In yesterday’s DM, I conclude from the new scientific story of the universe and with the words of astrophysicist Joel Primack and Nancy Abrams, that “we are special” as a species.
Watching the daily news, it is not always evident that we are “special”—unless one define “special” as especially stupid and dangerous and mean-spirited and ready to kill the earth as we know it and democracy as we are practicing it. And using our creations like social media to spew hatred more efficiently and to hasten our extinction.
But today is the feast day of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. People like King, his mentor Dr. Howard Thurman, his many co-workers from Rosa Parks to Fred Shuttlesworth and tens of thousands of young people who marched and filled jails and sacrificed to bear witness in non-violent ways, braving death and torture while some were martyred for the sake of justice bear witness to our specialness as a species. Generosity and love are very special, laying down one’s life—or daring to—for others is special. Courage is special.
Yes, we can be foolish and stupid and mean and horrible to ourselves, other humans, future humans and other creatures on this planet. But these witnesses, inspired by King’s valiant actions and profound teachings and martrydom, himself inspired by Gandhi and Jesus and many other prophets in the Bible and through the ages, shine light on our “better angels.” They offer hope, for they offer possibilities for wisdom, for collective action and for solidarity and for building a “Beloved Community” or “kingdom/queendom of God” where justice flows like a river and compassion marks the essence of who we are. Just like Jesus and the Buddha and Isaiah and many others have called for.
Also, because they model virtue and values, King and his many brave followers offer an alternative masculinity than do those who operate from a patriarchal and reptilian-brain version of manhood.
Thank you, Dr. King! Thank you for your generosity and witness, your teachings and modeling. And thank you, Bishop Tutu, Nelson Mandela, John Lewis and all those authentic human beings whom you, Martin, mentored and are mentoring.
Happy MLK Feast Day to all!
Join Matthew Fox for this two hour lecture presentation with Q&A recorded live January 6, 2022 with the Rowe Retreat Center. You will receive a 5 min. MLK, Jr. video immediately. You will receive a download link for the 2 hour event within 48 hours of your purchase. Click here.
See Matthew Fox, The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine.
Matthew Fox, Christian Mystics, pp. 324, 326-328.
To read a transcript of Matthew Fox’s video teaching, click HERE.
Banner Image: Thich Nhat Hanh sitting next to his friend, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Photo taken from website of Plum Village.
Queries for Contemplation
What inspires you about Martin Luther King’s life and witness, teachings and martyrdom? What lessons of courage and generosity and hope and other virtues does he pass on to you and future generations of humans?
The Hidden Spirituality of Men: Ten Metaphors to Awaken the Sacred Masculine
To awaken what Fox calls “the sacred masculine,” he unearths ten metaphors, or archetypes, ranging from the Green Man, an ancient pagan symbol of our fundamental relationship with nature, to the Spiritual Warrior….These timeless archetypes can inspire men to pursue their higher calling to connect to their deepest selves and to reinvent the world.
“Every man on this planet should read this book — not to mention every woman who wants to understand the struggles, often unconscious, that shape the men they know.” — Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God