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Monday, January 18, 2010

be an extremist

In honor of Martin Luther King Day, I wanted to share this excerpt from "The Hole in Our Gospel" by Richard Stearns. If you haven't purchased or borrowed the book yet, please do so!

Meanwhile, Martin Luther King Jr. was vilified as an extremist and enemy of decent, God-fearing people because he dared to challenge the social injustice of his day.

(below is a letter that Dr. King penned from a jail cell, it is titled "Letter from Birmingham")

" I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label. Was not Jesus an extremist for love: "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you, and persecute you. " Was not Amos an extremist for justice: "Let justice roll down like waters and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream." Was Paul not an extremist for the Christian gospel: " I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." Was not Martin Luther an extremist: "Here I stand; I cannot do otherwise, so help me God." And John Bunyan: "I will stay in jail to the end of my days before I make a butchery of my conscience." And Abraham Lincoln: "This nation cannot survive half slave and half-free." And Thomas Jefferson: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that men are created equal...." So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremist we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice? In that dramatic scene on Calvary's hill three men were crucified. We must never forget that all three were crucified for the same crime- the crime of extremism. Two were extremists for immorality, and thus fell below their environment. The other, Jesus Christ, was an extremist for love, truth, goodness, and thereby rose above his environment. Perhaps the South, the nation and the world are in dire need of extreme extremists."

He has told you, O man, what is good;and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8


Mandy said...

I had been wanting to read that book and I started it when you posted about it. SO glad I did!
Also, very distracted while reading the letter from Birmingham...wondering if he had all of those quotes he used memorized since he was in jail.

Jenn in GA said...

i've just started reading this book and i can tell it's going to rock my world. i hope my non-reader husband will also read it...its message is powerful, and i'm only in chapter 3!

Tanya said...

wow! love this post! thank you!

Cheryl said...

Love this book! Such great words ALL throughout!!

Kristi J said...

that's my next book..the hubby and I are finally reading Crazy Love right now...a chapter a night is so good, kj

The Albertsons said...

that book. seriously. it's the best.

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"Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from becoming polluted by the world." James 1:27
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