The Prophet

My daughter gave me this wonderful picture a few years ago for Father's
Day. In it Doctor King is standing overlooking the crowds on the Mall in Washington DC and the words of his speech are printed at the bottom. The picture hangs in my hallway. I have long considered Doctor King an inspirational man to be admired by all who seek peace.

I have asked many people if they that believed Doctor King was a prophet and have gotten a wide variety of responses. I believe that he was a prophet to our nation ... it is sad that much of our nation and the church is confused about this. I wonder if he was speaking prophetically when he said:
"A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."
Today I honor him, his legacy to our nation and his contributions to the kingdom of God by sharing these things that he said ... see if you can identify the theme.

At the center of non-violence stands the principle of love.

He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.

Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.

There can be no deep disappointment where there is not deep love.

I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.

Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into friend.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality ... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.

... originally posted in January 2009


  1. Matthew 7:15-16 exhorts us to "beware of false prophets who come to us in sheep's clothing but are ravenous wolves and we shall know the true prophets by their fruits."...Martin Luther King and his legacy has born much fruit and that is why we must never forget his words and his actions of love which have helped change this country for the good...and...Tuesday Americans from east to west will celebrate some of the fruits of his labor of love.

  2. so Bob, I'm watching your "total visitors" counter on the page with all the countries represented - wow! Looks like you have a worldwide following, bro! - Rob Moritz

  3. That statement, re-read carefully, is simplistic. It is the government's job to take care of things bigger than a community can deal with: roads, bridges and especially the military.

    Look at what's happened to the billions of spending on "programs of social uplift" since the 60's - hell, since the failed New-Deal years of the 30's: more broken families, more broken neighborhoods, more victimhood, less achievement in education.

    Expect people to care for own families and take responsibility for themselves. Leave them their own money to spend on their own families, help those who slip through the cracks, but don't helpfully illuminate the cracks and keep them open by lavish applications of money.

    These days of You-Know-Who being "a combination of MLK and FDR" are driving me bats***.

    MLK was an inspiring spiritual leader, a genius at explaining the right reasons for equality, basing in the innate value of all men under God.

    FDR, although his New Deal was unconstitutional and failed at its goals, was an inspiring wartime leader, keeping people calm, united and pointed towards the same goal.

    Any current combination of these two? I don't think so.

  4. Thereze could have a point if MLK had specifically said "A government that continues year after year ... etc." (I cannot know if that's what he inferred or not). I agree that government sponsored social programs have been huge failures, creating enormous bureaucracies whose efficiency levels are dismal at best. And once a bureaucracy is formed, it becomes a permanent fixture driven by an unquenchable appetite for money and power. There is a big difference between 'government oversight' and 'government controlled'(socialism). I have spent some of my prime years serving with a faith-based organization that traveled to countries where the 'Purest' of social governments ruled. Our organization helped the indigenous peoples learn how to depend on themselves and each other because the socialistic governments had drained their people of all form of hope and self-reliance. I do not want that for my grandchildren.

    MLK inspired his people to reach for the same hope and self-dependence in a way that Christ taught, and deserves the recognition and honor bestowed on him for that. But to take Christ's teachings into governmental politics is too big of a stretch. Jesus didn't disciple governments, He discipled people. A government doesn't have a conscience, it functions mainly from self-preservation and ultimately functions from the old idea that "the end justifies the means" ... great segue to corruption on massive levels.

  5. I say, "AMEN!" to MLK's words! Beautiful post!

  6. Ken, I would agree with YOU sort of agreeing with me except that wouldn't you also agree that people are unfortunately trained these days to hear "a nation who spends" as "a government who spends?"

  7. Interesting comments.. not sure how we got from MLKJr to Welfare.. even so..

    I am also disappointed in the huge bureaucracy of the government.. the same sad things that can be said of Welfare can be said about every part of government.. the Military is full of bureaucracy.. almost all of our politicians have gigantic paid staffs.. they have all bought into big government.

    So I don't believe that we should not care for the least of these amongst us just because the government doesn't have a clue.. in the same way that I don't think that we should not have a military just because the pentagon is bureaucratic.

