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Macro/Micro: Dr. King on Violence

On Dr. King’s birthday, I was reading Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove’s Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals (written with Shane Claiborne and Enuma Okoro) which led me to “Why America May Go to Hell,” the speech Dr. King was working on when he was assassinated.

This led to rumination about Dr. King’s shift to anti-poverty and anti-Vietnam War preaching, and the rejection by young people of his reliance on nonviolence. I wondered if there were a correlation: the young’s rejection of nonviolence when the country was in a paroxysm of war.

I came across an excerpt from a book entitled Protest, Power and Change, by authors Powers, Vogele, Kruegler. The authors cite Dr. King’s referencing the questions of young black men who saw the Vietnam War as evidence of the country’s dominant values. The book quotes Dr. King: “I knew that never again could I raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today, my own government.”

We are social creatures. One day we will understand that we pass between us things other than germs. Violence is one of those things. So is love. Individually and collectively – micro/macro – we get to decide.

Which one will I choose?

here’s to creative synthesis . . .

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