I haven’t posted in a long time. I have a handful of posts bouncing around in my head, scratched out in incomplete notes, but I keep putting off writing. Nothing seemed important enough to warrant the time it takes to write in this season of moving and settling into a new house. But then, two black men were killed by police. That is beyond worthy of stopping everything else.
Alton Sterling is beyond worth the time.
Philando Castile is beyond worth the time.
I think one of the things we must do to begin dismantling white privilege is to listen first. We are so quick to speak before listening, which, in my opinion is one reason “all lives matter” is even a thing. We are not naturally good listeners. We, the privileged, are blind, and we need to allow ourselves to be shown and told what the black experience is in our country, even when it’s uncomfortable for us. So this is why, before you read my words, or even INSTEAD of reading my words, please go to these places and read, watch, and listen. Listen to black voices speak about their experience and their pain. Listen as a learner. Listen for what we can and should be doing about it.
This list is, admittedly, a pathetic beginning. If you haven’t been, please join me in searching out every avenue we can to listen to our brothers and sisters of color. We need to sit down and devote time to this. Research. Seek out people of color to follow on twitter and Facebook. Listen to friends and neighbors. Just because some of us don’t see it at first glance, that does NOT mean that systemic racism is not an insidious reality in America. Where we are unaware or asleep, we must wake up and pay attention.
And when we have listened, we must join our (unfairly weighted) voices with those who are discriminated against and CRY OUT for change. We must not stay silent, but speak out with all our might. Unapologetically. BLACK LIVES MATTER.
And while our voices are NECESSARY, they are not enough. We. Must. Act. That’s why I included that last article, because it gives practical steps for those of us who have no clue what to do. People made in the image of God will continue to be unjustly profiled and killed unless we DO something.
The other night, I finished watching “O.J.-Made in America”, the 5 part 30 for 30 documentary by ESPN. (I highly recommend it, by the way.) As I watched in renewed horror at the old Rodney King video, and the footage of police brutality in L.A., I couldn’t help but be disgusted by how far we have NOT come in America. And sure enough, a couple nights later, the sickening video of Alton Sterling appeared, and then the horrifying video of Philando Castile. It’s hard to distinguish history from current news because it just keeps repeating itself. And that SICKENS me.
I am sickened by my own lack of action. I cried hot tears as I watched the turmoil in Ferguson and Baltimore. I listened, I spoke a few things, and then I did nothing. When we look around at the world and see that it is broken, we must start with the only person we can truly control-ourselves. What is broken in me? How am I complicit in this? What attitudes, mindsets, actions or inaction on my part are contributing to this injustice? I think that’s a sensible start to implementing that whole “log/speck” principle Jesus talks about. What needs to change in me?
So now, this time, I will do something. Will I hit my knees? Absolutely. I will cry out to God for mercy, for help, for comfort for the victims’ families, and for justice for the oppressed. I will ask for wisdom. God, what is my first step? I have found that many times when we turn to God and cry out to him passionately for something, he mercifully involves us in the answer to our own prayer. When we see brokenness and heartbreak, we must allow ourselves to be moved to prayer. And then we must allow God to move us to action.
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God.
Act justly. We can’t just talk. We must act. We must love our neighbor in the way Jesus defines loving our neighbor. …More on that later. For now,