Bible in TransMission (U.K.). (Note: A short version of “The Radical Nonviolent Witness of Jesus, May 2009). 9 pp.
Rev. James W. Lawson, a retired Methodist minister in his 80s now, has been a major figure in faith-based activism in the U.S. One of Martin Luther King Jr.’s closest colleagues in the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, Lawson continues to work tirelessly in the tradition of nonviolent activism for social justice. Speaking at a King commemoration recently in Los Angeles he said something that caught my theological attention.
“If you want to understand King,” Lawson asserted, “you must look at Jesus.” He was acknowledging that King was a committed Christian disciple who understood the call of the gospel as a vocation of advocacy for the oppressed, of love for adversaries and of nonviolent resistance to injustice. King can’t be understood apart from his faith: he organized his movement in church basements, prayed as he picketed, sang gospel hymns in jail, preached to presidents, and challenged other church leaders to join him (most poignantly in his 1963 “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”). But Lawson was saying more than this. He was alluding to the undeniable, if uncomfortable, parallels between the Jesus story and the ministry of Dr. King.
Full Article: Was Jesus a Practitioner of Nonviolence? Reading Mark 1:21-3:19 through Martin Luther King SKU: L05-2-F