American people need to reclaim their unity as one nation, said the Rev. Dr. Bernice A. King at Seattle Pacific’s annual Community Chapel yesterday.
Dr. King, the youngest daughter of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was greeted with a standing ovation as the service opened.
“We need to reclaim our ‘we factor,’” she said. “We do not realize that our greatness will not be found in our technological gains or militaristic superiority, but in our people.”
Audience members packed First Free Methodist Church to listen to Dr. King speak about the problems she identified in contemporary society, which are similar to those her father saw.
In his time, she said, her father saw a lack of unity in the American public.
“My father was a prophet sent by God to bring our ‘we factor’ back,” she said.
Dr. King said she believed fixing this disunity was all about perspective.
“We tend to look at things in a very individualistic view,” she said. “If we change our perspective, we can change our situation.”
She alluded to Bible verses that she said illustrated the communal nature of humanity. The first, Genesis 2:18, says that humans are not meant to be without companions.
To supplement this, Dr. King quoted John 13:35, which reads, “Your love for one another will prove to the world you are my disciples.”
The verses were meant to express the idea her father stressed: that people cannot go through life as individuals. Only through interacting with, aiding and loving others can people find success, she said.
Dr. King urged audience members to find their places in the world.
“The greatness of Martin Luther King was that he understood we are all in a circle, a circle in which we all affect each other,” she said.
In an interview after the service, Dr. King said that while she understood that people admired her father, she feels they need to become leaders themselves.
“The answer won’t be found looking for another leader of my father’s likeness,” she said. “The reality is we’ve missed the important notion of being a king.
“In a kingdom, the king is the ruler. So to be a king really means to be one who has influence.”
Dr. King said she believed the “we factor” her father so strongly — though momentarily — revived during the civil rights movement has been lost.
“[The ‘we factor’] has declined,” she said. “People have become exhausted in their individualism … over time, we shall come together again.”
During the interview, Dr. King emphasized the importance of different generations coming together.
“We can learn from one another,” she said. “There is strength and intelligence in our youth. There is wisdom and knowledge in our older generations.”
She said she believes that young people have become complacent in society, alluding to the people of Israel and the 40 years they spent waiting to enter the Promised Land.
“The followers of Moses became complacent when God told the Israelites to have faith in him,” she said.
Again, Dr. King said the solution to this complacency is the unity that existed in her father’s time.
“We need to be like the followers of King in the Montgomery churches,” she said. “We need the discipline to walk together and the focus to achieve our goals, no matter how long the journey may be. It is not about age, but mentality.”
Dr. King suggested a departure from the individualism she sees in society and a revival of the ideas her father implemented.
“The ‘we factor’ has been there from the beginning, [but] we need to revive it,” she said. “We need to avoid a self-consumed society. We need more givers and sharers than takers and keepers.”
Dr. King said that people should be other-oriented.
“We need to care more, give more, serve more, share more and love more — that is how we bring ‘we’ back,” she said.
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Title: Dr. King promotes unity in society | Author: Abdulrazakh Abdirahman | Section: News | Published Date: 2012-02-29 | Internal ID: 8076