What Shall We Overcome?
Racism, the Imbalance of Power, and the Response of the Prophetic Voice
“They told us we wouldn’t get here. And there were those who said that we would get here only over their dead bodies, but all the world today knows that we are here and we are standing before the forces of power …” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Montgomery, March 25, 1965
I am writing these comments at a particular moment in time. And yet, unlike a week-old newspaper, the themes and issues have a persistently endless quality about them that just won’t seem to go away. The annual observance of Black History Month has just concluded. And in a few days, our nation’s first black president will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the landmark civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, by standing on a bridge named after a Confederate general and reputed early Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, Edmund W. Pettus.
In the last few years we have witnessed a resurgence of racial strife, as the recurrent curse of our American story. Names and phrases like Trayvon hoodies, Ferguson and “I can’t breathe” have become protest chants. Hands raised high overhead are no longer accompanied with shouts of “Hallelujah,” but rather, “Don’t shoot.”
The anthem, Glory from the Oscar-nominated film Selma wins Best Original Song at the Academy Awards: “One day, when the glory comes / It will be ours, it will be ours / Oh glory, glory, glory.”
One fine, glorious day it shall come, the singer sings; just as both the ancient prophets and the prophets of our own age once proclaimed. It understandably leaves us wondering when that day will come?
But perhaps it is not so much a matter of when we shall overcome, but the ever-present what? And in the naming of the what, we might also ask where is the echo of the prophet’s voice in all of this?
You can read this latest commentary Here.
In the last four decades, John Bennison has been a teacher, preacher, lecturer, trainer, carpenter, coffin builder, counselor, spiritual advisor, ethicist, writer and lyricist, musician and entertainer, assembly-line union worker, small business entrepreneur, residential real estate specialist, corporate cog and executive director of a faith-based non-profit organization.
He’s authored eight publications on faith and values, and as an ordained minister served as a parish pastor over 25 years. He earned his Doctorate from Claremont School of Theology, as well as his BA degree in philosophy and religion from Lake Forest College.
John contributes his leadership experience as Executive Director and Lead Teacher at Pathways, as he writes the Words & Ways commentaries and blogs on The Christian Progressive, engaging others everywhere in meaningful dialogue. He also volunteers as Director and President of the Mountain Shadow Film Society.
Meanwhile, John also continues to provide professional client services to buyers and sellers of residential real estate in the Bay Area area market (www.imaginecominghome.com).
Having raised two daughters, he resides with his spouse and golden retriever in Walnut Creek, California.