Another response to the sacredness of existence is justice and Maat. MLK: In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church…

Excerpt from Matt Fox, June 27, 2021

Another response to the sacredness of existence is justice and Maat.  Dr. King
reminds us of that.

In deep disappointment I have wept over the laxity of the church….Yes, I see the church
as the body of Christ. But, oh! How we have blemished and scarred that body
through social neglect and through fear of being nonconformists….

A shrine to Oshun, an ancient site of
goddess-intoxication in Nigeria. Wikimedia
Commons
, photo by Yeniajayiii.

 

There was a time
when the church was very powerful —…when the early Christians rejoiced at being
deemed worthy to suffer for what they believed. In those days the church was
not merely a thermometer that recorded the ideas and principles of popular
opinion; it was a thermostat that transformed the mores of society…Small in
number, they were big in commitment. They were too God-intoxicated to be
‘astronomically intimidated’ . . .

Things are
different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice
with an uncertain sound. So often it is an archdefender of the status quo. Far
from being disturbed by the presence of the church the power structure of the
average community is consoled by the church’s silent — and often even vocal —
sanction of things as they are.

“A twilight visit to the Martin
Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington DC.” Photo by Suzy
Brooks
 on Unsplash.

 

King weeps over the
failures of the church.  He longs for the courage of the early church when
Christians stood up to the Roman Empire, even if that stance was dangerous and
brought the wrath of the empire upon them. He sees a living church as one that
“transforms the mores of society.”

How much, if anything, has changed since King’s day? To what degree do churches still
defend the status quo and “sanction things as they are”?  How about voting
rights for example?  And the ecocide that is happening everywhere? 
Are white churches speaking out and acting on these moral emergencies?  If
not, why not? 


Dona Marimba Richards, Let the Circle Be Unbroken: The
Implications of African Spirituality in The Diaspora 
 (Lawrenceville,
NJ: Red Sea Press 1992), 37-39.

Adapted from Matthew Fox, One
River, Many Wells: Wisdom Springing from Global Faiths
, p.
240. 

And Matthew Fox, Christian
Mystics: 365 Readings and Meditations
, p. 326.

Banner Image: “Ma’at, Angel of Truth and Order,” a mural in Crown Heights,
Brooklyn, photographed by NYCGoeff on Flickr.

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