Thoughts on MLK Day

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Being in Charleston, SC on MLK Day is different than any other I’ve experienced. I am embarrassed to admit that I have not been adequately informed about him nor the extent of his influence. I’m thankful to have been off work today and to have been able to be blessed by what I’ve learned today.

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I am humbled, inspired, and encouraged to know that time has only strengthened MLK’s words. We are still fighting many of the same battles: racism, oppression, and injustice. We still have leaders who abuse their power and mock the title of “leader” by their lack of moral integrity and their willingness to sacrifice the well-being of those they are called to lead for their own selfish gains.

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In his last speech on April 3, 1968 in Memphis TN, the night before he was assassinated, Dr. King said “I just want to do God’s will“. Facing “difficult days ahead”, he encouraged the listeners to remain courageous and to continue the fight for justice. I am convicted of my own fears that keep me from standing up and speaking out against the injustices I witness within my own profession.  I try to do this, but admit I am often afraid and remain silent. Unlike Dr. King, I am not facing death threats or bodily harm. I pray that I am able to find my own courage, for the injustices God has called me to fight.


When the Bad Guys Seem to Win……and Win…….and Win Again


Recently, I was sharing some of my experiences with a colleague. Her eyes grew wide and she had that same horrified expression I’ve seen on every other face when I tell this story. Mind you, I only briefly shared…… where near the entire truth. I’m still not able to fully fathom the depths of the experience and, to be brutally honest, it is still hard for me to believe myself.  Truth is often stranger than fiction. Her reaction was the same as every other person I’ve told, “Why isn’t anyone doing something about this?”.  I had to laugh. If she only knew how many people had tried and are still trying. This was my question every single day for almost two years. I was one of many who desperately tried to do something, many facing the very real fears of retaliation.  Every day I am reminded of the similarities between my own experiences and the current state of political and entertainment affairs. The #MeToo movement, as well as the devastating effects of  a narcissistic leader who rules from a stance of “It’s all about ME”, are eerily similar to my own experiences.

The sad reality is that in most of these instances, the bad people seem to win. Sometimes for many, many years. This is how they gain power and followers. Many individuals are far too willing to voluntarily surrender their own values and ethics to obtain a place of favor in these individuals’ kingdoms. However, we know by exploring history and the evidence that these kingdoms are short-lived and tend to implode. After all the good people leave…..which they eventually do either by choice or by force…….all that is left are those individuals who have sacrificed their own character and ability to think, choose, and act. No system can survive in that climate.

The difficulty lies in the in-between. For those who have felt the pains of retaliation, isolation, and even harassment, the resolution and exposure may come long after they have been freed of the environment. But, based on history, it will happen. I don’t have the answers about why the bad guys seem to win  nor do I understand why those who should be accountable and responsible for intervening don’t. I do know that God is in charge and He knows these answers. I have chosen to trust in Him and let Him work in his perfect timing. This gives me peace.

Just after my conversation yesterday, I happened upon a devotion by Henri Nouwen. Once again, God spoke to me and reassured me that He knows. I don’t need to share all of the details, He was with me throughout the experience. He also knows very well the stories of the other individuals. I’m at peace and am thankful for the opportunity to learn valuable lessons about myself and God’s grace as a result of these experiences. For those in the midst of experiencing the very real issues of choosing to be morally courageous, please know that “doing what is right” is never easy, but it is always right. I pray that you feel God’s peace and strength surrounding you as you “stand up and speak out” and that you find support, as I did, in unlikely places and individuals. These are true gifts!


“One of the most astounding observations we can make is that those who make us afraid have power over us. Those who can…

Posted by Henri Nouwen Society on Monday, 8 January 2018