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  • Charlie Johnson

Walk Your Talk


We have a faith filled with words. The Word of God inspires and empowers us to a relationship of love with God and our fellow human beings. Adherents of Abrahamic faiths—Judaism, Christianity, and Islam—claim to be “people of the Book.” The Book of Genesis reports to us that God spoke all of Creation into being; “and God said, let there be… and there was.” The Gospel of John opens with the immortal line, “In the beginning was the Word, and Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Indeed, the Gospel of Mark, the earliest gospel, tells us at the beginning that “Jesus came preaching,” and quotes Jesus at the end to “go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.” Words are important. But, these same profound faith traditions also teach that words without subsequent action are useless. Word must become flesh in order for it to facilitate a new creation. Jesus challenges his disciples in closing his famous Sermon on the Mount that “everyone who hears these words and acts on them will be wise.” The Book of James: “Faith without works is dead,“ and “Be doers of the word and not merely hearers.” Today we celebrate the life and ministry of a great preacher, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. Every year, we commemorate his powerful life and legacy especially on this day. Leaders all over, particularly political leaders, will invoke Dr. King’s name, recite his sermons, quote his words, remember his life. But, many of them have no intention of putting any of Dr. King’s vision into action. If words aren’t followed up with action, they ring hollow. Word remaining word. Today, many political leaders give lip service to the teachings of Dr. King, but have no intention whatsoever to put those teachings into action. In fact, their policy positions often directly contradict the essential truths of those teachings. Even acts of individual charity and benevolence miss the mark of Dr. King’s purpose. We might do charitable acts of service on a day like today, which is right and good. But Dr. King did not champion mere charity; he preached justice. Instead of feeding the hungry, he fought to change the systems that resulted in hunger. He preached in a memorable sermon that it is one thing for the famous Samaritan to rescue the injured man in the ditch, but we must also address the conditions causing the attacks on the Jericho Road. PTC believes that educational equity for all children is essential to overcome systemic racism and injustice in our society. Not just good words. But, a structure that ensures those words become deeds. It is good to believe that “all people are created equal and endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” It is better to put that belief into action that dismantles our systems of injustice. And replaces them with actions that ensure quality public education for ALL Texas schoolchildren. Rev. Charles Foster Johnson, Executive Director Pastors for Texas Children

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