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Worst Example of Journalism I have seen since High School!

16 Feb

Worst Example of Journalism I have seen since High School!

This article is an example of purple prose. It is an example of a tempest in a teapot. And, for those who dislike such phrases from bygone eras, it is also an example of rampant racism (or some other type of “respect of persons” as forbidden by the Bible).

Let’s list the reasons why:
1) The “crisis” seems to have started right before Jason Cosby, the Virginia Beach Director of Public Works, was sent to Afghanistan on a mandatory military deployment. I would suspect someone at the city didn’t want to hold his job until he came back (as required by the law called USERRA). So they started a trumped up process to fire him . . .
2) The “infractions” are so vague and minor (if this news article can be believed) that they would probably apply to hundreds of other employees of Virginia Beach. There is no evidence that any other employee has been gone over with a fine-toothed comb like this. It is as though Mr. Cosby were suddenly looked at under a microscope to pick apart any mistakes made during his twenty years with the city. I regard that as racism (or at least as undue scrutiny of just one person) until I see evidence that everyone else has been subjected to the same level of inquiry. Who else was followed around at Virginia Beach rec centers to see whether they actually worked out when they swiped in, for example?
3) The article does not specify, in most cases, what was done when these infractions came to light. They could have been innocent mistakes that were later made right. For example, I once grabbed my business American Express card to pay for some Christmas presents I bought while on travel. I was shopping with a friend and not paying attention. That card was the one on top in my wallet. Since I had to pay the card off anyway, after my return, it was a “no harm, no foul” situation which I brought to the attention of my supervisor. I believe many people accidentally use official credit cards to pay for things at some point in a twenty year career. It is what they do when they find that out that matters!
4) Mr. Cosby is not currently profiting from receiving city pay (only benefits like medical, which the military also offers in most cases). The first year, the city paid him the differential between his city salary and his lower Army salary, as required by law. This is, again, a common factor for all people who work a full-time job while maintaining a reserve career in the military. If people don’t like the way that works, they need to lobby to change the system, not persecute one person who is doing it as though he were doing something wrong. In this case there not only is no fire, there is no smoke!
5) The article smears a decorated veteran with a 20-year city career that was, until now, regarded as exemplary. He holds degrees from the University of North Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Georgia Tech, two of them advanced degrees. His case is making its way through the city system, with lawyers on both sides working it. Why put this case in the paper to be tried in the court of (ignorant) public opinion by many people who don’t understand the USERRA law and how it is used to get quality military personnel to serve in places like Afghanistan?
6) At best, releasing the requested freedom of information files in the paper today is meant to sell papers. At worst, it is meant to produce an online lynching of someone who is, due to the ongoing process, not allowed to talk to the press and defend himself. Ya know?

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Slippery Slope: How Private Schools and Racial Segregation Can Go Hand-in-Hand

20 Jan

Slippery Slope: How Private Schools and Racial Segregation Can Go Hand-in-Hand

A thoughtful article.

I do have to give a shoutout to my own church and its academy. I haven’t done an exact count, but the academy seems to be approximately 50% non-Caucasian, with students who are black, Asian, and Hispanic all there. And the most popular ethnic group nowadays–those beautiful kids who are of such a mixture of heritages that you couldn’t even classify them if you wanted to do so!

That, my friends, is heaven.

We are advantaged here by having the military as the great integrator. In our area, we host all five military branches. People are comfortable with those of other races because they learn to be comfortable at their government/military jobs.

I suppose a place like Jackson, Tennessee (in the article) isn’t advantaged like we are with a working environment in which people of various races get to know each other well.

But our church also reaches out to all ethnic groups and has a low enough tuition for the private school that it is more easily accessible for members of ethnic groups who might be the first in their family to consider private education. It is a sacrifice for everyone, but it is one that an increasing number of African-American, Asian, and Hispanic parents are choosing at our school . . .

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Disclaimer: I Don’t Watch “Duck Dynasty” but I Do Support the Free Exchange of Ideas

19 Dec

Disclaimer: I Don’t Watch “Duck Dynasty” but I Do Support the Free Exchange of Ideas

This post contains the Phil Robertson quote about homosexuality. It is not nearly as graphic as I thought. It is actually Biblically accurate with the first three chapters of Genesis, in which God created us male and female.

It’s the kind of thing you would say to friends, not in a national interview. So, for that reason, it is just a bit tactless.

