To The Rabble Rousers, A Good Friday Message

He was only thirty-three when the tide of public opinion turned against him. They called him a rabble-rouser. They called him a troublemaker. They said he was an agitator. He practiced civil disobedience; he broke injunctions. And so he was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial. And the irony of it all is that his friends turned him over to them. – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. from the famous Drum Major Instinct speech

If you know me, you have probably fallen out of your chair or choked on your coffee — some kind of dramatic response to my leading with a story about Jesus. Let’s be clear, I’m not your garden variety pew-warming, bible-thumping amen-screaming Believer. But I aspire to be.

Interestingly, I have never been so reflective about Jesus’ death as I have this year. As Dr. King illustrates through his words, Jesus’ final act gifts us with beautiful lessons on sacrifice, unconditional love, and not to mention the whole everlasting life thing. Dr. King’s powerful message about Jesus as the ultimate social justice warrior who sought to honor the wishes of His Father by serving the marginalized of His time, fully aware of the personal and ultimate cost, doubles as an obituary memorializing his own life and death.

As my Father has loved me, so have I loved you.

A visual learner, for decades I’ve tried to visualize Jesus (my own Jesus avatar not Hollywood’s or White America’s version) hanging on a cross, nailed, bloody, pained, yet asks God to forgive the people responsible for His pain and impending death. The epitome of selflessness. Jesus’ short life and tragic death are defined by love for His Father and, by extension, love for humanity and I have been assured that this includes you and me.

So, on this “Good” Friday, the celebration of Jesus’ death on the cross (baffling that this is considered both “good” and a celebration), I want to make an appeal to our city and state leadership. Even though it appears (remember no biblical scholar here) the Holy Bible is big on the use of the word “obey” in relation to one’s husband, parents, God, and government, my Googling and pitiful church attendance yield few references for holding elected officials accountable.

Proverbs 8:15-15 “By me kings reign and rulers issue decrees that are just; by me princes govern, and nobles—all who rule on earth.”

Ok, I found one.

Please be patient with my efforts to appeal to the humanity of those elected or appointed to serve the people. This is not to disrespect anyone who is not Christian or force-feed Christian doctrine to anyone who reads this blog. I’m not that woman. God knows. I’m simply attempting to amplify Jesus’ service to His fellow woman and man as a model for leaders throughout Tennessee.

Legislators

I don’t know if partisanship is biblical, but where families and children are concerned it’s certainly not helpful. We need our leaders to work for the good of the people and not the party. Any legislation that excludes or disparages human beings – immigrants, LGTBQ, questionably dressed parents, special education students – is WRONG. Most notably, the voucher legislation that excludes immigrant students.

School Districts

The lifeline of a school district is fueled by its parents – and not just the affluent and frequent volunteer parents. School Boards and district leadership are accountable to the parents of every child enrolled, including charter school parents and parents on the frontline of the equity battle. When Nashville’s charter school parents organize to demand respect from the school board only to be ignored, something is terribly wrong. When Shelby County parents scream for transparency and fairness over a director search and the school board ignores their cries, we’ve selected the wrong people to represent children and families.

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Matthew 25:40

To The Rabble-Rousers

Whether you worship the Holy Trinity, submit to Allah, live by the Torah, or are instructed by Buddhist teachings, the common thread is love for one another and the less fortunate. Jesus loved without condition. Charity is one of the five Pillars of Islam. One of the most important laws in Judaism is deeds of justice. A Buddhist’s journey to Enlightenment, ultimate happiness, includes compassion for others. 

Unfortunately, no good deed goes unpunished, as we’ve seen examples from Jesus to Black Lives Matter activists. Do good for the greater good, anyway. We are here not for ourselves.

…every now and then I think about my own death and I think about my own funeral. And I don’t think of it in a morbid sense. And every now and then I ask myself, “What is it that I would want said?”

I’d like somebody to mention that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to give his life serving others. 

I’d like for somebody to say that day that Martin Luther King, Jr., tried to love somebody.

I want you to say that day that I tried to be right on the war question. 

I want you to be able to say that day that I did try to feed the hungry.

And I want you to be able to say that day that I did try in my life to clothe those who were naked. 

I want you to say on that day that I did try in my life to visit those who were in prison. 

I want you to say that I tried to love and serve humanity. 

Dr. King

2 thoughts on “To The Rabble Rousers, A Good Friday Message

  1. Jesus was (is!) very very smart. I think he loves the idea of public education, that the children of kids with solid home lives might sit in classrooms with kids from troubled backgrounds, that they could learn together, that brokenness could be set aside for a school day.

    Jesus ministered to a society not unlike our own, where the folks who preened about supposedly “working harder”, or folks of the majority race, tended to have the loot, and tended to horde it, tended to cheat the less fortunate out of their fair share….

    Jesus would have chastised our legislature and our council for their cutting budget to de-support “the least of these”. In fact, regarding children, he suggested that millstones be tied around the necks of perpetrators, and they be cast into the sea. Our voucher-crazed legislators and Governor seem to have entirely missed out on that scripture. (I think we all skip a lot of the tough passages in today’s feel-good-about-me prosperity-gospel community churches that folks are flocking to.)

    I can’t imagine Jesus ever saying “You need Vouchers so your kids don’t have to be anywhere near kids whose parents are in jail” or “You need a magnet school because your kids are smarter than the other kids, who are noisier in the hallways, and unsafe to be around.” or “You need charter schools, because sending scarce tax dollars to Andre Agassi’s for-profit business is a great idea” or “You can fire more teachers and stick kids in front of a computer screen” or “Kids will learn more, especially poor kids, if they are tested more, and taught less” or “You need to follow the lead of Memphis and make an independent district because those people in town are just not about quality schools” or “Teachers need to brandish guns” or “Scribes and Pharisees, it is right and good that you send your kids to schools costing $25,000 a year, and deride the public schools as failures when you fund them at $10,000 a year per kid”

    But, in America, I guess we’re all a bit guilty of projecting our worldviews onto Jesus, which is likely the greatest sin of all. I hope that “forgiveness” part of the gospel is all that it claims to be. I need his forgiveness, for sure, when it comes to my public education advocacy. I join you in deepest thanks for Easter Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

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