Martin Luther King Jr. spoke about family dysfunction when the family would rather have discussed the weather and the playoffs, so to speak. In other words, he talked about the problems in our nation that people wanted to ignore. Black people in America were legally disempowered and disregarded, and it wasn’t okay.
The result was the end of legal segregation in America, which was important. It was the recognition by our leaders that all men are created equal.
This was hard for many white Americans in the 60s. Life seemed to be working fine. Why mess that up? And the truth is, for those of us today who don’t know what it’s like to be disregarded because of race, we can assume legislation took care of the problem.
But there’s nothing new under the sun. Take time to listen to fellow black Americans, and you realize unequal treatment is still a daily reality for most.
From Public Enemy’s 2012 song “Beyond Trayvon”:
I’m so sick and tired of being profiled and instantly
Watched close suspiciously because of my ethnicity
So stereotypical it’s despicable
And every black male in a hoodie isn’t a criminal
Listening, you learn that all men are created equal. But not necessarily treated as such. Even in 2017.
So, what does this have to do with F3 on 1/16/17? Well, today is MLK Day. A day when we pay attention to the words of an important American to see what we still have to learn. If that makes you roll your eyes even a little, you need to check your attitude. This isn’t political. It’s spiritual. It’s 3rd F stuff.
And so, today, the PAX launched from the Ambassador site, Chavis Park. Along the way, we let Dr. King speak to us, as well as a few from our ranks.
We did work out. But that was secondary. Here’s how it went:
WARMUP – Standard Fare
Quote 1, read by Hash Brown: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
> PAX ran in pairs down Garner Road, then right on Bragg Street, stopping at major intersections for Bro-Assisted exercises
> Arrived at Neighbor To Neighbor’s property on Bragg and Blount Street.
Quote 2, read by Nemo: “I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.”
. Did some Burpees
. Shuttle Run on the BBall courts
Then, Matador and Yoda both spoke about why they do what they do at Neighbor To Neighbor:
> Matador said he and his wife decided to orient their lives around mercy, love and justice for this neighborhood and the neighbors in it.
> Yoda talked about N2N’s purpose: Like the disregarded and dismissed Samaritan who comes across a wounded man on the road, we’ve got to learn to not ask, “What will happen to me if I stop and help this man,” but instead, “What will happen to this man if I don’t stop and help him.” He called us all to take the same kind of action, and said it takes work.
Before departing, Quote 3, read by Geddy: “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”
Chong, ever the inquisitor, queried: “And what is character?” YHC’s quick definition: “Who you are when no one’s looking. How well you love. That’s character.” Chong: “I can live with that.”
> Ran back to Chavis with partners and more Bro-Assisted exercises
Arrived in time for Heels to Heaven, and done.
SBD spoke to us about what Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and example mean to him.
His words: “Martin Luther King’s words give me hope that things can be different.”
Hope. Things have changed, but SBD’s words are important. They can be better. How? When we do something about injustice. Yoda’s words: “It takes work!”
Final Quotes, read by Boobs: “We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” and then “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
YHC concluded with King’s words he used in a 1967 speech, that we must obey the unenforceable law, which is love. You can’t be arrested for not loving, not being a neighbor. But as men who seek to love God with all we are, and love our neighbor as ourselves, we are called to obey this unenforceable law. To love.
So that was the challenge for today. Men, go and love. Break the silence about things that matter and work on behalf of those who are profiled or mistreated or overlooked. You glorify God when you do.
“And so I realize that if we are to have a truly integrated society, men and women will have to rise to the majestic heights of being obedient to the unenforceable.”
From Dr. King’s speech, “The Other America,” delivered at Stanford University in 1967
“Obedient to the unenforceable” – A phrase Dr. King read in a 1921 speech by the British jurist and parliamentarian Lord John Fletcher Moulton, in which he discussed the various elements that make up a civil society.