How does one properly pay tribute to a man like Rev. Martin Luther King Jr? I purposely include the "Rev" because I believe that the faith of the man was far more crucial to the greatness of the man than our pop culture recognizes. In fact, his Christian faith is sometimes largely absent. That is a huge aspect of Martin Luther King Jr. to omit. Despite the controversies surrounding his doctoral plagiarism, or his low simmering rage, or even his questionable Christian theology, he had some things straight. Martin Luther King Jr was not just a good man, a brave man, or a great freedom fighter - though he was of all those things even with his faults - he was a man who saw the world with moral and spiritual lenses.
The quote in this post is one of my favorite quotes of all time, because of its enduring practicality for life. It is taken from a sermon King gave at a Baptist Church in Detroit, in February 1954. In this sermon he was addressing what he referred to as a relativistic ethic. Here is an excerpt for your edification:
“All I’m trying to say is, our world hinges on moral foundations. God has made it so! God has made the universe to be based on a moral law. So long as man disobeys it he is revolting against God. That’s what we need in the world today-people who will stand for right and goodness. It’s not enough to know the intricacies of zoology and biology. But we must know the intricacies of law. It is not enough to know that two and two makes four. But we’ve got to know somehow that it’s right to be honest and just with our brothers. It’s not enough to know all about our philosophical and mathematical disciplines. But we’ve got to know the simple disciplines, of being honest and loving and just with all humanity. If we don’t learn it, we will destroy ourselves, by the misuse of our own powers.”
Even with all of the practical organization, God-given oratorical talent, study and application of Mahatma Gandhi's peaceful resistance of injustice, Martin Luther King Jr. pointed to and preached the moral and spiritual realities of America's racism. Moral foundations and spiritual control defined the social issues of his day, and they still do.
So, what does this have to do with my writing of an allegorical epic fantasy? First of all, there doesn't need to be much for me to take the chance to thank God for Martin Luther King Jr. But I can say that The Reaper's Seed is in many ways a product of my own core beliefs, some of which I share with King. There is no reality we face that is removed from moral implications or spiritual influence. The Reaper's Seed is an epic story of the struggle between good and evil, light and dark, love and hate. Even a fantasy series has moral foundations and spiritual control.
That is why I love this quote: because of its enduring practically and truth. We've got more things to thank Martin Luther King Jr for than we can cover in one day a year, but here is at least one.