And how much is it going to cost me?

So I’m getting around to watching some of what was preached at #MLK50Conference, in April of 2018.  (Hey, I don’t do this for a living.) Charlie Dates appears to sum up the spirit of the thing: we have a long way to go; we’re not sure exactly where we’re going or how we’re going to get there, but we have a long way to go.  We better fix this. Somebody is in trouble.  Guess who?

I enjoyed his delivery and his command of the language.  I also admire his sense that Christ’s church needs to be on the march, tending the garden, a force for good changes in this world.   (Isn’t it strange how preachers touting vaguely progressive solutions never get scolded for politics?  Funny how that works.)

I also admired his very clear, at least stated, commitment to the notion that on the street revolutionaries can’t change anything without Christ, nor can congregations live Christ without taking Him to their neighbors.

But it seems to me that those who borrow the memory of Martin Luther King Jr. have a bit of a problem when it comes to today’s America. Where are the segregated lunch counters?  Where are the separate facilities?  Where are the water cannons and the demands that anyone sit at the back of the bus?  Charlie notes that our churches are segregated, (I’m not sure that’s completely true), but if they are — was that by government order?

Suppose we lament–as all believers should–the problems of a particular demographic: say, the higher incarceration rate for young black males. Who, or what, is to blame here?  Are we being asked to believe that the government has singled out black men for increased attention?

Moreover, in view of the extraordinary efforts to root out discrimination in lending, housing, and hiring, in view of what many Americans consider reverse discrimination — affirmative action — why are we still lamenting a structural injustice the facts simply don’t support?

I predict more confusion on the horizon, and it will sound vaguely holy.