40

Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride

-U2 Pride (In the Name of Love), 1984

40 years ago this morning, MLK Jr. was shot and killed.  Leonard Pitts has an excellent piece about this anniversary that appeared in this morning’s Waco Trib.

Among other things, Pitts points out that whites who say we’ve come along way since the 60’s in terms of race relations and blacks who say we have a long way to go are not actually disagreeing with each other. He summarizes thus: “We never seem to realize that we are having an argument over how much water is in the glass.”

Then, there’s this, that I think is absolutely essential for any followers of Jesus who desire to take this following seriously:

Whites … see that promised land — racial equality — as an ideal, something it would be nice to achieve someday. Blacks see it as a necessity, something you work to make manifest here and now.

Thank you, Mr. Pitts, for this stirring, succinct  encapsulation!  This is so true of the current state of race relations in the USA.

It is, however, also true of the dichotomous understanding we Christians tend to have of the Kingdom of God, of, for that matter, of sanctification.

Are racial equality and the Kingdom of God ideals, that would be “nice to achieve someday,” or are they necessities, that we “work to make manifest here and now?”

Pitts concludes that one’s position on this questions “would depend on how thirsty you are.”

To be fair to Mr Pitts, his point is about the question of the first part, race relations.  I contend that we don’t and won’t have the Kingdom present without taking race relations into the discussion.

I’m getting pretty thirsty.  How about you?

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