Provoking words of Martin Luther King, JR

luther king

I have come across an article in NCR that kept me thinking about my response to the challenges present in the world and especially in the US.

The author, Daniel P. Horan, titles it “Intellectual and Spiritual Blindness may be our Greatest Cultural Problem”. In it, the Franciscan theologian who is assistant professor of systematic theology and spirituality at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, describes how reading, “Love in Action”, an early essay by Rev. Martin L. King in 1969, some words struck him in a novel way.

The theologian writes: “King explains that Jesus’ prayer of forgiveness “is an expression of Jesus’ awareness of man’s intellectual and spiritual blindness. ‘They know not what they do,’ said Jesus. Blindness was their trouble; enlightenment was their need.”

FrHoranAnd King continues: “Some men still feel that war is the answer to the problems of the world. They are not evil people. On the contrary, they are good, respectable citizens whose ideas are robed in the garments of patriotism.”

For King, “the whole system of slavery was largely perpetuated by sincere though spiritually ignorant persons,” and “some of the most vigorous defenders of segregation are sincere in their beliefs and earnest in their motives.”

"This isn't working. We have nothing in common."Respecting the original non-inclusive language used by Martin Luther King, I was also struck by these ideas and I ask myself several questions: could I apply these ideas when, as a Christian, I try to respect and pray for the people in an opposing political party, in spite of seeing them as having an increasing anti-intellectual bias? How may I overcome my own blindness and preconceptions in openness and dialogue? How can I encourage others to do the same? Where is the limit that calls for bold action?

These are questions that I pose to myself and to others that may feel invited to a similar reflection. (Dolores Gracian)