[saymaListserv] Fwd: Love is the power behind nonviolence

Janet Minshall jhminshall at comcast.net
Sun Jan 18 11:58:17 JEST 2004

Friends, in honor of Martin Luther King Jr's birthday I am forwarding 
herewith a post by Tom Coyner, a Friend from Seoul Monthly Meeting in 
South Korea.  This is an article/editorial reprinted from the 
Christian Science Monitor.  Tom sends out a variety of articles and 
essays, many related to Friends and or economics.  If you write to 
him and ask, he will put you on his "send" list.  Janet

>From: Tom Coyner <coyner at gol.com>
>Subject: Love is the power behind nonviolence
>Love is the power behind nonviolence
>Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life
>Christian Science Monitor
>Jan. 16, 2004
>When his house was bombed, Martin Luther King rushed home from his 
>church on Dexter Avenue in Montgomery, Ala. He'd been preaching and 
>leading a meeting in support of nonviolence.
>Miraculously his family hadn't been hurt. Yet who knew what would 
>happen next? Was this the first of a series of attacks? Would the 
>next hour bring a mob rampaging through the streets? Frightened and 
>angry, a crowd grew in the front yard.
>Dr. King stepped onto his front porch and addressed the mass of men 
>willing to defend him and his family.
>No one would have blamed him for resorting to armed protection. 
>Instead, he urged restraint. He told the crowd to go home and put 
>away their weapons. Those whom he asked to stay the night to 
>watchfully protect his home were told not to have any guns. In the 
>face of violence, King stuck firmly to his message of nonviolent 
>response and relied on the superior power of love to ultimately 
>defeat hatred.
>King preached and practiced the biblical concept of "love your 
>enemies." It was more than conviction in the Scriptures or blind 
>faith in the Word of God. King had moved beyond a doctrinal platform 
>to a living faith and comprehension of God as Love. As he said 
>later, "Nonviolence is absolute commitment to the way of love."
>It's this absolute conviction of the power of love that makes King 
>so appealing to me. The founder of this newspaper, Mary Baker Eddy, 
>once wrote: "I make strong demands on love, call for active 
>witnesses to prove it, and noble sacrifices and grand achievements 
>as its results.... Love cannot be a mere abstraction, or goodness 
>without activity and power" ("Miscellaneous Writings 1883-1896," 
>page 250). Whether or not King was aware of her words, certainly he 
>put this message into practice in ways that blessed hundreds of 
>thousands of people.
>I know how frightening guns and tear gas can be. I was in high 
>school and college during the campus uprisings in the United States. 
>My mother, who was attending graduate school at the time, narrowly 
>escaped being taken hostage. The professor told them to turn out the 
>lights as armed students rushed through the building. In the dark, 
>Mother prayed. Suddenly the door burst open. A gun-wielding man in 
>his 20s swung his rifle around the room as his eyes adjusted to the 
>Mom said later she prayed for everyone's safety and to know that God 
>governed. The professor suddenly stepped into the light spilling 
>from the hallway and calmly told the intruder that his graduate 
>students had important oral exams to complete. The man hesitated, 
>and then turned and left. The class continued. The campus closed for 
>several weeks, as others had been taken hostage.
>On several occasions, heavily armed National Guardsmen arrived at 
>sporting events or concerts I attended. Once my friends and I were 
>detained by a guardsman armed with a machine gun. In each case my 
>only resort was prayer. I was afraid. Students had been killed only 
>a few hundred miles away. I would pray mightily that the God of love 
>would love us and keep us all safe. We quietly extracted ourselves 
>from each circumstance without incident.
>These experiences caused me to respect in a profound way the 
>tremendous moral courage and spiritual conviction of 
>African-Americans during the '50s and '60s. And even more to realize 
>the elements of divinity that Martin Luther King expressed in his 
>daily walk and life. He practiced Jesus' teaching as a powerful 
>force in the modern world. As he said in 1957, "I am convinced that 
>love is the most durable power in the world.... love is an absolute 
>necessity for the survival of our civilization. To return hate for 
>hate does nothing but intensify the existence of evil in the 
>universe. Someone must have sense enough and religion enough to cut 
>off the chain of hate and evil, and this can only be done through 
>full quotation.
>Today Jesus' message as practiced by Martin Luther King is just as 
>needed as ever. There is hatred in the world. Armed groups are 
>taking power through violence and the threat of violence. Fear, 
>prejudice, injustice, and slavery still exist. Expressing divine 
>Love is the only way to permanently remove these evils. As we 
>celebrate Martin Luther King's life, let's rekindle a conviction in 
>the power of love to reverse hatred and restore justice.
>                              Tom Coyner
>          Home Tel: 82-2-764-8387; Fax: 82-2-747-7653
>              Home Email: coyner at netsgo.com
>                      Mobile 82-11-9099-6195
>          Home Web: http://www2.gol.com/users/coynerhm
>The power of the weak lies in a people's acceptance of suffering.
>The weakness of the strong is that a disproportionate use of
>force against the weak eventually corrupts their own society.
>  - William Pfaff
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