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“Eschatological Activists”?

September 17, 2009

On days when it feels like two steps backward rather than one forward in the struggle to make a dent for a better way in this world, I really wrestle with the possibility of “success.”  Over coffee with a friend in Durham recently he used the phrase “eschatological activists.”  I like the description alot.  It tempers my desire to be motivated by the “seen” versus the “unseen.” Maybe at age 25 being an “activist” was sufficient.  But not after 25 years since full of both joys and heartaches.  I especially find the phrase powerful in the context of what Charles Marsh says of Martin Luther King in his brilliant book The Beloved Community.  Marsh describes the difficult days before King was killed.  “The world is all messed up,” said King to a Memphis crowd.  “The world is sick.  Trouble is in the land.  Confusion all around.”  Concludes Marsh of King’s deeper seeing into the nature of things:

“The righteousness of God would not transmogrify the human frame from the inside out like some inexorable and innate force.  The long arch of the universe bending toward justice extends beyond finite horizons into the eschaton. The beloved community remains broken and scattered, an eschatological hope, yet precisely a hope that intensifies rather than absolves us from responsibilities in the here and now”


3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 17, 2009 11:10 pm


  2. September 18, 2009 12:52 am

    Chris, your post sent me looking for a 1967 Martin Luther King Jr. letter I came across yesterday. You can read about it here:


  1. Cynicism and Hope» Blog Archive » “The simplest and most elusive of dreams”

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