Ferguson and Racism In America

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You can and will find racism in every corner of our nation and this world. It goes both ways, it’s complicated, it’s difficult, and there is NOTHING easy about how this plays out in our current and historical landscape.

Racism is de-humanizing because it assumes someone is better than another. It can be based on color, class, nation, profession… racism is alive and well.

Justice is needed in Ferguson, MO… All around! One act of perceived injustice is not the reason to bring more injustice into the world. Those who advocate for justice seem to be speaking out for Michael Brown, his family, and the black community… much of the outcry I agree with, but where is the outcry for the white/black business owners who are losing their businesses forced to watch years of their hard work going down the drain?

Houses are burning, cars are burning, people’s lives are being destroyed. And yet, some cry out for justice in one area while simply saying violence is not the answer?

Justice Is Needed in Ferguson… All Around!

I get it! People like me get the benefit of the doubt… I’m a white middle class male who has never been harassed at a traffic stop or simply walking down the street. I have a privilege I didn’t earn, all because of the color of my skin… I have no idea what it’s like to be profiled because of my skin color and I sympathize with those who do. I have many friends with a variety of backgrounds, colors, and personal histories. I know their stories and the pain of judgement cast on them based on ONE thing about them or their past that does not define them!

We STILL have a race problem in this country, and followers of Jesus should care that it exists and do everything we can to see this change in our communities. However, siding with ONE segment of the community in this situation is not the answer. Injustice is happening on every side of this situation and we need to be objective in our cry for justice and our concern for others.

I’m asking people to listen and seek to understand all sides. What if Michael Brown was  your son? I can tell you first hand that losing a son is horrible… and I don’t care if you think he did something to deserve the cops attention… death and dying in NEVER something we should celebrate in an 18-year-old. It’s the end of what God calls good. It’s the end of human redemption, and it’s the end of a special community for people like Michael Brown’s parents. I have not read all of the evidence and have little faith in those in power these days to show me all of the evidence anyway, but simply put… no matter the evidence he didn’t deserve to die. Death is final and sometimes final comes to early.

On the other side… what about officer Wilson who by all accounts seems to be a pretty level-headed individual who never shot his gun before this incident? What about his life now, his family… much of the animosity he has received is leveled at him because of racism! Don’t believe me, there are plenty of people in this country who dislike any form of law enforcement and assume all kind of things about them simply because they ride in a police car and wear a uniform. They are profiled by many as being a certain kind of person and that is classic racism! Just ask Ice Cube and NWA about their song “F@$k The Police” or Ice-T’s “Cop Killer”. We have all kinds of negative slang words for police officers including, “PIG” or “The Fuzz”.

Racism is human, it’s not one color’s problem, it’s not one people groups problem… it’s a humanity problem, and it’s been around forever. We are all broken on some level and need Jesus to enter that brokenness ASAP! Even Jesus dealt with racism and classism… He was judged for seeking to end it. The Gospel of Jesus Christ by it’s very nature invades humanity and seeks to end his/her/your/my brokenness.

In the story of the good Samaritan many assume Jesus is saying we should be good to people when they are in need of help… but the story is really told because a racist lawyer in the crowd asked who his neighbor was, and Jesus tells the story to reveal that the neighbor whom the God of the universe asks us to love runs the gamut from the people we know and love easily all the way down to our enemy! The Samaritan was the enemy of the racist lawyer and his fellow Jews and Jesus confronted their racism by declaring that we are called to LOVE everyone, even your enemies… because LOVE wins.

What Is Love… Jesus said it this way in Luke 6:32-36 The Message

31-34 “Here is a simple rule of thumb for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you; then grab the initiative and do it for them! If you only love the lovable, do you expect a pat on the back? Run-of-the-mill sinners do that. If you only help those who help you, do you expect a medal? Garden-variety sinners do that. If you only give for what you hope to get out of it, do you think that’s charity? The stingiest of pawnbrokers does that.

35-36 “I tell you, love your enemies. Help and give without expecting a return. You’ll never—I promise—regret it. Live out this God-created identity the way our Father lives toward us, generously and graciously, even when we’re at our worst. Our Father is kind; you be kind.”

Whatever side you stand with, make sure you call out the racism on that side and declare like Jesus did that LOVE wins and seek to partner with him to right the wrongs. No matter how warranted we think someone’s anger or frustration, Jesus makes it clear that the gospel stretches beyond that anger and frustration and brings peace. Peace and shalom are needed in Ferguson, they are needed in America, they are needed in the world, they are needed in your backyard… make it happen and be the instrument through which change and peace come!

Christian or not, read this reality of how things are through the lens of Jesus Christ. We are all “outsiders” at some point in our lives… thank God He NEVER sees us that way and is always in pursuit of us seeking to reconcile us back to Jesus ending the spiritual race and class war.

Ephesians 2:11-18

11 Don’t forget that you Gentiles used to be outsiders. You were called “uncircumcised heathens” by the Jews, who were proud of their circumcision, even though it affected only their bodies and not their hearts. 12 In those days you were living apart from Christ. You were excluded from citizenship among the people of Israel, and you did not know the covenant promises God had made to them. You lived in this world without God and without hope. 13 But now you have been united with Christ Jesus. Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him through the blood of Christ. 14 For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us. 15 He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. 16 Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death. 17 He brought this Good News of peace to you Gentiles who were far away from him, and peace to the Jews who were near. 18 Now all of us can come to the Father through the same Holy Spirit because of what Christ has done for us.

May we all walk in the ONENESS and the true humanity that Jesus desired while declaring from the cross, “It is FINISHED”, ending the hostility once and for all that existed between God and man… ending the hostility that exists between one another! Do you want justice? Do you want peace?

Be a PEACEMAKER!

Last Thing… Ben Watson of the New Orleans Saint’s summed up the situation so well by saying,

“I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind. One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.”

Read Ben Watson’s entire post here.

Peace

Tony

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3 thoughts on “Ferguson and Racism In America

  1. Its not raciest to shoot a man who broke the law and assaulted an officer. You forgot the word “criminal” when adding adjectives to describe Brown.
    I think the people of Ferguson and around the world who are upset over the verdict are out of their minds and more importantly making a scumbag criminal the poster child for change

  2. You probably should try reading the post… I never said Wilson was a racist nor did I use adjectives to describe Brown. What I said about Brown is that 18 is too young to die, and death is not something we should celebrate. Lastly, nobody should be shot for breaking the law or assaulting someone. However, I’m not denying that Office Wilson had a very difficult decision to make and I believe him when he says he feared for his life and didn’t shoot Brown just because he felt like it.

    You are right about one thing, the process of bringing change is not going to happen through destroying Ferguson.

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