John Stonestreet & Roberto Rivera on Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy of Building Bridges Between Americans

A recent New York Times story described how the federal government shutdown was impacting a small town in Florida’s panhandle.  The story’s “angle” was that the town that overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump two years ago was now being hurt by his actions.

One woman, who works in a federal prison, told the Times that she felt let down by the president. “I thought he was going to do good things,” she said. “He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.”

Can you think of a better example of our divisions and tribalisms? The woman didn’t say, “Help who needs to be helped.” She said, “He’s not hurting the people he needs to be hurting.” And speaking of examples of divisions, the New York Times carefully crafted this story to depict these Florida folks as benighted rubes deserving of their misfortune.

Simply put, Americans view each other through the lens of tribes. Tribes are, of course, things like race, ethnicity, and especially sexual identity and gender identity. But they can also be religious, political, and even geographical tribes.

Our divisions are profound and our group identities so strong that which party you identify with can even predict which movie you think deserves an Academy Award.

So, can bridges still be built today between Americans? Before we exclaim, “No!” we might want to look at the life of Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday we commemorate today.

If you asked most Americans what Dr. King’s goals were, the most likely responses would be “desegregation” and legal equality for African-Americans. Some especially well-read people might also point to his concerns for the poor.

While these were certainly among King’s priorities, they were a means to an end for King. He was after something greater. In his own words: “The end is reconciliation; the end is redemption; the end is the creation of the beloved community.”

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Source: Christian Headlines