KINGíS VISION STILL WORK IN PROGRESS
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.ís vision was not to remove segregation, but to create integration, a "true brotherhood," according to Daniel Hughes, speaker at the Jan. 17 Bluffton University Forum.
"Is it possible? I donít know. That story is still being written," said Hughes, a 2003 Bluffton graduate, lead pastor at The Future Church in Lima, Ohio, and discipleship pastor at Community United Methodist Church in Shawnee, Ohio. "But I know we cannot do it being comfortable."
"My hope is to encourage you, and to agitate you," added Hughes, who spoke on "Dr. King's Dream: A Clear Vision or Clearly a Nightmare."
"In general, we donít know how to interact with people who are different from usóacross the board," he said, referring to people with differing sexual identities, religious beliefs and skin tones.
He stressed that there is a difference between tolerance and acceptance. Desegregation leads to toleranceófor example, "Iím cool as long as I donít date your daughter," he saidóbut integration leads to true acceptance.
King was transformed himself during the civil rights movement, according to Hughes. At one time, King carried a gun and his house was well fortified, but he realized that he needed to lead with love. "He knew that a violent path would affect future generations," Hughes said. "Others chose violence, and the bitterness continues."
One would think it would be natural for the church to take the lead in promoting acceptance and integration as an extension of Godís love. As a pastor involved with various churches, however, Hughes said "itís not that easy."
While the "whites only" signs are gone, "we have a lot of issues that need addressed," he said. He spoke of what happens when we are faced with change. Itís easy to observe, reflect and discuss, but real change comes when one steps beyond talking to planning, acting and being held accountable, he explained.
"What will the next 40 years bring?" Hughes challenged. "We are the change agents of this generation."
Bluffton public relations, 1/18/12