Monday, August 25, 2014

A Complilation of Thoughts on Ferguson

My mind has been racing these last couple of weeks.  Deep, painful thoughts.  Outrage.  Hope.  All mixed up in there.  It's been overwhelming really.  Trying to embrace the reality of what is happening in our country and how the reactions to it show how far we have to go still as a nation and as a church.  

My cry at the end of this is to read these articles.  Read what other braver, smarter, and wiser souls than I have to say about it.  These are voices worth listening to.  Perspectives worth giving credence to.  This is a discussion worth having.



A White cop, a Black kid, and a crime 

You can't have it both ways. You can't lean on statistics that claim black men are more likely to be under-educated, under-paid, or engaged in criminal activity (in order to prove they probablydeserved to be shot), and, then, not conclude that our black baby boys are being born into some kind of serious systemic disadvantage.


After a Traffic Stop, Teen Was Almost Another Dead Black Male

Alex Landau, who is African-American, was adopted by a white couple as a child and grew up in largely white, middle-class suburbs of Denver.

Still, "we never talked about race growing up," Landau tells his mother, Patsy Hathaway, on a visit to StoryCorps. "I just don't think that was ever a conversation."


"I thought that love would conquer all and skin color really didn't matter," Hathaway says. "I had to learn the really hard way when they almost killed you."



It's Time to Listen

Over the years I’ve been challenged by my white brothers and sisters to just get over this. Their refusal to attempt to see things from my ethnically different perspective is a subtle, stinging form of racism. What’s more is that it hinders true Christian unity and fellowship within the beloved body of Christ.


Is it "Goodbye Evangelicalism" or "We Join You In Your Suffering"

Around the country evangelical leaders participate in “racial reconciliation” conversations and repeatedly ask, “How can we diversify our church?” or “How can we attract more African-American members?” Why would diverse groups want to belong to an evangelicalism that does not acknowledge their diversity where it hurts when it matters? You want diversity in your membership roles? How about forgetting your membership statistics and further diversifying the picket lines and protests thronged by the disenfranchised in their just fights? We don’t want to be your statistics—whether wrongful death statistics or church membership statistics. We want a living, breathing, risk-taking brotherhood in the gospel lived out where it matters. Until evangelicalism can muster that kind of courage and abandon its privileged, “objective,” distant calls for calm and “gospel”-this or “gospel”-that, it proves itself entirely inadequate for a people who need to see Jesus through the tear gas smoke of injustice.


America in Black and White: Why So Many of Us Respond to Ferguson So Differently


White Christians trust too much their initial feelings, not realizing that feelings are shaped by understanding. I do not say that black Christians do not have the same temptation. I am speaking, however, as a white Christian preacher, trying to model ambassadorial effort. We have to understand that our instincts and knee-jerk analyses are products of our culture.

A Cops Take on Ferguson

But here are a few things that I do know. I know what it's like to walk around in a Kevlar helmet, gas mask, shield, and baton dressed in riot control gear. It’s hot, it’s frustrating, and most of the time you are just standing around waiting.  I know that Protests and Riots are not the same thing and just because someone is protesting the police does not make them a "thug".  I know that the criminals that are using this situation to loot and cause havoc should be arrested and prosecuted period.  I know that whether you are a rapper, a teacher, a nun, or a congressmen you should have the same rights. I know that if your police department continues to let the community’s questions go unanswered for days while you post armored vehicles and snipers in their neighborhoods you might not get a very positive outcome.  I know that if your unofficial departmental policy is to ignore the underlying problems in a community and never address their actual issues don't be surprised if protests become riots.


For Weary Friends

Don't let them take away your humanity. Feel. Expect. Hope. Pray. Mourn.  
Feel every emotion as it courses through your body. No apologies for feeling feelings. 
Expect America to do better, churches to do better, people to do better, police to do better, politicians to do better. Your expectations of being treated as fully human is not setting the bar too high. 
Hope for better, even as you prepare your children for a world that fears them. Hope for better even as you delete the hateful comment at the end of your post. Hope for better as you work. For this is what the ancestors taught us to do. 
Pray. Remembering a God wrapped in flesh, executed unjustly, knows your pain.

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