Dare 2B Daring - June 06, 2018
A daily devotional published by Risk Takers for Christ, Inc.
(Permission granted to reprint with proper attribution.)
“Except for Dr. King’s speeches, I had never been exposed to religion beyond the bounds of the Good Book. Now my brain was crackling as it strained to assess and absorb these new ideas. Now I saw philosophical and theological underpinnings for what I’d sensed and deeply felt all my life – that there was a contradiction between what was and what ought to be.” – John Lewis
I am currently reading John Lewis’ autobiography, “Walking With The Wind”. Written in 1998, it chronicles Lewis’ childhood growing up poor and black in rural Alabama. Lewis eventually went off to a Bible college in Nashville for blacks only, was a leader of that city’s lunch counter sit-ins, and – as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) – helped organize the March on Washington in 1963 that featured Dr. King’s immortal, “I Have a Dream” speech.
Lewis was also one of the original 13 Freedom Riders, seven whites and six blacks who were determined to travel from Washington to New Orleans in an integrated fashion. Along the way, they were viciously beaten, arrested and jailed.
However, Lewis is probably best known for co-leading the Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965 that culminated in “Bloody Sunday”. Attempting to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge, Lewis and the other 600 marchers were confronted by Alabama state troopers on horseback who ordered them to disperse. When the marchers stopped to pray, the troopers fired tear gas and charged into the crowd, brutally beating many of them with night sticks. Lewis suffered a fractured skull and still bears scars from that incident today.
There are many issues on which Lewis and I strongly disagree. After all, he is a liberal Democrat who has represented Georgia’s 5th congressional district in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1987. But I refuse to throw the baby out with the bathwater, because they are some critical issues on which he and I wholeheartedly concur, such as the need for racial reconciliation in America and the importance of putting feet to one’s faith regardless of the consequences.
A disciple of Dr. King, Lewis has advocated for – and practiced – nonviolent protest for more than 50 years. For his contributions to the Civil Rights movement and racial equality for all Americans, Lewis was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, our nation’s highest civilian honor.
Let me conclude with another excerpt from Lewis’ book. “For the most part, white Southern Baptist churches [of that era] didn’t even want black people to step inside their buildings. Yet within these very institutions, people were being taught that Jesus Christ says to love thy neighbor as thyself. How could that be? How could people reconcile that belief with the way they lived. It was illogical. It was contradictory.”
My friend, let’s be sure that our lives and our beliefs are one and the same.
“Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying, ‘The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore, whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say and do not do.’” Matthew 23:1-3 (NKJV)
- Rev. Dale M. Glading, President