And . . . maybe it is a bit insensitive in not acknowledging the obvious fact that gays don’t automatically feel the same desires that heterosexuals feel. But is it now a requirement for heterosexuals to always present that disclaimer when talking about the sex act? I don’t necessarily think so. God clearly created us male and female, in a complementarian way (including sexually). Again, see Genesis 1-3. I think it might be up to those who don’t live by that model to present the disclaimers. It is nice when a heterosexual remembers to do so, but I don’t see it as a requirement.

Phil Robertson’s remark was certainly acceptable within the realm of the free exchange of ideas.

The quote on the races is more disturbing to me. I can see the insensitivity there. Saying he worked with blacks in the field because he was “white trash” . . . Sounds like something out of “To Kill a Mockingbird” (and that may very well have been the culture and era in which he grew up, but he could have said what he did with more tact, as it is now 2013).

Still, should A&E have fired the lead on their most lucrative show? Only time will tell. They have the right, under free enterprise, to hire and fire whomever they want. They definitely exercised viewpoint discrimination, but that is not protected under the labor laws. You very much can be fired if the boss doesn’t like your viewpoint. It isn’t right, but it is what it is. And there are many petty people around who only want to work with people who agree with them on issues. Sometimes they are the boss.

I think maybe Paula Deen and Phil Robertson should start their own network for fallen people who realize that not everything in this world operates according to what we regard as ideal . . .

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R.I.P., Nelson Mandela!

6 Dec

R.I.P., Nelson Mandela!

Forgiveness and reconciliation are not an exact science. None of us practice these disciplines perfectly. But that does not negate the need to try.

Nelson Mandela tried to live a life of forgiveness and reconciliation.

When he got out of prison after 27 years and became South Africa’s leader, there were many who urged him to “get a pound of flesh” from the whites in South Africa to make them atone for the sin of the apartheid system and for imprisoning Mr. Mandela.

He refused those calls and tried to set up a government that would benefit all, not just one race.

He could easily have caved and tried to craft a nation where blacks were now advantaged, as they had been downtrodden before.

For his leadership in this area of forgiveness and reconciliation, I honor him today.

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Unity in Diversity, Christ’s Body the Church

29 Nov

Unity in Diversity, Christ’s Body the Church

Christena Cleveland, a young woman consulting on diversity in the church, Christ’s Body, packs a wallop with this interview with Thabiti Anyabwile, a Baptist pastor and blogger.

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Black Parenting Principles!

14 Oct

Black Parenting Principles!

A reminder from a prominent black Baptist pastor, Thabiti Anyabwile, that black parenting in the U.S. doesn’t always look exactly the same as white parenting. And he links to some classic scenes from primetime television.

He mentions a couple of crosscultural points I have needed to hear:

-When black parents seem to be harsh with their kids, historically they have looked at such techniques as preparing the kids for a world that will be harsh with them.
-When black kids “bust” on each other in the school hallway, it is not usually a sign that a fight is about to occur. It is a means of communication (side note: I think some hipster whites have learned this technique pretty well, too, judging from some white “putdown contests” I have recently heard).
-When a group of black kids seems to generate more noise out in public than a similarly sized group of white kids, that is just a cultural difference. Glaring at them will only make them think we are prejudiced. They will not suddenly realize that their noise level is inappropriate for the venue they are in, because it is a normal noise level to them. I am not sure how this one can be addressed, say in a restaurant where your group can’t hear each other’s conversation because the kids at the next table are talking at the top of their voices. After so much water over the dam racially, almost anything we will do as whites, including asking to be moved so as not to bother the other group, will probably be seen as prejudiced. We truly need to have that racial conversation in this country . . . at last.

Good post. Burying our heads in the sand over our racial issues doesn’t work anymore (hint: it never did).

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Why Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is my Hero

28 Aug

This video still makes me cry 50 years later. Makes me cry with its poignancy. Makes me cry with its promise. Makes me cry with its evocative qualities.

I am listening to it right now. “I Have a Dream . . .”

Today is the 50 year anniversary of that speech. And we still have so far to go in racial reconciliation. In basic respect and human dignity.

“Now is the time . . .”

Dr. Martin Luther King was introduced on that day as “the moral leader of our nation.” I believe that was true. I was raised to deny that, but I have come to believe it was true.
If not, who was? John F. Kennedy? Lyndon B. Johnson? Richard M. Nixon?

