Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

What happened to the dream?

“I have a dream!” As Reverend Martin Luther King, Junior spoke those words in 1963, millions around the world dared to dream with him of a better day; a day when outward differences would lose their power to divide us; a day when we could all join hands to work together, to pray together.

That dream frightened some people; on April 4, 1968, an assassin’s bullet ended Reverend King’s life. That assassination happened in Memphis, Tennessee, the hometown of Elvis Presley. Two months later, Elvis used his prodigious talent to rekindle the dream, recording the song “If I can dream,” echoing Martin Luther King’s dream of a better land where there was peace and understanding.

What happened to that dream? Why is there still so much prejudice, so much fear? Why is it still possible to say that the most segregated place in America is a church on Sunday morning? I am a Canadian; we like to say we do not have the race problem that exists south of our border. When I lived in Montreal in the 90’s maybe 5% of the city’s population was black and it looked like every one of them was heading to a church on Sunday morning. And it looked like about 5% of the white population were also on their way to church. But they went to different churches, sometimes the same denominations, but different churches.

The dream is essentially a Christian dream. If it will come true anywhere, it has to happen first among Christian people. What is our problem?

I could blame the Church Growth Movement. One feature of their mission strategy was to use the marketing methods of the world to divide people into natural affinity groups and tailor the gospel message to appeal to each group. I thought the gospel was supposed to unite people, not divide them.

But the real problem is our fear of getting to know people different from us. Ignorance breeds mistrust. We have been taught what was right, and it is so plain that there is something evil about a person who does things differently. If we step out of our comfort zone and meet some of those other people, we risk the pain of having to re-examine our preconceived ideas.

It is worth the risk, and the pain. Most likely, we will find that our ideas are not quite the same as God’s ideas; our traditions have bent, not only the way we perceive other people, but the way we perceive what God is telling us in His Word.

We will not change the entire world. All God asks of us is to see our little corner of the world in a new light, the way He sees it. That is enough. It will make a difference.

2 responses to “What happened to the dream?

  1. Russell Toews December 6, 2019 at 19:03

    Hi Bob. How are things in Saskatchewan? Hey I was wondering what some of your thoughts would be on the writings of AW Tozer, Oswald Chambers and C S Lewis. A brother has been sending me quotes and and a message by Tozer. Have you read any of these mens books? Are they sound? Looking forward to hearing from you. Russell Toews

    On Fri., Dec. 6, 2019, 7:05 a.m. Flatlander Faith, wrote:

    > Bob Goodnough posted: ““I have a dream!” As Reverend Martin Luther King, > Junior spoke those words in 1963, millions around the world dared to dream > with him of a better day; a day when outward differences would lose their > power to divide us; a day when we could all join hands t” >

  2. Chester Esau December 7, 2019 at 12:37

    Good morning Bob. Uncle Paul Toews sent me your website link. I have always appreciated your thought provoking views and writing. You reminded me of the tendency we all have of making a God after our own image. It seems to me that culture and practice over time can slowly change our concept of God to fit our own thinking. Psalms 50:21 thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself. If our view of God is skewed, so will our practice be.

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