It is an amazing and wonderful fact that the prophetic voice of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. is so relevant to our present-day sociological issues, challenges and spiritual condition. His legacy is an inspiring model when revisited by those searching for answers to many of our current social dilemmas. This truth is especially demonstrated in his last and often overlooked book, Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? Published in 1967, one year before Dr. King’s assassination on April 4, 1968.
The questions of national identity and social health are still very relevant, perhaps even more so today, since we live in a time when instead of embracing Dr. King’s dream, we too often are living in a nightmare relative to national well-being and wholeness. The questions remain: Who are we as Americans? Where do we stand in the global community? Where are we going? These questions are key determinants to our spiritual and communal survival.
As when Dr. King challenged the nation in the twentieth century, so we are challenged today to address the treatment of the poor, the destructive existence of racism, discrimination, segregation and the divisive atmosphere of hatred. As a nation, we are still burdened by the triple evils of racism, materialism and militarism. We still struggle with poor outcomes as a result of growing disparities in the areas of education, employment, human rights, and housing. This state of affairs brings us to a desperate hour in which we must face the realization of the “urgency of now.”
In Dr. King’s own words:
“We are now faced with the fact that tomorrow is today. We are confronted with the fierce urgency of now. In this unfolding conundrum of life and history there is such a thing as being too late. Procrastination is still the thief of time. Life often leaves us standing bare, naked and dejected with a lost opportunity. The “tide in the affairs of men” does not remain at the flood; it ebbs. We may cry out desperately for time to pause in her passage, but time is deaf to every plea and rushes on. Over the bleached bones and jumbled residues of numerous civilizations are written the pathetic words: “Too late.” There is an invisible book of life that faithfully records our vigilance or our neglect. “The moving finger writes, and having writ moves on…” We still have a choice today: nonviolent co-existence or violent coannihilation. This may well be mankind’s last chance to choose between chaos and community.”
We invite you to join us on this journey to achieve a more Beloved Community that reflects the wholeness of our humanity.
Dumas A. Harshaw, Jr., Ph.D.
Triangle Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee Board Chair
Senior Pastor, First Baptist Church