I am aware that Dr. King most certainly had extramarital affairs. My relatives brought that up as I was growing up as their objection to making him a hero. I say that that was a double standard.

JFK had extramarital affairs, too. Only the press turned a blind eye to his affairs as the FBI followed Dr. King around, believing him to be a possible danger to our country.

Ironically, one of JFK’s affairs has subsequently been tied to someone in the mob (not saying that he had mob ties, but just that he shared a woman with a mob boss, not cool!). Yet the FBI pursued Dr. King and ignored JFK. A total double standard.

And in all that, Dr. King continued his work for racial equality. He didn’t stop to face down the FBI, he didn’t address the rumors about his personal life, he didn’t argue that what was being done to him was a double standard. He could have done that, but he did not.

He had more important work to do, and only 39 years in which to do it before someone ended his life!

Be careful what you say when you hold up a moral standard for heroes. Only Jesus Christ qualifies for that ultimately!

Certainly not many modern politicians can claim the moral high ground of being one man married to one woman for life. Even my modern hero, Ronald Reagan, divorced and remarried.

And I refuse to get into the debate of whether it is better morally to have a series of “serial marriages” or whether it is better to remain married to one person and have affairs. The Lord defined the standard as one man and one woman for life, so it is obvious that many of our generation have fallen short of his definition.

In fact, I think if we are seeking a heroic marriage in one of our heroic leaders, we might have to go all the way back to Abraham Lincoln and his tender care, for life, of his mentally ill wife. That was a touching story, for his generation and for ours. However, no president of the modern era could ever have a mentally ill wife in the White House, under the constant scrutiny of videographers. So let’s just put Lincoln in a hero class of his own forever.

I will get back to my point, with apologies for the digression. Having been raised in the culture of the 1970’s, it is necessary for me to denounce the things I was taught about Dr. King, the things people said to try to disqualify him as a hero. It is necessary for me to address those things because some members of my generation still believe them and still repeat them. I have come to vehemently disagree with those views and with those people.

Dr. King was a hero. He was willing to be jailed for his beliefs. He personified non-violent resistance. No one could dismiss him. No one could shake him. He changed our world.

Not enough change, yet, but he changed our world in many significant ways. I believe that I owe most of my warm, easy friendships with people of all races in the Navy to Dr. King’s leadership and influence.

So watch the video. Watch the introduction where blacks and whites together, with the men all clad in suits on a sweltering August day, march arm-in-arm into Washington singing “We Shall Overcome Some Day . . .”

Watch the video and weep for our potential.

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Fiftieth Anniversary of the March on Washington

20 Aug

It is amazing to me that next week we commemorate the passing of fifty years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s great “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial. It was actually the same year JFK was assassinated, only in August, so three months earlier than the assassination (and five years before MLK Jr. himself was assassinated). Such brutal times, but such hope shone from the life of Dr. Martin Luther King (and JFK’s life, too).

Cliqueishness and Racism

25 Jul

Our biggest sin as human beings may be desiring to control others and tell them what to do.

That may also be our biggest cover-up and self-deception, because, in doing that, we have to convince ourselves that we are not only okay, but that we are experts whose advice everyone else needs.

Except . . . if we are Christians, our theology declares that we are not okay.  In fact, that is the whole point of why Jesus came . . . to make us alive from the dead.

Anything we have learned from life in Him should make us more humble and teachable, not less so. 

So none of us can claim to be the wise man or woman to whom everyone else in Christianity must look for sage advice on every situation.  

Because we all are going to be in situations sometimes where we not only need others to help us, but where we need to listen to them and learn from them, too.

The above truths underline what is wrong with any groups that practice exclusion.

One such group is an ethnic group, often referred to as a tribe.  If I am in a tribe and am being tribal, I am acting as though my ethnic group is superior to everyone else’s ethnic group.  I am acting as though my group possesses every possible skill that is in existence and has no need for those other tribes at all. 

That is the basis for racism.  Assuming that my tribe (in my case, Caucasians) was created by God to be independent of all other ethnic groups and is perfectly capable of surviving without them.

The Bible shows quite a different picture.  The first century church was clearly made up of many ethnic groups.  Paul even gives names and ethnicities of specific people, which underlines this fact.  And first century teaching clearly pointed out that the church is a body of many parts, all of which have need of one another.

Cliques are a subset within tribes.  A clique is a group that is formed with the express purpose of allowing people to feel special about belonging to that group when others do not.  It is exclusionary by definition.  

