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MLK Challenges Us on Love, Power

In 1967 the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke on August 16 in Atlanta, Georgia, precisely on the issue of love and power. He taught the audience that “one of the great problems of history is that the concepts of love and power have usually been contrasted as opposites, polar opposites, so that love is identified with a resignation of power, and power with a denial of love.”1

The simple, ordinary (or ...“truthy”) wisdom of the world pits love against power, and power against love. King demands that we engage our whole selves in a total effort to banish that absurd dichotomy. No ...half-hearted effort will do.

Rather, “what is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive, and that love without power is sentimental and anemic.”2

King sees the truth because he thoroughly understands that the power consistent with love is undeniably non-violent. The truth is, love and power require one another. They make one another to fully exist. And when either is deprived of the other, both are ruined.

(This is an excerpt from the Introduction of The End of Divine Truthiness. on the Martin Luther King Holiday, 2018).

1 King, Martin Luther, Jr. “Where Do We Go from Here?” Delivered at the 11th Annual SCLC Convention, Atlanta, Georgia, August 16, 1967. https://kinginstitute.stanford.edu/king-papers/documents/where-do-we-go-here-delivered-11th-annual-sclcconvention.

2 Ibid.

 

Paul Joseph Greene

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