Martin Luther King, Jr. at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

p.kingm.003On April 19, 1961, Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered the Julius B. Gay Lecture at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. As historian Gregory A. Wills explains:

On April 19, 1961, Martin Luther King, Jr. addressed the seminary community in a packed chapel. The faculty invited King to give his address as the seminary’s Julius Brown Gay Lecturer. King challenged the seminarian that the church had a central role to play in ending segregation. The church should teach the equality of all races and the destructive character of racial segregation. It should counter the racists’ inflammatory rhetoric and assure white society that the “basic aim of the Negro is to be the white man’s brother and not his brother-in-law.” As true followers of Jesus Christ, they should be “maladjusted” to the “evils of segregation and discrimination” and lead their churches to “move out into the realm of social reform.” It was King’s familiar message, but no one missed the significance of its being given at the oldest seminary in the largely segregated Southern Baptist Convention.

On the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington, listening to King’s words at Southern Seminary brings a new sense of historical importance.

Listen to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Julius B. Gay Lecture at Southern Seminar here, and listen to his lecture to a Christian Ethics class here.

Photographs: Martin Luther King, Jr. in Alumni Chapel, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, April 19, 1961. Photographer unknown.

Source: Gregory A. Wills, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, 1859-2009 (New York, Oxford University Press, 2009) at 415.

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Don’t Just Stand There—Say Something: The Sin of Silence in a Time of Trouble [VIDEO]

Yesterday, I stood at the pulpit of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary to deliver my 21st Annual Fall Convocation Address. For me, it was a moment of great magnitude as I began a third decade as president. Here is the video of the message. Within the message, I explain the origin and urgency of the title. It is indeed a sin to remain silent in a time of trouble.

Sorry Kids: Back to School = Back to Bedtime

Sorry kids, back to school means back to bedtime. One of the odd characteristics of our time is our apparent need  for scientific verification of what we should know by simple common sense. Well, help now comes in the form of a research project undertaken by University College London. The bottom line—children with a fixed and consistent bedtime performed better on tests of cognitive ability.

As Sumathi Reddy of The Wall Street Journal reported, “Researchers at University College London found that when 3-year-olds have a regular bedtime they perform better on cognitive tests administered at age 7 than children whose bedtimes weren’t consistent. The findings represent a new twist on an expanding body of research showing that inadequate sleep in children and adolescents hurts academic performance and overall health.”

The researchers in Britain were not concerned with the amount of sleep or the time of going to bed. Their concern was the function of a consistent bedtime for children and adolescents. As they reported, having a fixed bedtime turns out to have significant cognitive advantages.

The Wall Street Journal did also report on research about the amount of sleep needed by children at different ages. As Reddy explained: “In general school-age kids—kindergarten through eighth-grade—should be getting about 10 hours of sleep, while 3- and 4-year-olds might need 11 to 13 hours, including day-time naps, said Shalini Paruthi, director of the pediatric sleep and research center at SSM Cardinal Glennon Children’s Medical Center at Saint Louis University.”

As for adolescents, research indicates that teenagers need between 8 1/2 and 9 1/4 hours on average—though many teenagers get much less sleep.

Dr. Paruthi of Saint Louis University also explained that children need about 15 minutes to transition from mental alertness to a quiet state. She recommends that parents start early with a 15 minute routine that transitions the child from wakefulness to readiness for sleep.

Of course, that is what many parents have done for years. This is the secret power of bedtime stories and the emotional closeness between parent and child as the day comes to an end. This is the perfect time for Christian parents to assure their children of God’s love and care, encourage them in the Gospel, read them a Bible story, and end with a prayer together. The gift of this kind of parental care and teaching is priceless—the perfect transition to sleep.

So, if you needed scientific research to validate your instinct about bedtime, now you have it. Sorry, kids. Bedtime matters. Handled rightly by a Christian parent, it matters even more than secular researchers can understand.

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