The Jazz Theologian has just written an article for reflection. The article is entitled “Marginal Christianity.” In that article, Robert Gelinas uses Dr. Martin Luther King Jr as a symbol for how Christianity should be in the world. While many look back fondly on his ministry, we cannot forget that Dr. King was marginal. His view against the war in Vietnam when many, black and white, told him to not speak on it, demonstrates how he was not in line with the common values of the day. His marching for Civil Rights, while thought of highly today, was at the time seen as “radical” and even “untimely.” The argument over Dr. King’s tactics fostered the creation of the Progressive National Baptist Convention.
Certainly many have turned him into an icon of the status quo today. Some use him as a voice of moderation against the so-called radical voices that are living. I even hear conservative republican voices attempting to use him as teaching their values, which is ridiculous for he was for welfare and against militarism. Many try to act as though they are in line with his voice when they are risking nothing to call his name.
Why at the Margins?
Gelinas reminds us that Christianity should be on the margins. And why? Gelinas quotes King:
Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice and justice at it’s best is love correcting everything that stands against love. (Martin Luther King Jr. August 16, 1967)
Christianity is at the margins because it stands against anything that is against love. That anything may be in the white house. That anything may be in the state house. That anything may be in our very church. We may see that anything when we look in the mirror. As preachers of God we must stand for justice and a correcting love. Correcting love doesn’t seek change for the sake of change, but neither can it fall into the trap of an easy conservatism that looks at injustice as an inevitable byproduct of living in this world.
Christianity Gets You Mad Sometimes
Christianity should get you mad sometimes. It will sometimes step on your toes even as you preach it. If your Christianity isn’t at least irritating to the powers of injustice, then I would argue that your Christianity is missing something. In an era of “seeker-sensitive” methodologies and a laissez faire Christianity, true Christianity steps in and says, this is love, it may be problematic for some of you, you may not like it, in fact it may repel you, but Jesus said, “My people shall hear my voice.” (John 10:16) Let us as preachers have the power and audacity to preach the real gospel instead of being happy with trite and trivial knock offs.