Monday, January 19, 2009


Today our nation celebrates Martin Luther King Day. Schools, banks, and post offices are closed on this national holiday. I have heard MLK's speeches on documentaries before, but this morning I decided to read MLK's famous speech, 'I Have A Dream,' which he delivered on August 28, 1963 at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C. It is powerful!
I wasn't quite two years old at the time the speech was delivered. Strange, the only time I ever remember seeing an African-American as a child was when we visited my grandparents' farm and I didn't even go to school with any one of a different color until I reached high school and college.
My children are shocked when I tell them that. And frankly, I am shocked, too.
As an adult, though, I have many dear friends of many different races ... a word I really dislike.
I had some time to think about the term "race" and discussed it recently with an intelligent young man.
We both agreed that skin comes in an infinite array of colors. It is just our human tendency to simplify and organize that groups skin tones into white, black, brown, and so on. However, there is nothing about skin tone that makes people similar or different, besides the skin tone itself. That is why race is not a person’s skin color. Another word we discussed was the word racism. By definition, racism is the belief that a particular race is superior or inferior to another, that a person’s social and moral traits are predetermined by his or her inborn biological characteristics. Racial separatism is the belief, most of the time based on racism, that different races should remain segregated and apart from one another.
Being born and raised in the south, I am aware of the racism that still exists even after this speech was given forty something years ago. How do we, as a people get beyond this? It rears its ugly head unexpectedly and even purposely at times. I wonder if we ever will really look at a person's character instead of the color of his/her skin. Wouldn't it be interesting if we were all stricken with color-blindness. Until then, like Martin Luther King and so many others I, too have a dream. A dream that we will find that freedom in Christ.
Yes, because Christ Jesus is the only one who can set us free and deliver us from ourselves.
"...And when this happens, when we allow freedom to ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!" (Martin Luther King)

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