My first breakout session had Malcolm Gladwell facilitating a discussion between civil rights advocate and US Representative John Lewis, feminist Gloria Steinam, and a director of La Raza (didn’t catch the name, seemed like a big deal).
I have fundamental disagreements with these dialogue partners, especially Gloria Steinam, but the title of the session intrigued me: “Reaching the Tipping Point: Case Studies in Momentum and Change.”
A few highlights. The first statement came from John Lewis, who had been friend of Martin Luther King Jr., when he was asked what he would have done differently in the early days of the movement:
I wish I had spent more time studying. There were some of us that viewed non-violence as a tactic. There are others of us that viewed it as a way of life. I wish I studied more to communicate to others the true lessons of the way of life.”
Second, building on a theme of his recent New Yorker article, Gladwell asked if an act of civil disobedience could last 381 days in today’s culture. This number is significant as the number of the days it took the Montgomery bus boycotts.
Another interesting moment: at one point Malcolm asked: “Given what TFA is fighting for and the way we are doing it, where are the Republicans?” One girl (in a room of 2,000) yelled out, “Right here!” Gladwell’s point stood.
My final thoughts: the church needs to do more to show what the resurrection means. We have not dramatically and consistently given our lives to minister to the needy. We have not systematically demonstrated that we care for the poor as Christ did (but do not believe that government is the best means of helping). We have not corporately used our money and time to show that we believed the Son of God when he said “It is more blessed to give than receive.” When I hear these stories of deep conviction and the great cost it took to fight for what is right from non-Christians, I ask myself, “As an adopted child of God and recipient of the bounty of heaven, why am I not giving far more?”