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.  

Martin Luther King Jr. during press conference. Original black and white negative by Marion S. Trikosko. Taken August 26th, 1964, Washington D.C, United States (@libraryofcongress). Colorized by Jordan J. Lloyd. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. Photo by Unseen Histories on Unsplash.

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?

Recommended Reading

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

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7 thoughts on “MLK Day, 2022”

  1. Avatar

    What inspires me about Martin Luther King’s life, teachings, witness and martyrdom is his freedom. He lived, taught, witnessed and died as a free agent, as a beloved son of God, expressing this within his free will choices, that were in alignment and harmony with the light, truth, wisdom and many other qualities, characteristics, virtues and nature of Divine Love… that divine essence and presence inherent within his humanity. Many generations will continue to be blessed by the measure of sacredness, wholeness and holiness within his matured soul.

  2. Avatar

    Thank you for reminding us that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, jr., is a perfect example of healthy masculinity. He was full of grace, dignity, truth, and courage and continues to inspire us today. I kept a copy of his most famous speech taped to the side of my desk, where everyone coming into my office could see it. I read somewhere that as a child for some years he hated white people because of negative experiences, but his parents continually taught him love and forgiveness. To overcome his own feelings first, and then to become such a supreme leader of the power of love is even more impressive, to me. His strength and courage came from his faith. Churches today that continue to bask in the status quo are not truly Christian, and need to be called out continually–as Matthew and others like Jim Wallis do. The Rev. King is also a wonderful example of patience and forbearance with the knowledge that progress happens in God’s time, not in ours.

  3. Avatar

    Well stated Jeanette! What inspires me about Martin Luther King is his deep faith in God’s Spirit of Love(Compassion)~Light(Truth/Wisdom)~Life(Peace/Justice/Joy/Beauty) within him and his sisters/brothers that gave him the courage to speak out and act for Truth, Peace & Justice, God’s Loving Oneness hbfor all human beings, all living creatures, and All Creation around the world….

  4. Avatar

    Thank you much for this meditation. What a frame work he provides for the ascent of Christian Nationalism.
    His words were prescient and many of us are hearing his prophetic voice again in new ways.

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