What has happened this last week with the murder of George Floyd by a police officer in our nation is yet another exacerbation of the race issue within our country. And if you consider yourself not racist, know that the race issue is addressed and dealt with by people like you. Your voice and action within your own community and sphere of influence is what moves us forward!
Let me start this off by saying I could be wrong on this, and am very open to discussion, and to learning. People abhor both the violence of police brutality and the riots that lead to looting and vandalizing.
Anger on both sides is right. My personal opinion, though, before I get to my point, is that the loss of insured products or possessions over irreplaceable human life is no contest. I know what side is most important in that regard. It doesn’t make the looting right. I do not condone their behaviors, but neither will I abandon their cause. As in most elections, you take the route of what you believe is a lesser evil. You vote for the party that you believe is pointing in the direction you want to go. And in this case, I know the direction I want to go.
I have an observation, a question, and a declaration that I believe are worth considering, even if you don’t see eye to eye with me.
OBSERVATION: I have seen posts about wanting the “Black Lives Matter” group to stick to peaceful protest. I would say that if you look in the past 10 years peaceful protests from pro athletes to people marching have not yielded the justice they both desire and deserve.
Yet people want protests to continue the way that MLK led them in the 60’s. And therein lies the dilemma. The civil rights movement was “led.” And not led by an idea, but by a person.
We all know that racism is wrong. People before MLK knew that. But it was that Martin Luther King jr. stood up and led the movement. What Kaepernick and other people of platform did was great and needed, but it was momentary on their part. Leading involves speaking, but speaking is not always leading. What MLK did was lead consistently and constantly at the forefront of the movement.
What made him so successful in staying true to gaining justice without violence was that he knew and so embodied the person of Jesus as he led. Martin Luther King jr. was a pastor. He saw the injustices of America towards the black community and so from a faith conviction used his voice powerfully to call for greater freedoms, and to hold white oppressors more accountable. But he did not just lead with his voice, he was the head of the march. He was arrested multiple times, received death threats daily against himself and his family. Yet he would not back down. There was no political agenda that could sway him to abandon or even compromise on the civil rights issue.
QUESTION: Who are the leaders with platform and influence to be a consistent and constant voice for this cause? One who holds the values of Jesus like MLK, to not compromise position over public opinions, and to not respond eye for an eye, evil for evil, hate for hate. One who looks to bless those who curse, and to be taken advantage of time and time again without responding maliciously. Who is it? Maybe it’s you. Maybe it’s me. One thing is certain, which leads me to:
DECLARATION: Without these kinds of leaders rising up we will see more of the same, and possibly (most likely) at greater levels. People are getting tired, and when you get tired, you get cranky. And when you’re cranky, you tend to do things that you wouldn’t normally do. From having a long and hard day leading to snapping at a loved one, or having decades of unjustified murders by authorities leading to setting fire to buildings.
Bottom line, If we want a Christlike solution and justice for “Black Lives Matter” then we need the Christlike people (black, indigenous, white, latino, hispanic, asian) at the forefront, not only in posts and memes, but in action. You don’t tell people to peacefully protest unless you’re going to get out there and peacefully protest!
In a similar way, telling my kids to “stop crying” rarely results in the end of tears. But when I get on their level, hold them, love them, then the desired result always comes. Sometimes instantly, other times after a moment of sitting with them in their pain. Please be with people in their pain. Like Christ, love people in their brokenness and show them how to walk towards their desired outcome.
As a pastor at Mosaic Community Church in Englewood CO. I regularly and intentionally strive to position myself to come along those who have been marginalized by poverty, homelessness, addiction, mental illness and other issues. My desire is to live the gospel in all aspects of life within our community. I believe as we each do as Jesus did on a local level we will see change on a national one! I hope that you join me in this endeavor to meet the brokenness in our own communities.
Blessings to all!