There are tons of cliques in middle school but not everyone grows up and leaves them behind.  Every once in a while, there will still be a clique around in adulthood. 

Cliques exercise control by having one or more leaders at the top who more or less dictate to everyone else what they can say or do.  Sometimes the leaders even try to control how their underlings think and feel.  

Remember our greatest sin as humans is desiring to control others and tell them what to do. Clique leaders exemplify this.

Clique members are kept in line by being reminded, explicitly or not, that they are only allowed to belong to the clique and to feel special  if they toe the party line, doing and saying what their leaders want.

Human beings exercising control over each other . . .

Sometimes racism can use the techniques of cliqueishness to control others.  This is subtle when it happens.  

A group, perhaps a political group or even a church, will include members of other races but will put implied conditions on participation.  

“You are only allowed here as long as you toe our party line, including our beliefs on race.  You have to stay in your place and act really grateful that we Caucasians are allowing you a place at the table.”

There is no true Biblical equality there.

The leaders of such a group will, by their actions, show that they still believe that Caucasians are a superior race that really doesn’t need the input of any other ethnic groups.  They will act as though they are merely tolerating the presence of the minority members in their group, instead of embracing them as the unique individuals God has created them to be.

The minority members of that group will seem, from the outside, to be warmly welcomed, yet there will be a strong undercurrent that Caucasians are running the place and anyone opposing the group leaders (almost all Caucasians, no surprise there) will be exiled.

See the difference?  God teaches racial equality in the Bible–that no one race or country has all the cookies and does not need the others.  

Man perverts that doctrine and tries to either teach that Caucasians don’t need the other races at all or that Caucasians are naturally superior to the other races and only need them a little bit.

This racism, and control of people of other races by acting condescending to them as Caucasians, exists in groups on all possible sides of the political spectrum.  

It arises from man’s innate desire to control others and tell them what to do.

And it is sin.

Is Trayvon Martin another Emmett Till or Medgar Evers?

21 Jul

The reaction to the George Zimmerman verdict continues apace.

After five days the President weighed in with a statement that seemed as though it was based on opinion polls demanding that the president say something.  Here is one quote from our local paper:  “The president said that distrust shadows African-American men: They sometimes are closely followed when they shop at department stores; they can draw nervous stares on elevators and hear car locks clicking when they walk down the street — experiences that he said he personally felt before becoming a well-known figure.”

Three points from that quote for discussion:

1) How many of us have been followed by store detectives more than once? I have. I am a slow shopper. I compare prices, read tags, and check seams. I have been followed while comparison shopping so many times that I prefer to shop online now (that is not the only reason, but a minor one). I could claim I am being profiled as a slow shopper, but I won’t go there. Sometimes it can be the patterns of what we are doing that cause people to pay attention to us. 

2) The unease on elevators. I have that almost every time I am alone with a man on an elevator, whatever his age or race. Do African-American teens not realize that? Does the President not realize that?  African-American teens are not alone in evoking a bit of caution among women who are on an elevator.  In most altercations that take place between a man and a woman, the woman comes out on the short end of the stick due to our physical strength being, on average, less than a man’s.  We learn to be cautious when in a situation where we are alone with a male stranger.  Like on elevators.   

3) When there is the clicking car lock. I actually feel guilty when I do that to an African-American man. I don’t feel guilty when I do it to a Caucasian. But . . . I do it to both of them. When I am alone and getting into my car, I am not going to leave the door unlocked just to prove to someone that I trust him. That would be stupid. There are too many carjackings nowadays.  I am not going to leave my door unlocked just to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.  Nor are most women.

So, back to my original question.  Is Trayvon Martin another Medgar Evers?  

No.  Medgar Evers is a hero of the civil rights movement who died for his beliefs and for his actions on behalf of African-American citizens.  Trayvon Martin, whatever he was, is not a civil rights hero.  He did not take risks on behalf of anyone but himself.  That is not to negate him as a person, but just to point out the stature of Mr. Evers, who lived a much longer life and achieved a lot more.

So, is Trayvon Martin another Emmett Till?

I would say “no.”  Emmett Till was savagely murdered for whistling at a white girl.  He was stalked by people who identified him and went after him later.  

Trayvon Martin died in the midst of an altercation.  His death is sad and unfortunate, but he was not stalked in the same way as Emmett Till.  In fact, as someone somewhere has written, “Who calls 911 before stalking someone?”  It is obvious George Zimmerman did not initially intend to kill Trayvon Martin or he would not have called 911.

