Why can’t more Christians be like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? Dr. King’s faith drove him to make courageous decisions because he believed that all people are made in the image of God. It wasn’t simply tolerance he was aiming for, he preached about equality, hope and reconciliation. Sadly, the picture that most people have today is that Christians are mostly the opposite of the Biblical virtues Dr. King embodied.
There are great leaders today who are following in Dr. Kings footsteps- Gary Haugen of the International Justice Mission is working internationally as a modern-day abolitionist to provide people basic human rights, freedom. Haugen, also a Christian (and InterVarsity alumni) is living out his convictions in caring for child-sex slaves in the brothels of Thailand, forced laborers in Africa and unjust situations all over the world.
Dr. Brenda Salter-McNeil is an international speaker and leader working to “produce inter-culturally competent leaders and communities on college campuses, in churches and in organizations around the world. We do this through a biblically based process that includes speaking, training, leadership development, diversity assessments, strategic planning, consulting and executive coaching.” Dr. McNeil has reached thousands of college students to help them understand how to live out the things Dr. King spoke about so many years ago.
Brenda and Gary are great examples of leaders working for justice today and are influential across the world. Yet I find myself also thankful for the thousands of students I work with on campus who are seeking to live out Dr. King’s dream. Recently, I attended InterVarsity’s national staff conference focused on “Campuses Renewed.” One of the most moving videos that was shown was a clip about InterVarsity students at St. Louis University who responded to racially motivated attacks and slurs on their campus. It’s the choices these students made to care for their campus that continue to demonstrate what it means to live out the teachings of Jesus, whether or not they become as well-known as Dr. King, Gary or Brenda. Though there may not ever be another leader who is as influential as Dr. King, the small choices of many will continue to bring God’s kingdom of diversity, unity and love here on earth as it is in heaven.