29 May The World is Just a Hard Place to Live Right Now
Over the last couple of months, on more than one occasion, as I’ve walked either in the front door or out of a makeshift home office with a wearied look on my face, my children have asked, “What’s wrong, Dad?”
My answer, consistently, has been this: “The world is just a hard place to live right now.”
And it is.
Added to COVID cares, economic crashing, political infighting and finger-pointing, we have, in what feels like back-to-back news cycles, the unjust and public killing of another black man, this time at the hands of Minneapolis law enforcement.
On one hand, we should be, and I know we are, incredibly grateful for law enforcement: they put their lives on the line every day for our freedom, for our protection and to restrain the spread of sin in our communities, and everyone I know at Mosaic who works in law enforcement is frustrated, sad, and angered by what they see their counterparts doing. They work hard to not be that, and it grieves them when authority is misused. Law enforcement is dangerous, often thankless work, and there’s a reason why so many who work in that noble profession end up the worse for it, as the up-close view of the worst parts of humanity can grind them down.
That being said, it’s important to talk about this, and especially for those of us (like myself) who are white and are parents, to talk with each other, and with our children, about the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd (who was from Houston, and friends with a couple here at Mosaic, so his death hits closer to home than you know).
Here are some talking points we have used with our children, and for those of us unfamiliar with how to speak about it with friends and family when it comes up:
– no one deserves to be treated like that
– if that were you, I would be outraged–but the sad truth is, if that were you, this likely would not have happened to you, because you are white [if that is the case]
– no matter what he was doing when arrested, his treatment, especially while handcuffed, is unacceptable.
– we should pray for his family
– we should pray for law enforcement
– we should repent of any latent racism in our own hearts, knowing that particular sin has potentially fatal consequences
– we should ask for God’s mercy on America, which has still not acknowledged at the level it needs to, that white supremacy has marked our land and laws and dehumanizes all it touches
Those are but a few.
The truth is, this highlights all the more how challenging, and important, the work that we do at Mosaic is.
But I refuse to be afraid, or to quit. My life and ministry and family have been shaped and touched and made better by being loved by communities of color for many years now.
Like Elisha, I am learning–and I hope you are, too–to not be afraid of this work, for “there are more with us than there are against us.”
Like the writer of the Proverbs, I am learning–and I hope you are, too–to “Defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Like Ruth, I am learning, over and over again–and I hope you are, too–to say, over and over, to someone different from me, “Your people are my people, and your God, my God.”
Like Paul, I am learning–and I hope you are, too– to “mourn with those who mourn.”
But most of all, I am trying to live up to the words of Jesus, who told us that, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the children of God.”
So we should ask ourselves, in order to bring about a greater peace:
If these men were your sons, what would you do?
Church, I love each and every one of you.