There’s a stereotype that we more progressive Christians tend to downplay this stuff: that our interest in Jesus is mostly about his teaching, that if we do talk about something like the resurrection it’s only to debate whether it’s historically plausible. But I’m a lot less interested in evidence for the resurrection than I am in what the thing means. And I have learned, to my surprise and delight, that it actually means more to me now than it once did—before my faith took a bit of a leftward turn.
Eboo Patel, founder of the Interfaith Youth Core, remembers Vincent Harding coming up to him at a church in Denver and suggesting that they work together. Patel declined, saying he thought the mission of his own organization didn’t mesh with Harding’s. After Harding died, Patel read his obituary and learned Harding was an unsung hero of the civil rights movement and a speechwriter for Martin Luther King Jr. Later, at an event attended by Patel and Harding’s widow Aljosie, Patel confessed that he had passed up a great opportunity. Aljosie said to Patel: “You should know that Vincent followed your work, and he loved you, and he forgives you” (OnBeing.org, June 9).