What I’m Reading Today: Romans 8:1-17
Today I’m thinking a great deal about the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960’s and other contemporary human rights movements. I’m particularly interested in whether or not there are lessons we can learn from the Civil Rights Movement that might help inform our efforts today.
There are certainly dozens of lessons to be learned – but there’s one that jumps out at me right away. As I look at the movement from the 1960’s, I realize that the defining battles for the soul of our country weren’t waged primarily in the courtrooms – the most important battles occurred on the streets of our communities and in the hearts of our citizens.
The Supreme Court may have ruled segregation unconstitutional in Brown vs. the Board of Education in 1954, for instance; but it took several years (and countless images of fellow Americans being brutalized with police dogs and water hoses) before the hearts of middle America began to slowly change. And when the sons and daughters, pastors and teachers from the suburbs began to get involved in the Freedom Rides – that’s when lasting progress was achieved.
I was reminded of this as I read Paul’s words from today’s passage in Roman, where he wrote: “The law always ended up being used as a Band-Aid on sin instead of healing on it” (Romans 8:5 from The Message).
While I realize the passage is addressing an entirely different kind of law than that typically address by the courts in the United States, I think the underlying point is similar: the law itself won’t get us there. Something more is required…
On a day when we remember the important advances that have occurred because of Martin Luther King, Jr. my prayer is that each of us will recommit ourselves to ushering in a new era of liberty and justice for all in the most subversive manner possible: one shared story - and one changed heart - at a time. Til next time…