A first-hand account from Rev. Billy Kyles

- On the Balcony

Reflections on Martin Luther King, Jr.

The following audio reflections were recorded in April 2008, on the fortieth anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We offer them again this year as a tribute to Dr. King, his faith and his vision for all mankind.

Introduction by Dr. Stephen R. Haynes 
Several years ago I was asked to lead a discussion of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "Letter from Birmingham Jail" for business executives in one of my college's continuing education programs. Having taught the letter to undergraduates for years, I agreed, certain that this teaching assignment would not require much preparation.

I later learned that the program had its own curriculum that introduced a series of classic texts by relating them to the challenges faced by business people in contemporary America. A worthy goal no doubt, but one that, in King's case at least, was purchased at a steep price. For in applying the struggles of the civil rights movement to the experiences of women in corporate America, the curriculum chose to ignore the religious dimensions of King's legacy. Read More


Johnny Ray YoungbloodJOHNNY RAY YOUNGBLOOD | mp3
Named one of the “ten most influential” New Yorkers by the New Yorker magazine, Dr. Youngblood and his vision have led to the tremendous growth and extensive ministry of St. Paul in Brooklyn, NY. Born in the state of Louisiana and reared in New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, Dr. Youngblood has a strong commitment to spiritual healing, racial parity, social justice, and economic equity for all people.


Marcus Borg

With the highest of national and international credits, renowned “Jesus Scholar” and author Marcus Borg’s deep concern for God’s justice is reflected in all of his published works and lectures. His remarkable memory, love of travel, and sense of humor flavor the presentation of his groundbreaking new approaches to traditional biblical work. An extraordinarily thoughtful human being, Borg’s depth of knowledge and grasp of spirituality and religion provides much to ponder.


Micah GreensteinMICAH GREENSTEIN | mp3
Named by Memphis magazine as one of the city's most significant leaders, Rabbi Greenstein became Temple Israel's eighth Senior Rabbi on September 1, 2000, after serving Temple as Assistant and Associate Rabbi since 1991. Former President of Memphis Ministers Association, he is a board member of the National Civil Rights Museum and faculty member of Memphis Theological Seminary.



Gina StewartGINA STEWART | mp3
A model for many of women’s leadership in the Church, Gina Stewart combines a passion for the Gospel with deep sympathy for people. Her gifted and spirited preaching makes people want to jump up and praise the Lord. As the first African-American woman elected to serve as pastor of a Baptist congregation in Shelby County, Tennessee, Dr. Stewart has led the remarkable membership growth at Christ Missionary Baptist Church in Memphis. Dr. Stewart is currently enrolled at Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia, where she is pursuing a Doctor of Ministry degree.

Kenneth Robinson, M.D.KENNETH ROBINSON | mp3
With his bi-professional background of a medical degree from Harvard and a divinity degree from Vanderbilt, the Rev. Dr. Kenneth Robinson, M.D. brings unique leadership to the St. Andrew AME parish in Memphis, Tennessee, and the public sector. An innovative leader of a progressive church with many outreach programs, he was named one of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's ten outstanding community health leaders in America.



Alvin JacksonALVIN JACKSON | mp3
Dynamic former Senior Pastor of Memphis’ Mississippi Boulevard Christian Church, Dr. Jackson became Senior Pastor of Park Avenue Christian Church in 2006. When he left MBCC in 1998, it had a participating membership of over 7,800, making it the largest Disciples congregation in the U.S. and Canada. A forceful and inspiring preacher, he has provided courageous and energetic public vision and leadership for all of the congregations he has served.



Frank Thomas

In demand as a preacher, speaker, lecturer, and revivalist, Dr. Thomas, an ordained minister and pastor for 26 years, is the Senior Pastor of Mississippi Boulevard Church, Memphis. Dr. Thomas regularly shares his gift of preaching in the Master of Divinity Program at McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. His first preaching method book, They Like to Never Quit Praisin’ God: The Role of Celebration in Preaching, was printed in 1997. He also has written What’s Love Got To Do With It? Love, Power, Sex, and God: The Workbook; Spiritual Maturity: Preserving Congregational Health and Balance; and many others.


Stephen MontgomerySTEPHEN MONTGOMERY | mp3
The dynamic leader of Memphis’ largest PC(USA) congregation, Dr. Montgomery is known both for his compelling preaching and his commitment to engaging the church in “hands on” servant ministry and peacemaking initiatives. Dr. Montgomery earned a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School and a Doctor of Ministry from Georgia’s Columbia Theological Seminary. He presently serves on the boards of the Metropolitan Inter-faith Association and Columbia Seminary, and is an adjunct faculty member at Memphis Theological Seminary, where he teaches Preaching and Worship.

Recorded in Memphis, TN in the Spring of 2008.
With thanks to the Calvary Episcopal Church Lenten Preaching Series, Memphis Tennessee.