Future Glory in Heaven and Future Justice on Earth

I planned this discussion forum for my “Orientation to Theological Studies Course” many months ago… but the topic is especially relevant this week.

One key aspect of Derek Hicks’s essay, “Eschatology in African American Theology” was the notion that for African American theologians “eschatology is woven together by thoughts of future glory in heaven and future justice on earth.” (250)  This idea is eloquently expressed by Martin Luther King Jr. when he said that, “It’s all right to talk about ‘long white robes over yonder,’ in all of its symbolism. But ultimately people want some suits and dresses and shoes to wear down here! Its alright to talk about ‘streets flowing with milk and honey,’ but God has commanded us to be concerned about the slums down here, and his children who can’t eat three square meals a day. It’s all right to talk about the new Jerusalem, but one day, God’s preacher must talk about the new New York, the new Atlanta, the new Philadelphia, the new Los Angeles, the new Memphis, Tennessee. This is what we have to do.” (247)

1) If you could categorize the eschatology expressed in Martin Luther King’s quote, how would you categorize it? Why? (I.e. consistent, realized, inaugurated?)

2) In conversation with the readings and videos, reflect upon, and defend your own understanding of the balance/tension between the already-not yet of the eschaton and how that impacts our call to ministry, service, and justice.

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