I don’t understand… and I WANT to understand

Ferguson, MO is blowing up again. No indictment for the white cop who shot and killed a young unarmed black man.

As someone white, I can look at the evidence as it comes out and “analyze” it.

But the problem is obviously deeper. I want to acknowledge that.

I don’t understand enough. And I want to understand.

This video from Matt Chandler gives me some starting thoughts. He looks at Acts 10 as a text to discuss racism. He readily admits it is hard work. We tend to make steps toward a conversation, but our natural tendency, for ANY race, is to drift back toward what is familiar to us. This is hard work.

I’ve not done well with this, and it may very well be I’m going to goof this up all over again.

Beyond the “facts” of the case. Beyond the rioting that has resulted. There is a problem. 

I am going to try and listen today. But I want more than that. I want to dialogue with significant people I have followed and respect. There will be moments of rage I need to hear.

Efrem Smith has a great piece to help me get started. I would love a dialogue with him.

Rod Thomas at Political Jesus will be cranking it up soon, and I need to hear his raging voice as well. (I say “raging voice” with respect.)

This is hard work.

I cannot be afraid of the work.

Please help me.

Fearing Muslims?

Last Friday I began to see a link being passed around from an opinion piece on Charisma Magazine’s site. I didn’t have time to read it, but the reactions from it today are so strong, I went back to read it. The piece is no longer on Charisma’s site, but links can be found to cached sites and the “author’s” original site.

Rod Thomas and Brian Zahnd had strong responses and their posts have the links to the original piece as well.

Two things (among many) stood out to me reading the original piece:

1. Whatever happened to loving our “enemy”? We’ve sunk to an “eye for an eye” and forgot the words of Jesus himself.

2. The “author” uses the twist that is dangerous. He starts with the word “Islamist” then quickly switches to Muslim and equates all Muslims with radical groups like ISIS. All Muslims hate Americans. All Muslims are sworn enemies of God (meaning Christians).

This is horrifying at every level. And it is not Christ. My dearest Muslim friends abhor ISIS and it is clear ISIS doesn’t represent them any more than Westboro Baptist Church represents me and my love for Jesus.

We are not like this world. We are not following the spirit of this age. We will not meet violence with violence. Not in this irrational way. The Kingdom of God is far more powerful than visceral responses like Charisma dared to post. Let us live with transformed minds.