    Does that make sense?

  8. I believe that MLK's success was because he envisioned and struggled to bring about solution 'C'. It seems that we as a society are so constantly confronted with choice 'A' and 'B', that we are conditioned not to look for other alternatives. MLK did, and he was able to rally others to see a better alternative.

    We hear talk of a better alternative from Washington, but it seems to be that 'C' ultimately turns out to be an 'A' or a 'B' in 'C' clothing. I know that's a little nebulous, but if you think about it long enough, I think you'll get my point.

    Secondly, I served in the military, and although it indeed has it's bureaucratic tendancies, it is one of the most organized and orderly of government functions - and one of the clear consitutional requirements of the government (education, health care, welfare, retirement, etc. are not). Talk with anyone who was involved in the immediate aftermath of hurricane Katrina, and they will tell you the the military was the only organization down there doing things right. My neighbor and good friend is an engineer and was assigned to FEMA and he was so frustrated he almost walked out. He said the military presence working with the private sector was the only game going. I would never place our military on the same level as our welfare system.

  9. I think that you served in a different military than I did Ken.

    The bureaucracy and pettiness in the Army was nauseating.. the waste of time and resources that I saw was pitiful. The pentagon is notorious for spending $100 for $10 hammers and is one of the most convoluted institutions of government. Have you ever thought about how many military compounds are simply not needed?

    All that said, I feel that soldiers like my son serve our country with much honor and courage. Unfortunately they are often not treated with the same kind of honor by their commanding officers.

    Sorry for the rant.. guess you pushed one of my buttons.

  10. I might have been a bit unfair ti the military in my last comment because it is not the military but all of our government is bureaucratic. The term "government worker" was visualized for me when I worked as a contractor for the USDA.. simply amazing how mych laziness and red tape involved to get ANYTHING done.

    Here endeth the rant.. for now anyway :)

  11. This is a good read Bob. There is much to think about and I do agree with what you said in this post.

  12. I know you didn't want this to become a political debate Bob, I think your original admiration of MLK and his leadership and vision was spot on - he may not have been a prophet, but he was a great man.

    I do not consider the civilian bureaucracy tied to the military to be the military - but I guess you're righ, it's a packaged deal. But I will say this, today's boots on the ground professional US Armed forces are second to none.

  13. Thanks for being so gracious Ken. I so agree with you - our troops are second to none.

    Shalom, Bob

  14. Dr King is one of my fav guys, also. In fact, he & Lincoln share my "greatest American ever" selection.

    I don't think he was a prophet (though he may have been) ... but I believe his message was prophetic.

    I think President [elect] Obama is the very definition of double-edged sword. I am blown away by all the wonder & good his election represents. Literally, cannot take it in as I recall the state of civil & race affairs as recent as my own childhood.

    I also, see his election in many ways, as another prophetic voice of that era shared "chickens coming home to roost." - td

  15. Great thought Tim -

    "I believe his message was prophetic"

    ..yes.. the message certainly eclipsed the man.. and what a message it was!

  16. As you've said, Bob, the message eclipsed the man.

    Isn't it interesting how this message of love and peace causes so much rancor amongst folks? It's especially interesting to see how riled self-professed followers of Christ will get in regards to a message of govt. helping the least of us. While the govt. may not be good at lending a helping hand, I certainly agree that means that they should stop trying.

  17. MLK's strength and boldness of conviction came from his own faith, no doubt. If he had not had that, he would have never spoken such inspiration. God bless him.

    Was he a prophet? Interesting question. I would have never thought to consider that. It reminds me of mother Teresa's very poignant, brave and strong worlds in front of PRez. bill Clinton at the time when she admonished the U.S. that a country was only as strong as how it treated its MOST weak, most innocent and frail among us--the unborn! IT was one of those terriby uncomfortable moments of conviction I think for many in the assembly. We have sadly failed miserably where the life on the unborn is not even mentioned when discussing the rights of a woman and her body (while who;;y ignoring the other heartbeat, brainwaves, dna inside,etc!)


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