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Monday, January 18, 2010

The Same Movie on the Same Row

What do a bridge, a road, a school, and a national holiday have in common?  They all are named in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.  There is plenty of written history about this man and his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement, so I am not going to write in length about that.  He is probably most well known for his "I Have a Dream" speech, which you can watch on any number of websites and blogs today.  For instance, you can watch it here.  Today I want to briefly write something more personal in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. 

Twice this month I have gone to the movie theater, and both times I have gone to the restroom following the movie.  And both times I was deeply moved by the experience of washing my hands next to an older black man.  Not too long ago there were separate toilets, separate water fountains, separate schools, separate restaurants.  "Separate but equal" is not equal.  So this MLK Day, I am thankful to be able to wash my hands next to a black man and enjoy the same movie on the same row. 

It makes sense for people of minority races to honor and celebrate MLK Day.  It also makes sense for whites (that's me, a white guy) to honor and celebrate him.  You see, the oppressor has the false perception of feeling superior and the oppressed has the real perception (but also false) of feeling inferior; however, the oppressors' dignity is also stolen when wickedness and injustice is committed against the oppressed.  Correcting that injustice, in a way, restores the God-given dignity of both sides.

The laws have changed, but the battle of the heart continues to rage.  Praise God that he ultimately judges with righteousness, justice, and equity!  Praise God that in Christ Jesus there is "not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all" (Col. 3:9-15).  He is the one the transforms and renews our hearts and restores our brokenness.

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