Modern Day Martin Luther


Often times we think of reform in the past sense. The protestant reformation in the 16th century and  the civil rights movement of the 1960’s are both typical examples. Even the documents associated with these events have an almost sacrosanct quality. Its hard not to feel the moral and ethical force behind Luther’s 95 Theses or King’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail.

However, reform and change are historic constants. Nothing stays as it is indefinitely and unsatisfied people are always attempting reforms of organizations or traditions they find too reluctant or slow to change. Every protest, riot, angry email, or boycott is an attempt at reform.

Most attempted reforms fail, but not all. It is easy to think of protests as useless because many times these efforts fail to being about the needed or desired changes. Sometimes, however, the efforts of common people to changes the systems and traditions under which they live do work. Even the biggest, most intractable problems, organizations, and traditions can be made to change. Sometimes a simple action can create that change. What’s the modern day version of nailing 95 theses to a church door or a letter from Birmingham Jail?

Listen to this piece about one type of modern day reform. Its a little long but there’s a lot of interesting stuff wrapped up in it.


Here is your assignment. Consider the society in which you live; the groups, organizations, and businesses you or your family interact with regularly. There is bound to be something with which you are unsatisfied or you believe is in need of change. Find a contact person or address to which you might send a letter. Then write a letter to the organization politely detailing your thoughts. Explain you dissatisfaction and the reasons for it. Be sure to describe a possible improvement and suggest ways in which your change would benefit the organization you are contacting.

Submit your letter to me for review before mailing. Letters are due on Friday, March 4 and are worth 25pts. This assignment may be typed and emailed as an attachment or Google document (

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