On Sunday, I shared with the congregation some words from an essay published shortly after the death of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in which he wrote:

We have inherited a large house, a great “world house” in which we have to live together—black and white, Easterner and Westerner, Gentile and Jew, Catholic and Protestant, Moslem and Hindu—a family unduly separated in ideas, culture an interest, who, because we can never again live apart, must learn somehow to live with each other in peace.

In 1967, MLK wrote that we now live in a “worldwide neighborhood.” He claimed that this phenomenon was the result of technology: radio, television, space travel had remade the world and demanded a new and better future of equality, freedom and justice for all.

Think back and consider all that has changed with technology since 1967. The Internet, cell phones, social media… Think about how much more we are connected today and how technology has “remade the world and demanded a new and better future.”

We have a choice as human beings:

  • We can choose that “new and better future,” and live together with respect and compassion for each other, including those who are very different from us.


  • We can choose to live apart from each other in what Dr. King called “closed tribes,” where we build walls around ourselves and create distance between “us” vs. “them” because we see differences as “evil.” By the way, Dr. King wrote of the dangers of closed tribes as the “great new problem of mankind.”

I am convinced that we must choose the former if we want to survive as human beings, because we now have the ability to destroy each other a thousand times over. We must make sure we never do that…and the only way I know of doing that is to live together with respect and compassion for each other, including those who seem to be very different from us. May God give us the grace and wisdom to do so.

It was wonderful to hear this message affirmed on Monday by the Right Rev. William E. Swing, the founder and President of the United Religions Initiative. A dozen of us from Koloa Union Church attended a gathering in honor of Dr. King, hosted by the Interfaith Roundtable of Kauai, where Rev. Swing spoke about the need to be with people of other faiths and not be afraid of those with differing beliefs. It has been a great week of celebrating similarities and differences among fellow human beings!

Aloha nui loa!

Kahu Alan Akana