community leader, and a U.S. Congressman. Powell fought hard against racial segregation and introduced landmark civil rights legislation.

Standing at a slim 6’4”, Powell was an imposing figure in the pulpit as well as the congressional floor. Yet, Powell had an appetite for controversy and was never known to shy away from a challenge. His persona was often the fodder for headlines and scandal pages, leaving the congregation of 14,000 members to wonder where their leader’s focus lied from time to time.

Politics and civic leadership have a place in the Christian realm. We just have to manage the amount of attention other things receive instead of the church. If you do not know the condition of your flock, as the shepherd, check yourself and see what you need to do to get that balance back.

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8 Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.
9 Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy.

Proverbs 31:8-9 (ESV)

Now is not the time to sit silent and watch.

The Bible speaks to it. MLK called fellow clergy out for their silence on the issue of segregation and the atrocities faced by those fighting for freedom in his Letter from the Birmingham Jail. We saw a similar wave of outcries in the wake of Martin, Brown and others who were killed senselessly based on nothing more than race or the color of their skin.

Open your mouth. . .

Open your mouth. . .

The Bible says we are to speak up and speak out about it.

Much of what we see on display with cities spilling over with protests stems from the outrage boiling over from oppression. Some peaceful demonstrations have turned violent. Looting and destruction have occurred. Curfews have been enforced. Yet, the media coverage and social media feeds may divert our attention from the issue at hand.

The emotions that have been suppressed by so many for so long have exploded into widespread discontent expressed through the solidarity of a rainbow of colors parading the streets with signs and chants to speak out against police brutality and social justice.

The mistreatment and disrespect for human lives has been a black eye for the United States historically due to colonialism, imperialism, enslavement, and exploitation. The most recent uproar has erupted due to the bleak picture of police enforcement provided to many via social media and the press of George Floyd dying at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve. The very guardians of our communities who serve to enforce the law are expected to administer tactics and methods that allow for even the accused to have his or her day in court.

From a Native American perspective, could it be considered genocide when you look back at the Western expansion of America and the Trail of Tears, the Indian Wars, and the reservation lifestyle administered by the Bureau of Indian Affairs? Is it any wonder that Latino or LatinX question the response to the “browning of America” when much of America west of the Mississippi River was once part of Mexico or occupied by Spain? From a Black or African American perspective, have mass incarcerations and the criminal justice system combined with the major health disparities served as the common obstacles of daily life regardless of economic status or educational attainment? I by no means could speak for everyone, but I am called by God to speak up and speak out against what I see as an utter wrong against my fellow man.

Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute.

Those who have no voice need advocates. We are to serve as the voices for the voiceless. We are compelled to speak up “for the rights of all who are destitute.” In other words, speak up for the ones “who cannot speak for themselves” and “defend the rights of all those who have nothing” (NCV).

It is biblical. It is logical. It make sense. It provides us with a means for supporting and loving our neighbor as we are called to do.

Open your mouth, judge righteously,
    defend the rights of the poor and needy.

We are called to serve as defenders of “the rights of the poor and needy.” It refrains the previous verse’s point of ” defend the rights of those who have nothing.” It places the responsibility on us, not God. He has empowered us and equipped us to engage on such matters and subjects. In this case, we need to serve as defenders.

The poor and needy are most likely not registered to vote. More than likely, the poor and the needy have not completed the census. In many cases, the poor and the needy might be undocumented, under the radar, and off the grid. Yet, the Bible is clear that we are called as their defenders, particularly when it comes to their rights.

Injustice has spilled over from the boiling pot and has licked the flames to a critical point of time. The issues of social justice and inequality have awakened hearts and minds of many. Solidarity has formed among many people of many colors on a widespread issue that seeks justice ad accountability.

But where are the Christians?

If anyone should speak up, it should be us. If anyone should be sickened by unfair treatment of people of any kind, it should be us. These two verses confirm such a stance.

Do not sit back in silence. Become vigilant and vocal about addressing wrongs that are happening right before your eyes.

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Losing Grip of the Legacy

In Real Honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Some place

Some men are gathered together

In some secret board room

Sipping soy lattes and other caffeinated drinks

Brewing over one of the most diabolical schemes

Of our very own age and time

And for the ages to come.

They plan on making a more marketable Martin.

They plan on making a more appealing Martin.

They plan on making a more consumer friendly Martin.

They want to do away with Martin

Who organized the Poor People’s March.

They want to do away with Martin

Who wrote Why We Can’t Wait.

They want to do away with Martin

Who spoke for nonviolence

But who spoke against injustice.

These men will take the March on Washington

And make more appealing to Madison Avenue.

These men will take “I Have a Dream”

And make commercials for the NRA, Tea Party

And whoever else can pay for pricey Super Bowl ads.

These men will take the Birmingham Bus Boycott

And use it for curriculum for peaceful demonstrations

To cut down on Occupy, PUSH and any other coalition for change.

These men will use Martin’s words.

These men will use Martin’s image.

These men will use Martin’s likeness.

These men will use Martin’s reputation.

These men will use Martin’s legacy.

These men will use Martin.

They will do it to make monuments.

They will do it to make statues.

They will do it to make commercial ads.

They will do it to make made for TV dramas.

They will do it to make independent films on multiculturalism.

They will do it to make money.

This will be a New Age Martin.

He will be a Martin of YouTube.

He will be a retweeted Martin.

He will be a pinned and posted Martin.

His airbrushed image will grace profile pics.

His editorialized words will become status updates on patriotic holidays.

He will be something new and improved.

He will be something worthy of every advertising dollar invested in him.

Yet, He will be nothing like

The minister who led direct action in the South.

He will be nothing like

The man who sacrificed family and congregation to make a difference.

He will be nothing like

The martyr who died by an assassin’s bullet.

He will be an entirely different Martin.

We will only know him as MLK.

Few will recognize what has become of Martin Luther King.

We will only do service projects in his memory.

We will only volunteer in his memory.

We will only plant trees in his memory.

But we won’t change a damn thing in his memory.

We will swallow it down as they shove it down our throats.

We will take it in as they squeeze segments of his life

Somewhere between reruns of “Amos and Andy”

Or right after footage of an unbiased jury finding another person

Judged by the color of their skin

And not the content of their character

With more film to come at eleven.

It sickens me.

It saddens me.

But I am only left with one question.

Who will be next?



to buy more poetry by Rev Bruce visit https://sellfy.com/p/KWJU/ 

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Faith can give us the courage to face the uncertainties of the future.-Martin Luther King Jr.

With MLK Day approaching during this month, I cannot help but reflect on some of Dr. King’s memorable and masterful quotes.  Dr. King addresses facing the future with faith.  He states that faith has the potential to give us the courage to face the future.  Imagine the pressure upon Dr. King as the bus boycott lingered on over a month, long beyond the organizers’s original plans.  Picture how heavy the weight was upon his shoulders as the SCLC needed funds raised and his own congregation was in need of a pastor-shepherd.  King shared that faith would supply what would be necessary in facing the future.  King relied upon his faith to help him make his way through the darkness of uncertainty.  Can’t you see King trying to keep his composure as he met with President Kennedy and even Attorney General Robert Kennedy in D.C. after many of  his personal experiences during the marches, demonstrations and boyotts with Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth and  Ella Baker in the South?  What about the anguish that he faced dealing with the militant factions of African-American youth seeking Black Power and the well-intended white college students seeking to make good on “all men are created equal?” A man in his position truly needed faith.  A man who dared to do what he did would need other faithful people praying for him every step of the way, too.  Focus your faith.  Don’t focus on your faith.  Let your faith help you face the future.

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