The Content of our Character

29 08 2013

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the “I have a dream speech” by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is unusual that we celebrate a speech… but was it the vocalization of the dream on the national level that we celebrate?  I was only 8 years old at the time and remember the response of the little piece of white America that surrounded me. Most were leery about the March on Washington, fearing violence. The speech was not as important as the racial hatred that it would spawn. I remember the racial slurs used to describe the demonstration and the belief that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr was the cause of our country’s unrest and rude awakening from the prosperity and comfort of the 1950’s. No one would claim prejudice because it was in violation to the Christian principles in which we stood, yet no one would stand up for the rights of the black (Negro) community.

As I grew into adulthood, I went through the racial sensitivity classes mandated in the military. They seemed to do more harm than good, especially among those who were already settled in their opinion of racial equality. In Bible College, racism was not one of the cardinal sins of regular preaching. No one would claim to be a respecter of persons, but then again , no one would go soul-winning into the black community or be in fellowship with a “black church”.

I have a deep respect for the dream clearly presented by the great visionary of racial justice on August 28th, 1963. I listened to it once again yesterday and wept at its truth and power. I was not taught such respect yesterday and I do not cower to political correctness today, but Dr King  is right on the money.

I am now a Baptist preacher and count him as one of my brethren in Christ. He was never afraid to make mention of the supreme rule of God or the redeeming power of the Savior. He often quoted Scripture and never left his calling as a pastor. Did he have short-comings?  Probably, we all do; I’m sure he would be the first to admit human frailties.  Is his dream a reality? Not yet, but we have come a long way. The last barriers could very well be churches and funeral homes. Will I celebrate the life and legacy of Dr. King? You can count on it.







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