What might not be as familiar to some is the story of MLK’s namesake, the German Martin Luther, also a priest and the father of the Protestant Reformation.
Separated by nearly 450 years, both men advocated for freedom, helping to abolish archaic ways of thinking and acting through non-violent empowerment. For the first time in history, because of Martin Luther’s translation of the Bible, the common German citizen could read this sacred book in their own language, without having to go through a priest or be educated in Latin and Greek to learn about God. Luther’s work also influenced the eventual translation into English of the King James version of the Bible.
Dr. King’s last public speech before his assassination is the famous, “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop.” In answer to the question of which age in human history he’d like to live in, he took his audience on a journey through the ages, including these specific mentions:
“…I would even go by the way that the man for whom I’m named had his habitat. And I would watch Martin Luther as he tacked his 95 theses on the door at the church in Wittenberg. But I wouldn’t stop there. I would come on up even to 1863, and watch a vacillating President by the name of Abraham Lincoln finally come to the conclusion that he had to sign the Emancipation Proclamation.”
I’ve been to that door where Luther tacked his 95 Theses and I’ve sat in the study of the Wartburg Castle in Eisenach, Germany, where he sequestered himself to translate the New Testament. Furnished with a bright jade green tiled hearth and a magnificent view of the valley below the fortress, I was awed by the sacrifices and struggles this man–and others like him–endured in the name of liberty.
In a surprise appearance at the recent Golden Globe awards, former President Bill Clinton introduced a film clip for Steven Spielberg’s movie “Lincoln.” President Clinton had this to say about the 16th president of the United States:
“President Lincoln’s struggle to abolish slavery reminds us that enduring progress is forged in a cauldron of both principle and progress. . . Every hard-fought effort to perfect our union has demanded the same combination of steely resolve and necessary compromises that Lincoln mastered to preserve the union and end slavery. We’re all here tonight because he did it.”
What is our current cauldron of principle and progress? We are on the cusp of finding new freedoms in healthcare. And as we enter this territory, it’s helpful to keep the examples of those who took a firm stand for freedom and reformation, despite custom, tradition, and time-honored systems. Individually, we may not be a Luther, an MLK, or a Lincoln, but we can each make a difference in the name of progress.
What are the signs of these times in the healthcare landscape?
- More people today are seeking integrative and complementary healthcare than ever before
- More people are looking to an approach that includes looking at their thinking–including those who recognize the benefits of prayer
- More people are saying no to more prescriptions, more tests, more surgeries and instead looking to sustainable approaches to maintaining their health
- More people are looking to ways they can personally monitor their health, rather than relying exclusively on a primary care physician
These are not only cost-saving strategies, but trends that point to the real key in unlocking caring for one’s health: starting with the mental nature of health.
Dr. Lissa Rankin stated in her latest TedTalk, “The solution is not more tests, more drugs, or more procedures . . . To be wholly healthy, you need to do more than care for your physical body. It’s also essential to be healthy in your relationships, your work life, your creative life, your spiritual life, your financial life, your environment, and your mental health.”
Mary Baker Eddy, also a pastor, religion and health-reformer in the 19th and early 20th century said, “The time for thinkers has come. Truth, independent of doctrines and time-honored systems, knocks at the portal of humanity. Contentment with the past and the cold conventionality of materialism are crumbling away” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. vii)