April before last my preaching group met in Birmingham. Wednesday we went to the west side of town to the Civil Rights Institute, an important institution that tells the story of the movement – connecting Birmingham’s role in the Freedom Rides in the summer of 1961, King’s arrest and letter from the Birmingham jail. We walked across the street to the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where on September 15, 1963, four members of the KKK placed sticks of dynamite under a stairwell during Sunday school, killing: Carol Denise McNair (11), Addie Mae Collins, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia Wesley were 14. A gentleman in his 70s who had grown up in the church walked us downstairs, then back up into the sanctuary. “Come and see,” he said. Come and see. We stood in silence by the stained glass window that had been blown out that day, leaned on the pulpit from which Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached, and then after that the doors swung open and children, two by two, locking arms, marched down the steps and across the street into a park where they were met with dogs and water cannons.Read more...
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What do you do when things don’t go as planned? When all of the work you have done, all of the journey you have traveled, so much time and energy invested, has to be changed? Because, as every single one of us knows, life doesn’t go according to plan. You get sick. The car breaks down. Your child breaks her arm. The project at work falls apart. You get snow when you don’t expect it and the world shuts down for a couple of days. We spend good portions of each day trying to adjust to what is handed to us.Read more...