By Daltin Brock
January 15th this year marked the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as the annual holiday celebrating his life and achievements. This year, Anjaih R. Clemons, director of campus life at Southwestern, organized and planned a celebration to add to the day’s observance. Titled “What is Your Calling,” the celebration was focused on King’s contributions to our society and what they mean for all of us. The event was open to the public and approximately 40 community members were in attendance.
The event’s primary speaker was Brock Brown, pastor of Second Missionary Baptist Church in Winfield. Brown is a graduate from Southwestern and Friends University as well as a long time community member.
Throughout the presentation, Pastor Brown used the examples of King and other influential historical figures like Helen Keller to challenge the audience to know what their calling in life is, while also including verses from James and 1 Peter to include biblical perspectives. Combining these aspects, Brown created a narrative of understanding and allowing people to know how to use their calling to the benefit of others.
“It is apparent that we currently find ourselves in challenging times,” said Brown.
Brown went on to express that, while it is important to note the positive changes in society that have come about since King’s day, there is still a ways to go. There is still a disparity in wealth, resources, education and many other aspects of society. These include a failing law system as well a healthcare system that under-provides for those who cannot afford private insurance. Brown argues that these issues can only be resolved when people can be honest and self-aware.
“Address issues tactfully, truthfully and honestly,” said Brown.
Brown concluded his presentation with the parable of the pencil and the pencil maker. In this parable, the pencil maker issues five direct tasks and advice that the pencil must remember for it to reach its highest potential and effectiveness.
The tasks include the following:
- You must allow yourself to be held in someone’s hand
- Painful sharpening may occur, but they will ultimately bring out your best
- No matter what, what’s inside is the most important part of you
- You can correct almost any mistake you make
- You must always leave your mark
Brown then went on to show how these same pieces of advice apply to everyone and how it can be used to establish purposes and callings.
Following Brown’s presentation, Jeremiah Roberts led the audience in song and Benjamin Hanne, campus minister, concluded the event. The audience was then invited to participate in a group photo on stage afterwards.
Daltin Brock is a junior majoring in English. You may email him at email@example.com.