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“Let Us Not Despair” — Dr. King, Love, Justice, and Pecan Pie #MLKDay2020

January 20, 2020
tags: ,

LOVE sculpture with “Embrace” in the background; dawn Burning Man 2014. photo by Gwendolyn Alley

“What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and that love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.” Martin Luther King, Jr.

MLK: Darkness cannot drive out darkness

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that,” said Dr. King in his 1963 book, Strength to Love. (…/King%27s-words-still-inspire-nearly-50…).

“Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

In his sermon, “The Death of Evil upon the Seashore,” Dr. King begins by asserting that, “There is hardly anything more obvious than the fact that evil is present in the universe. It projects its nagging, prehensile tentacles into every level of human existence. We may debate over the origin of evil, but only the person victimized with a superficial optimism will debate over its reality. Evil is with us as a stark, grim, and colossal reality.”

“The Bible affirms the reality of evil in glaring terms,” continues Dr. King. “It symbolically pictures it in the work of a serpent which comes to inject a discord into the beautiful, har- monious symphony of life in a garden. It sees it in nagging tares disrupting the orderly growth of stately wheat. It sees it in a ruthless mob hanging the world’smost precious character on a cross between twothieves. The Bible is crystal clear in its perception of evil.”

“But we need not stop with the glaring examples of the Bible to establish the reality of evil; we need only to look out into the wide arena of everyday life,” writes Dr. King. “We have seen evil in tragic lust and inordinate selfishness. We have seen it in high places where men are willing to sacrifice truth on the altars of their self-interest. We have seen it in imperialistic nations trampling over other nations with the iron feet of oppression. We have seen it clothed in the garments of calami- tous wars which left battlefields painted with blood, filled nations with widows and orphans, and sent men home physically handicapped and psychologically wrecked.”

“We have seen evil in all of its tragic dimensions,” writes Dr King.

In the conclusion to “The Death of Evil upon the Seashore,” Dr King writes:

“Let us not despair. Let us not lose faith in man and certainly not in God. We must believe that a prejudiced mind can be changed, and that man, by the grace of God, can be lifted from the valley of hate to the high mountain of love.”

The 15 minute video “State of Independence 1, 2, and 3” above features vocals by Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders and includes clips from Dr King:

“Let Freedom Ring.”

As we know Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. loved justice — and according to the New York Times, he also loved pecan pie. If you decide to make pecan pie in his honor today, check out my pecan pie recipe— it also has some walnuts, rum and chocolate! A great reward after a day of service in honor of Dr. King — a day when we move toward being more devoted to justice than to order.

In previous years around Dr. King’s birthday , I’ve used the blog posts linked below in the context of my college classroom teaching where we generally start off the semester with a reading or two from Dr. King.

“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.
You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and your verb agree to serve.”


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