Being The Dream (An Open Letter To My Secular Saint)

Dear Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.,

Today I am celebrating your birthday by signing up for Weight Watchers with my cousin b/c I read that your autopsy revealed that your internals revealed the body of a 69 year old and not a 39 year old. Health is wealth. I was introduced to a Vegan lifestyle at the age of 18. Today I shall return to it.

Tomorrow morning I will continue my celebration with a visit to my Psycholgist, because I read that by the end of your life your depression had become so severe that you carried special flask along side your personal Bible. There are somethings I have yet to work out and becoming authentic has become a passionate priority. A priority that has come even at the expense of being mis-understood by close family and friends. Yet, no one is perfect and I just want to be as present to myself and my internal rhythms as I can.

Wednesday morning my celebration in your honor reaches a vocational high point as begin a course to become a certified instructor of online theological training. This fall I am launching a certificate program on global leadership at United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio because I am convinced the best way to make your Democratic Socialist ideals "come alive" is to make radical biblically infused opportunities for clergy and lay alike. For as a new precipice for the prophetic is dawning... we must equip real people for the work of real ministry on behalf of real people with real names. A non-market based strategy that would make you proud & cause your "disciples" to shudder and shuffle.

I am going to take conclude my week-long celebration of your remarkable by taking my grandson to the Cincinnati Zoo. I took that picture on his 1st day ofschool. I have not seen him in almost month, and I miss him terribly. It has become painfully obvious to the universe how desperately your children miss you. Their pain in many ways has caused many of us who love you extraordinary consternation. I must confess that my own vocational ambitions prevented me from being the parent I could have or should have been. I have apologized to my now adult children and know that the best thing I can do is not just "do" better. It is to "be" better. I did the best I could with who I was and what I knew to do/be. I must be better. And I will. One trip to the zoo at a time.

Finally, the world seems to becoming off its axis in so many real and tangible ways, Sir. My public prayer is that this week I will not only take the inspiration of your words but the wisdom from your broken life and try to live fully into who G_d is calling me to be. Gotta go now. My 5mile walk is calling me. Thanks for your time. I know we never met, but I think about every day as if we had. I Love you.

All God's love and more
Peter Edward Matthews

Executive Director, Center For Global Renewal and Mission (United Theological Seminary)
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