By Kate Beach
My dream consists of the idea of creation and shalom.The way things are supposed to be.No suffering. No injustice. No segregation. No unequal treatment.No abuse or children being stripped of a childhood. We choose to celebrate people’s lives that have had an affect on our nation, but the celebration needs to move beyond speakers who remind us of what someone once did.The celebration needs to move us to a place of non-complacency.
This past Martin Luther King Day I helped coordinate and celebrate the life and mission of Martin Luther King, jr.This man of God chose to say yes to the struggle of fighting non-violently, overcoming segregated odds and opposition from white clergymen to see a nation of equality and justice. As a white believer of Christ and his life’s story, I see that we are missing out on the moral of His story as well as Martin Luther King, Jr.Are we living out of the call for equality in our country and world?
“Things are different now. So often the contemporary church is a weak, ineffectual voice with an uncertain sound. So often it is an arch defender of the status quo. Par from being disturbed by the presence of the church, the power structure of the average community is consoled by the church's silent and often even vocal sanction of things as they are.” Martin Luther King, jr- excerpt from the “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
Please do not misunderstand this quote.I do love the church and although I have been a Christian for most of my life I have only recently been able to catch a glimpse of what the church should be. I have seen people who would not otherwise come together lift each other up, pray together, and come together because of a deeper common bond.
I believe this is what Dr. King’s ultimate dream was.Not only did he want people of all different colors to come together but he wanted people to come together with a common bond that transcended color, economic and educational barriers. Dr. King initially did not want the responsibility of leading the civil right movement but since he was called into that position.He was first a human being, believer in Christ, husband and father, preacher then revolutionary icon.Although we are not to be color blind, it is our Christian calling to be first identified as a human, all created in the image of God.This is the lens in which we are to view others.The way God sees us.
So if we were to be revolutionary Christians, as all Christians are supposed to be, we are to be above the influence of our culture and society.A society that still tells us that if you are born in a certain area of the world or with a certain pigment to your skin that you don’t deserve as many opportunities.If we were countering our culture, as we are called to do so, than we would be a church that would be as powerful as the early church.We would be feared for our unrelenting power of love and non-violent fight against injustice.Instead we have become a church of charity.Although generous, we must move to ask God what more we can be doing to CHANGE the way God’s children are being treated in our country and world.
“In the midst of blatant injustices inflicted upon the Negro, I have watched white churchmen stand on the sideline and mouth pious irrelevancies and sanctimonious trivialities. In the midst of a mighty struggle to rid our nation of racial and economic injustice, I have heard many ministers say: "Those are social issues, with which the gospel has no real concern.” Martin Luther King, jr- excerpt from the “Letter from Birmingham Jail”
I, too, have a dream
Kate Beach is a graduate of Messiah College with an emphasis in social work, an employee at a local faith based non profit, Charlottesville Abundant Life Ministries, and a current member of the Trinity Fellows Program.Among several passions, she longs to see the holistic redemption of communities.
Another component of the Fellows Program is a job placement in an area of personal interest where one puts the ideas, principles, and education to practice for the benefit of the common good.