Unjust social orders do no fall merely by appeals to the consciences of the oppressor, though such appeals may be an important element; history teaches us that they fall because a large enough number of people organize a movement powerful enough to push them down. Rarely do such revolutions emerge in a neat and morally pristine process.
The self-congratulatory popular account insists that Dr. King called on the nation to fully accept its own creed, and the walls came a-tumbling down. This conventional narrative is soothing, moving, and politically acceptable, and has only the disadvantage of bearing no resemblance to what actually happened.
In a fallen world marked by human depravity and deep-seated sin, in a world where Hitler and Stalin had recruited millions of followers to commit mass murder, love must harness power and seek justice in order to have moral meaning. Love without power remained impotent, and power without love was bankrupt.
Every minister worthy of the name has to walk the line between prophetic vision and spiritual sustenance, between telling people the comforting things they want to hear and challenging them with the difficult things they need to hear. In Oxford, Daddy began to feel as though all the members wanted him to do was to marry them and bury them and stay away from their souls.