Tag Archives: Martin Luther King

The Details of a Radical Man

This week as I helped planned Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration services and a day of service at the church I pastor and the seminary that I attend, I found myself immersed in the details.

In those details I rediscovered that Martin Luther King, Jr. was and is a radical man.

The details tell me that during his time, Dr. King was not only radical, but also unpopular. An August 1966 Gallup Poll found that 63 percent of Americans had an unfavorable opinion of King, compared with 33 percent who viewed him favorably.

A close examination of the details of King’s positions reveal his radical unpopularity.
– King believed that America needed a “radical redistribution” of economic and political power.
– King challenged America’s class system in general, and especially its racial caste system.
– King was a strong ally of the nation’s labor union movement.

– King opposed United States militarism and imperialism, especially the country’s misadventure in Vietnam.

If the true details of Dr. King’s positions were known, would he be viewed in a positive light by 94 percent of Americans? Would his name be on schools and on street signs? Would his birthday be a national holiday?

“The true detail is that most of us have been hoodwinked to believe that Dr. King was some saint who made a great speech that moved the white man, to pass a law in ’64 to give those blacks folk who ain’t got a little more.” 3

However, the true detail is this, King and his agenda was much more comprehensive because it included uplifting Whites as well. King realized that White Americans were just as injured by racism and segregation as Black Americans. He understood that racial segregation was devised not only to oppress African Americans, but also to keep working-class Whites from challenging their own oppression, by letting them feel superior to Blacks.

“The Southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow,” King said from the Capitol steps in Montgomery, following the 1965 march from Selma. “And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food, that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than a black man.”

In the details of King’ radicalism I found that he was no original. King; he was radical because Jesus was a radical.

– Jesus was a radical from his humble birth, without the trappings of wealth, power and hegemony.
– Jesus was a radical for healing on the Sabbath.
– Jesus was a radical for praying, and forgiving his enemies.

Yes, the risen Jesus was a radical and King was His disciple.

In reviewing the details of my life, I realize that I am not a radical.

– I have lived a life of comfort powered by the civil rights movement, and paved with the blood of King and others.
– I have shunned difficult conversations, topics and moments so I could remain popular.
– I have not been radical because my Christian walk has been feeble, and my discipleship has been weak.

In his farewell address, President Obama said this about race, “After my election, there was talk of a post-racial America. And such a vision, however well-intended, was never realistic. Race remains a potent and often divisive force in our society.”

As an African American Pastor, race will be a major factor in my ministry. Of the various challenges that will face churches in my charge, I can be assured that race will factor in most of them.

As God’s envoy, I must be radical – not because it is the in thing to do, but because as King and many others have found out – the details of true discipleship demand it.

A Prayer for A King

Dear Heavenly Father 48 years ago on this day April 4, 1968 you called your servant the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. home as an assassin’s bullet cut him down in Memphis.

Father as go about our daily work.  We pause to thank you for this drum major for justice. We pause to thank for this champion of peace. We pause to thank you for this lamb killed on our behalf.

Heavenly Father, on this day as we reflect on Dr. King’s life, let us also keep focused on you God our creator and giver of life.  As you have given us your only son Jesus.

For it is through Jesus’s death and resurrection from the dead that we can all say with conviction and certainty: “Free at last, free at last…Thank God Almighty I am Free at Last.”


This morning it was my honor to have prayed the prayer that you just read as I joined a group of others who gather every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:30 AM (EDT) for prayer and devotion.  You are welcomed to join us the toll free number for our 10 minutes or less session is 641-715-3580. Access Code: 548874

5 Tips That Will Dramatically Improve Your Public Speaking

Public Speaker

Those of us who have the opportunity speak publicly to business groups, professional seminars and in churches are always looking for ways to improve.  Here are five ways we can dramatically improve our abilities to become a more effective public speaker.



1. Learn How To Tell Stories

From the dawn of time humans have told stories.  Stories are extremely effective; and we public Speakingrespond to stories that are written or told orally.  Stories move us; they make the complicated simple.  The ability to tell a good story can be learned. The National Association of Storytellers suggest these steps to start your journey as a storyteller:

  • Be Brief – The best stories are told with descriptive language that covers a lot of ground with few words.
  • Develop Characters – Stories are best when they are told with and about people. Don’t forget the best stories are ones that include you.  Therefore, make yourself a character in your stories.
  • End on a High Note – Some stories are engaging. Others  are filled with action or horror; and some are hilarious. Whatever the direction of your story, always end on a high note.  Give your audience something to think and laugh about; leaving them feeling that the time they spent listening to you was worthwhile.

 2.  Make Your Body A Communication Tool

young modern ballet dancer posing on white backgroundCommunication is an entire body experience.  Effective communicators understand the following:

  • Don’t be afraid to use your hands
  • Move away from the podium
  • Use your voice to bring emotion, clarity and humor to your speaking


3, Watch And Learn From Other Speakers

MLK&MikesMake it a practice to listen to other speakers; both, great and not so great.  Take notes of things that you would like or not like to incorporate.

Regardless of what you find, remember that it is important to be you.  Sure, you may love Ronald Regan’s flair, or Martin Luther King’s oratory.  However, trying to mimic them when you speak will make you look like a bad version of the real thing. Therefore, use the stuff that you learn and weave it into your style.

Remember, no one can do you better than you.

4, Write, Practice, Rewrite

writingExpert speakers will tell you that their speaking improved dramatically when they started incorporating the principals of writing, practicing and rewriting:

  • Writing – Putting your thoughts down will make any speech better. Writing allows your speech to be clear and it will make it more concise.  Writing the speech does not mean that you have to deliver your talk by reading it word for word. Actually, writing your speech will give you the ability to go “off the cuff” and deliver the remarks you have written earlier without notes.
  • Practice – The Reverend Billy Graham one of the great speakers of our time said, “Great speeches are made with greater practice”. Here are some suggestions:
  • Practice alone or with others
  • Practice in front of a mirror
  • Practice by recording your voice
  • Practice with video

Your practice will give you the information for the next step:

  •  Rewriting – Any good speech gets better when it has been reviewed and rewritten. There is a real balance between the rewrite and overwriting.   Speech perfection is not possible; while we always want to do our best there is a time when you have to put away the pen and just do the speech.

5. Join Toastmasters

If you want to become a confident, strong, and effective speaker you must have a place to Toastmasters logoregularly practice your craft.  Toastmaster is a supportive learn-by-doing environment that allows you to achieve your goals at your own pace.  Toastmaster was the launching pad for my professional speaking career.  It can be the blastoff post for what you want to do with your speaking.  Go to http://www.Toastmasters.org to start or power-up your speaking journey.

Public Speakers: Some are born most are made



Sure, you may have natural speaking ability.  However, great speakers know that there is always more to do and learn. I hope these 5 tips will help.  As all of us try to dramatically improve our speaking ability.



© 2015 Marben Bland