One of the more fabulous aspects of working at SOF is being surrounded by a crazy number of talented people from other other regional and national programs that are part of our parent company, American Public Media (if you’d like, I can try to explain the complexity of the public radio world and distributors some time). I’m overwhelmed by the wide array of topics and material being produced and, unfortunately, never get to hear.

Our colleagues next door at American RadioWorks just released a riveting documentary about the last year of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s life. As a bonus, the executive editor Stephen Smith presented a live performance for his colleagues — a 35-minute pictorial narrative he had given at a commemorative event in historic Riverside Church in New York.

It’s not often that our topic area overlaps so overtly with our next-door neighbors’ material. In this case, King’s religious and moral language wasn’t ignored or minimized for the political, the historical, the newsiness of it all. It wasn’t an anecdote. Sitting in a small crowd of 50 with my colleagues, I was engaged from the first photo, an image of King preaching with Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel sitting in the background.

I was overtaken by his recorded words from a sermon given at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta in 1968, shortly before his assassination. I had never heard King like that before.

King’s context was the 60s and civil rights. His legacy today is more than that. His ability is to relate to one’s personal failures and struggles and say, “It’s alright. Keep on trying.” As a husband and a father and a journalist, “I want to be a good man.”

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I know for sure.... YOU ARE!

SOF, I presume you know quite a bit about your audience, to help sell advertising. There is one thing SOF will not do, apparently - allow interviewees to make inconvenient demands on the econoomic interest sof SOF listeners, a highly educated, professional demographic, in their vocations/professions.

There is no organized Christian influence in my profession of engineering (this applies to other secular professions and other faiths too). Why not, especially given that my profession is neither a "state" nor a "religion" and that the "facts on the ground" are that its 20 million degreed members collectively hold civilization and much of thenatural environment in their hands? "Love of money is the root of all evil" 1 Tim 6:10 is the explanation. Christian engineers will not "rock boats" in their profession, out of (justifiable) fear of economic/professional retribution. The result is that much evil is advanced and much common good is restrained in and through my profession and its Christian members. Something SOF enables, because it would be economically inconvenient for SOF to be a vehicle by which such a contention is made to its audience.

So, you endlessly cite Christian moral theologians, you are really dancing on their graves, because you, at root, are controlled by the $$, not ascertaining and advancing God's will in and through your work, at least not when it makes economically inconvenient demands upon you.

Do you really think our children and grandchildren will get to die natural deaths if present trends continue? Do you really not think that the lack of an organized Christian influence in financial professions is irrelevant to the credit bubble/bust created by the unregulated shadow banking system that developed, particularly in last 10 years? Do you really think the millenium development goals of UN have any chance of being accomplished without a organized Christian salt and light influence in the engineering (and other) professions?

SOF is just like a church in its co-dependent relationship with its consumers. Religious professionals provide religous goods and services to their customers, many of whom are members of secular professions. The religious professionals make no demands, ask no probing questions about the professional practices of the secular professionals in their congregations, the secular professionals do not bring their concerns about any of their professional practices to these religious professionals.

Everyone stays in their respective professional lanes, the religious professionals provide their services, the secular professionals pay them to do so with the profit from their secular professional practices. And our world edges closer and closer to the abyss perceived by Dr. King. Maybe that is why he was so desperate and troubled - he saw the abyss and saw his other religious professionals were co-opted by the system - if the salt loses is flavor...

we should never, ever forget that Martin was, first of all, a disciple of Jesus...a preacher/pastor...whose compassion for his people led him to the places of conflict and crisis and courage....thank you for this excerpt....

johnny depp had a very similar line in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" where a girl asked him what he wanted, and he said, "I just want to be a good man."

I have never forgotten that. It spoke to me. I think that's in all of us.

I tried to be a good woman...

I just listened to a speech he gave exactly one year before he was assassinated on the subject of why he was against the Vietnam war. I'd never heard it before, it was the most riveting of all the preaching I have ever heard of his. Very timely for today, very worthy of rebroadcast.