Fellow Citizen or Enemy? Cooperation or Conquest? Brother or Alien?
by Jonathan Spencer, Dry Bones Board Member
Back in April 1968, immediately following the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Robert Kennedy suspended his campaign for the Presidency and spoke passionately of the need to create community. I ran across a video of his speech recently; here is an excerpt that I’d like to share with you:
“When you teach a man to hate and fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest. We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city, but not a community.
Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. But we can perhaps remember, if only for a time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can. Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.”
As a Board Member of Dry Bones, Kennedy’s message resonates with me. At the end of the day, God’s plan for us, both individually and as a ministry, is to be an extension of God’s grace so that those around us know that they are important and that they are an integral part of the larger community around them. I am grateful for the staff and supporters of Dry Bones who work tirelessly to see this vision realized on the streets of Denver.