What went wrong after that is under dispute.  We don’t know who struck the first blow in the altercation.  Given that, I believe the jury did what they had to do in acquitting George Zimmerman.

A guilty man may have walked.  But that is the risk we run under our system of justice.  We would rather take that risk than risk incarcerating an innocent man.

Trayvon Martin had a sad, unfortunate death.  My heart hurts for his parents.  

But I disagree about him being a civil rights icon like Emmett Till or Medgar Evers.  

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This Teen is a Hero! But, Like George Zimmerman, He Made the Decision to Follow Someone . . .

20 Jul

This Teen is a Hero! But, Like George Zimmerman, He Made the Decision to Follow Someone . . .

The problem is . . . it is just too easy to be an armchair quarterback after someone else has taken action. The young man in this post made a decision to follow an older man with a child and . . . it turns out he had the right older man and the right child.

So his mission met with success.

George Zimmerman, concerned about a string of burglaries, followed a young man he didn’t recognize in his neighborhood on a dark, rainy night and . . . we know how unsuccessful that mission was.

It is so easy for us to see which person was right to follow someone and which one was not.

But can we grant that sometimes it is not so easy to see that at the time?

Now that we are calling for “stand your ground” laws to be rescinded, will it have the unintended consequence of criminalizing people who intervene in crimes or potential crimes? Will it force us into inactivity, leaving all crime-solving to the police, though they are stretched thin, lest we get in trouble for intervening?

Think about this. Think hard about it.

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This Brother in Christ Says it Much Better than I Ever Could!

18 Jul

This Brother in Christ Says it Much Better than I Ever Could!

Driving-while-black really does exist. Racial profiling, I mean.

Our church is pretty well balanced racially, so my son grew up with fellow youth group members who were black, Asian, and Hispanic. Our church’s academy won the state basketball championship several years ago with a team that had only one white member (the rest were black or Filipino). The academy’s valedictorian has been a black person for two of the last five years and a Filipino person for two more of those years. In other words, our Baptist kids are raised with racial balance.

And . . . I have held my breath as several of my son’s black male friends have grown up and learned to drive. I know the approximate income level of their parents and the fact that their cars are well cared for and nice. And . . . I wondered whether those nice Christian young men would ever be pulled over on suspicion that they had stolen a car.

Thankfully, that never happened.

And things do seem to be getting better. When I pass people who have been pulled over on the Interstate nowadays, the ratio seems to be about 50% black to 50% white. When we first moved to Virginia over 20 years ago, almost all of the traffic stops seemed to involve black people. In our city, about 20% of our inhabitants are black, so that ratio didn’t work out well, did it? It actually still doesn’t.

There is a need for a dialogue on race in our country. The mere fact that some of my fellow whites dismiss the call for a dialogue as “throwing the race card” shows that we need to have the conversation. Our hearts can be pretty hard against each other.

Tribalism is a natural part of the human condition. However, in Christ, we claim to be born again, with a supernatural aspect to our existence, as the Holy Spirit leads us to grow to be more like Christ. If we are not shedding our tribalism as we grow, we are not fulfilling our Lord’s commands and desires.

Read John 17 and the book of Ephesians. God intended for our unity with our Christian brothers and sisters everywhere to be the supernatural mark of the Holy Spirit in us. He said the world will know we are Christians by our love (I John).

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A Frank Discussion on Race, “You Go First” (Part II)

15 Jul

A Frank Discussion on Race, “You Go First” (Part II)

Quick, tell me who struck the first blow, Trayvon Martin or George Zimmerman.

If you gave me either of those names, you just showed me you are capable of selective hearing and selective judgment.

In truth, only two people ever knew the answer to that question. One of them is now dead.

All of the eyewitnesses to their altercation came out of their houses after the fighting ensued. So none of them saw the first blow being struck.

It is amazing to hear the rumors being put forth from both sides to justify their belief in a given outcome to the trial of George Zimmerman. Most of those rumors are not verifiable because they concern events that no one could have observed.

No one, including the person putting forth the rumor!

Given the lack of data, the jury did the only thing they could do. They acquitted George Zimmerman.

In the U.S., we do that. If there is reasonable doubt, we err on the side of possibly letting a guilty person walk free, rather than erring on the side of possibly incarcerating an innocent man. It is the American way.

