Monday, January 17, 2011

Irrelevant Social Clubs

Since it's Martin Luther King day, I was reading the letter that he wrote after being put in prison for participating in a "non-violent" protest of racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama.

A brilliantly worded letter, his comments about the "contemporary church" are particularly striking:

So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent and often even vocal sanction of things as they are.

But the judgment of God is upon the church as never before. If today's church does not recapture the sacrificial spirit of the early church, it will lose its authenticity, forfeit the loyalty of millions, and be dismissed as an irrelevant social club with no meaning for the twentieth century. Every day I meet young people whose disappointment with the church has turned into outright disgust.
—Martin Luther King, Jr, "Letter From Birmingham Jail" (full text)

It sounds like MLK is writing in 2011 and not April 16, 1963.

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