Martin Luther King Jr. was an extraordinary person. Not perfect but nevertheless, extraordinary. While we remember his legacy again on this day…let’s not make the mistake of forgetting the God behind this extraordinary man.
It’s way too easy to talk about MLK because so many people and groups of people want to own him as their own. But they often don’t want to take or acknowledge all of him. At the core of his life, Martin Luther King Jr. was a follower of Jesus Christ. His faith in Christ informed all that he sought to do as a civil rights leader.
One of my heroes is Frederick Douglass. I have a list of folks whose stuff I regularly read on and read about and Frederick Douglass is one of them. Words in today’s world have grown to be an interesting sensation. I believe in the power of words via teaching, preaching, blogging, writing, etc. At the essence, I do believe in the adage that “the pen is mightier than the sword.” I just think that claim is tested today like never before because in our digital and social media world, it’s easy to be posers, pretenders, and well, people full of words and lacking in the deeper context and story of meaning, substance, labor, pursuit, perseverence, and conviction. What am I saying? Words are nice but actions need to accompany words.
Why do I admire Frederick Douglass? It’s not just his words but it’s his life and struggles and his perseverance, courage, and faith in the midst.
Frederick Douglass (1818 – 1895) was an American abolitionist, women’s suffragist, editor, orator, author, statesman and reformer. Douglass is one of the most prominent figures in African-American and United States history. In 1872, Douglass became the first African American nominated as a Vice Presidential candidate in the U.S., running on the Equal Rights Party ticket with Victoria Woodhull, the first woman to run for President of the United States.
There are others whose voice and courage are incredibly noteworthy including Martin Luther King Jr., Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and even contemporary voices such as Cornel West. But Douglass, for me, stands out. His faith came from his convictions as a follower of God and thus, sought to love God with his heart, soul, body, and mind and took to heart the call to love mercy, seek justice, and walk humbly. He was also a licensed preacher and wasn’t shy of calling the church out on its hypocrisy. This quote is a must read for all Christians, leaders, and pastors: Continue reading “the courage and convictions of frederick douglass”