Today, we honor those nonviolent freedom fighters who sparked the sit-in movement at lunch counters exactly 55 years ago. It is also the 50th anniversary of the first mass arrests in Selma–Dr. King and more than a thousand demonstrators, including more than 500 children were jailed on February 1, 1965 (many these same children prayed for Sheriff Clark’s speedy recovery from exhaustion outside a hospital days later). Lastly, we celebrate the 60th birthday of Ched Myers, a man who has committed his life to the legacy of Jesus & Martin Luther King. This is an excerpt from an article he published 10 years ago in Transmission (U.K) titled “Was Jesus a Practitioner of Nonviolence? Reading through Mark 1:21-3:19 and Martin Luther King”, an appropriate piece of vision-casting for all of us who dare to resist like it’s 1960 Greensboro & 1965 Selma:
At the end of their lives, Jesus and King were each hemmed in by all the factions of their respective political terrains. They had to navigate death threats from without, dissent from within their own movements, and had as colleagues only a relatively tiny group of feckless companions. But that is how it always is struggling for the Kingdom of God in a world held hostage by tyrants, terrorists, militarists, and kingpins, unaided by ambivalent religious leaders and insular academics and utterly distracted young folks. Despite all this, however, both Jesus and King chose nonviolent love without compromising their insistence upon justice. They believed that the movement for God’s Beloved Community was worth giving their lives to—and they invite us to do the same.