Two years ago I had the privilege of sharing my ideas about the state of our religious institutions with some of the heads of these institutions, among them the Reverend Lawrence Edward Carter, Sr., Dean of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Chapel at Morehouse College. Reverend Carter proved to be an invaluable contributor to our discussion. We spoke briefly after my talk.
Last Winter, Reverend Carter sent me a letter asking whether I would be willing to be inducted into the College of Ministers and Laity at the Chapel in a ceremony to be held that Spring. Of course, he sent it to my UC Berkeley address, an address used principally by creditors and solicitors. So I missed the invitation. When I learned of it — too late — I took the (for me) highly unusual step of sending my own letter (not email) apologizing for my delinquency. Not deterred the Reverend Carter sent a second missive this Winter, this time both through the US Post and electronically. I was elated.
Tomorrow I will travel to the haunts of Saint Martin Luther King, Jr. to be honored, along with others, in the Chapel that bears his name. Cynics — among whom I am more than occasionally numbered — will say that this is simply good politics; building relationships, collaborating among institutions. Perhaps there is even some anticipation that I might be a future — I am surely not, nor could be, a present — donor. Who knows what fortunes the future might bring? But I would like to believe that this honor really has to do intimately with brothers who discover in one another’s language and demeanor a spirit that is not their own, not their’s exclusively, a calling and a mission to share that grace we all have received, building that community we all earnestly desire.
Thank you Reverend Lawrence Edward Carter, Sr. And thank you Martin Luther King, Jr.