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The BeZine | 9:4 Winter 2022 | Life of the Spirit and Activism

Volume 9       Life of the Spirit and Activism     Issue 4
fuel for change

Introduction

Life of the spirit
fuel for change

Remaining Awake

So much seems off course—climate crisis, Ukraine war, rising fascism, depleted energy for resisting—where do we find fuel to keep up the struggle for change? In the pages of this issue glimmer hopes, stars in dark nights, dreams—alongside outrage, compassion, and the fire that makes us all (as Youssef Alaoui says early in this issue). That star-sun-moon fire—the Holy Spirit to some, the light of Creation to others, stardust to many, Enlightenment shining forth for still others—this spirit moves us all to love, to care for our siblings and cousins, to awaken and rise up from ashes of despair and sing our songs.

The political right attacks “woke” and wields the word as a weapon against “…any left-leaning policy that it [wants] to condemn,” Professor Esau McCaulley writes when discussing the last Sunday sermon given by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution.” Prof. McCaulley tells us that “…although King doesn’t say the word ‘woke,’ he uses the concept as it was understood by many Black folks then…” (NYTimes “The Kind of Revolution That Martin Luther King Jr. Envisioned” 13 Jan 2023).

Citing the story of Rip Van Winkle, Dr. King points out that a little noticed sign in the story is of great importance. When he goes up to the mountains to sleep, it shows King George III; when he comes down it shows George Washington. The change leaves him feeling lost and confused, not knowing the world. Rip Van Winkle slept through a revolution that changed that world. King warns that too many people are sleeping through three revolutions—technological change, weapons of mass destruction, and the social revolution of human rights.

Sound familiar?

Headshot of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., microphone in foreground, out of focus people standing behind him at a distance.
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

While Dr. King talks about how in 1968 the geological world had shrunk and time quickened through modern jet travel, how our word balanced on the brink of nuclear destruction, but also how a great outcry for freedom was being heard around the globe. He reminds us that our neighbors had become global, not just down the street. That we had to care for our neighbors everywhere there was oppression and injustice.

Sound familiar?

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