Still, this case is heartbreaking, no matter how it is portrayed. One young man is dead; another young man will be a marked man for the rest of his life.

Two families have been changed forever.

The reason I am writing about this twice in one day is because I see the inflammatory remarks on both sides and understand that we need to have some voices of wisdom out there telling everyone to calm down.

My first post concerned the role of the church in getting the dialogue on race going (finally) instead of everyone waiting for someone else to start it. That is why we call it Christian leadership, folks!

Now my caution is to those on both sides who are stirring others up with calls for revenge. Revenge, once unleashed, is a bottomless pit.

If a black person kills a white person to avenge Trayvon Martin, that will never satisfy him. He could kill 50 white people and still feel just as much anger, if not more.

If a white person kills a black person because he has heard the racebaiters saying that black people are out to get him, he won’t stop with one person. That is the problem with the taste of blood. You get it in your mouth and you become a different person forever.

Meanwhile, people who should know better are throwing gasoline, and matches, on this fire. It is a fire that could consume a large number of our country’s young people this summer.

Don’t do that. Do not repost articles calling for avenging the death of Trayvon Martin. Do not repost conspiracy articles that say whites must take the streets back.

All of that is a recipe for disaster. We can’t bring people back after they die in a flood of overly wrought emotion.

Some of the older folks, like folks my age, who are publicizing the threats of violence being made by younger folks are going to be just as guilty as they are if violence erupts.

The Scriptures talked about loving our enemies. More than that, the Scriptures demonstrated turning enemies into friends.

That is where the racial dialogue in this country needs to head.

To the realization that God made us all in His image and we must honor that image in each other.

Amen and amen.

A Frank Discussion on Race: “You Go First!”

15 Jul

Quick, scholars, what was the cause of the only quarrel between Peter and Paul mentioned in the Scriptures?

Not to say there were not others, but we can only draw open a curtain on one of them–the one that God has seen fit to pass down to us over the ages on the pages of the book of Galatians.

So what was the cause of their quarrel? 

Additional clue:  pull up “withstood him to his face” in any search engine that utilizes the King James version of the Scriptures . . .

And see the following verse as further explanation:

Galatians 2:12, “For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision.”

Yup, that’s right.  Paul withstood Peter publicly in front of all the other Christians in Antioch due to a matter of race relations.  Namely, Peter’s hypocrisy in interacting openly with Gentile Christians before the Jewish delegation arrived from Jerusalem, but then refusing to eat with those same Gentile Christians once the Jewish delegation was there.    

Instructive, isn’t it?  

Maybe when God tells us in John 17 that the world will be won to Christ when it sees the unity of His followers, He is dead serious about that, eh?

What I see in the wake of the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case is the gaping need we have in the U.S. to have a humble, thoughtful conversation on race.  We have needed to do this for a long time.  

I think the church of Jesus Christ should lead out.  We constantly bemoan the fact that we don’t seem to have any cultural relevance anymore.  Maybe there is a good reason for that.  Maybe that reason is due to our own ability to put our heads in the sand and pretend that everything is okay when it is not. 

I have heard people who claim the name of Christ make ugly “jokes” about blacks in churches with black members, making sure they do this while they are away from those black members.  

And I have seen those who hear the “jokes” cringe but not say a word of rebuke, afraid of alienating a friend.

I have even been that person afraid to say something.  

Someone viciously verbally attacks a person made in the image of God and I stand silently by, wishing the floor would open and swallow me.

Well, Paul didn’t remain silent.  That is the one place in Scripture where he did not advocate a private conversation with an offender to straighten him out.  

Nope–he didn’t take Peter aside privately at all.  He went right in his face in front of everyone else.  I believe God included that in Scripture to show us that He values the unity of His children that much!!!  That anyone threatening it needs to be called out publicly and immediately.

Ya know?

I don’t know all of the answers about race relations, but I do know we need to start the conversation and really, humbly listen to each other.  

Nobody should have to lose a 17-year-old son to violence, whether it is white-on-black, black-on-white, or perpetrated by a member of one’s own race.  Too many parents have faced the funeral of their own child.

I don’t know who struck the first blow between Trayvon and George.  Neither do you.  We simply weren’t there.  And the jury did the only thing they could do, which was to acquit in the face of such doubt!

But if we learn anything from this trial, we should learn to honor both Trayvon and George by learning to talk to people of other races, from our heart and with sincerity.

Especially those of us who claim the name of Christ and are in His blood-bought church . . .

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