What if Dr. King had stated, " I Have a Complaint...?"
Once, at a national meeting of college student-services professionals, a distinguished dean of students was leading a workshop, talking of things he'd learned on the job. He was remarking on the fact that, wherever you go in American higher education, there's one gripe you're certain to hear from the student body. It's about the food in the dining hall.
As a man whose job it was to make the life of students more comfortable, the dean shared how, over the years, he had convened many university committees to improve the quality of dining-hall food. Those committees polled the student body to find out what they wanted, then made improvements. The food just got better and better. Yet, over all those years, the dean observed a strange phenomenon: the students never stopped complaining about the food.
"I have a theory of why that is," he explained to his colleagues. "When a group of students comes together from all over the country, from many different income levels and ethnic backgrounds and religious creeds, who are majoring in everything from poetry to organic chemistry, there's one topic of common interest any student can raise with any other. It's sure to get a sympathetic hearing. It's the subject of how bad the food is in the dining hall."
The food doesn't even have to be bad for students to complain about it, he went on. Because it's not about the food. It's about the deeply felt human need for community.
One of the most remarkable and quotable lines from a speech came from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." What if Dr. King would have said, "I have a complaint that my four little children are living in a nation where they are judged by the color of their skin instead of their character?" How would that have been embraced by those were white or black? We already know that almost immediately divisive sides began to form- one calling for violence to carry out their agenda (whites and blacks alike); the other calling for non-violence and dialogue...and community built on character, built on a faith belief that all are created in the image of God, and built to not only dream about changing racial understandings but addressing systemic racism. We who lived through those times saw monumental changes that seemed to be diminishing the hateful view of racism and bigotry only to question in the past two years whether it was only a "dream" — a pipe dream at that.
In a cultural and political environment in which it appears Americans have taken complaining to a whole new level, shouldn't we as people of faith have a "dream" of what could be if we looked for the need for community? I am not talking here about being a divisive community against another divisive community, but one that embraces our diversity to make a "divine difference"...Together. Is this not the vision God calls Spring Creek to embrace, dream about, and make every effort possible to fulfill? Is this not what it means to live a Christ-like faith?
This is not a naïve pollyannish ideal but what we are called to do as disciples of Jesus Christ. If our lives are to be an epic adventure journey of faith with the Wild Goose of God's leading wisdom and power, then shouldn't we all say, "We have a dream for the realm of God here on earth as in heaven, and we are going to embrace being a part of making that divine difference together?
UPCOMING SERVICES AND SERMON TOPICS
Worship is at 10:30 Sunday morning unless otherwise noted.
01/14/18 Healing and Anointing Sunday
Wild Goose Chase: Being Dreamers — Genesis 37:17b-27 (NRSV)
We need more dreamers today who dream of a new creation in Jesus Christ.
01/21/18 — Wild Goose Chase: Sometimes It Takes a Shipwreck — Acts 28:1-4 (New Living Translation)
"If you want to make God laugh, tell [God] your plans." –John Chancellor
Batterson, Mark. Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God (p. 117). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.
01/28/18 — Wild Goose Chase: Then and Now — Matthew 5:38-48 (NRSV)
"The price of our vitality is the sum of all our fears." –David Whyte
Batterson, Mark. Wild Goose Chase: Reclaim the Adventure of Pursuing God (p. 143). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.