Quick, name five hotspots in the world right now:
1) West Africa, with the ebola outbreak. Heartbreaking, too, when people who have not received an adequate education react to an epidemic by storming medical facilities and freeing quarantined people, as they did over the weekend in Monrovia, Liberia.
2) Gaza, with the violence between Palestinians and Israelis. Tension in the U.S. because we arm Israel. And Egypt, on the other side of Gaza, for that matter.
3) Iraq/Syria borderlands, where ISIS has declared itself to be a new country (IS=Islamic State) and wishes to set up a caliphate to enforce Sharia law as the law of the land. Where U.S. journalist James Foley was just beheaded on Tuesday.
4) Ukraine, with the violence between Ukrainians and Russians. Tension in the U.S. because we just convinced Eastern Europe that they no longer need our help against a Russian threat!
5) And finally, Ferguson, Missouri, where our post-racial sensibilities have surfaced again in very stereotyped reactions to what is going on. I post Pastor Thabiti Anyabwile’s latest thought piece on Ferguson, above. And I agree with it.
Remember, there was an alleged incident of an officer in New York putting a black suspect in a (prohibited) chokehold recently, with the suspect dying during that incident. Yet, New York has not erupted into protests or racial incidents. What is the difference there? How did one situation get handled in a way that was perceived as transparent by the black community and the other did not?
I don’t have many answers but I do know that we need to have the racial conversation and not just keep our heads in the sand. We aren’t talking to each other, even now in the post-racial era. We are especially not talking to each other as Christians should.
I need to be able to wrap my arms around another mother, a black mother, who has lost her son for whatever reason, and mourn with her. We all know of times when someone dies in terrible circumstances. Suicides, drug overdoses, etc. We don’t lecture mothers at those times. And we don’t do it even if it turns out that Michael Brown’s last act was stealing cigars. We just love on the grieving mother.
May we Christians have the grace to get to where we need to be as Americans together, filled with compassion and Christ’s love.