Monday, January 19, 2009

Martin Luther King, Jr.


I wanted to write down some of my favorite quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. today. For many years this day was such an important day for me in my job that I wanted to make sure it didn't go unacknowledged this year. I think the significance of this day and what it symbolizes is more profound than ever this year as it falls on the eve of the inauguration of our nation's first African-American president. What sweet real-life poetry that is! Our country has come a long way, and I hope that our new President can help us to progress even further.

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

If man hasn't discovered something that he will die for, he isn't fit to live.

We have flown the air like birds and swum the sea like fishes, but have yet to learn the simple act of walking the earth like brothers.

We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobile rather than by the quality of our service and relationship to mankind.

Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don't have to have college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.

Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity. It causes him to describe the beautiful as ugly and the ugly as beautiful, and to confuse the true with the false and the false with the true.

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige and even his life for the welfare of others.

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.

The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men.

I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word in reality. This is why right temporarily defeated is stronger than evil triumphant.

Life's most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?

If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, here lived a great streetsweeper who did his job well.

Law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress.

Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction....The chain reaction of evil - hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars - must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.

Everything that is done in the world is done by hope.

We must accept finite disappointment, but we must never lose infinite hope.

Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.

I decided early to give my life to something eternal and absolute. Not to these little gods that are here today and gone tomorrow, but to God who is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically... Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education.

Cowardice asks the question, 'Is it safe?' Expediency asks the question, 'Is it politic?' But conscience asks the question, 'Is it right?' And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right.

8 comments:

Rebecca and Co. said...

Great quotes from a great man. Hope you have a great day!

Dane and Emily said...

Thank you for that, Jord. Very powerful indeed. Happy MLK Day! Love you!
-Em and Dane

d/b/c/m said...

great quotes! happy MLK day to you!

Vigoren Family said...

Jordon, I Love how you always have such great quotes. Those you posted today were wonderful.
What you are doing for those boys is of great service. Your heart is so good. xoxo m

Alexis said...

I love the quotes, and some rang familiar from my City Year days. Others I hadn't heard. Pure poetry.

I just reread parts from The Prophet and it had the same impact: when I was younger, they didn't have the same impact on me. Now Gibran and King's words have new meaning, even more so now that we have Obama in office.

xo

KC said...

Celebrate "The Struggle"!

Joseph and Katie Smith said...

Thank you Jordon. I was moved and reminded as I read these words of truth.

Beck said...

Jord I fell like the BIGGEST loser because I just found the card you left in our box and I have no idea how long its been there. You probably have been wondering why the crap we havent thanked you, but THANK YOU SOOOOOOOOOOO MUCH!! You did not need to do that! Your awesome. And also I heard a nasty rumor that you have been in town a couple times without staying with us or coming to say hi. What the crap boy!! Hope you are doing good. Thanks so much!!