Tuesday, November 25, 2014

And my daily neighborhood alert starts off with this headline: Members of a troubled Uni­versity of Arizona fraternity shouted an anti-Jewish slur and 'Heil Hitler' when they recently kicked down an apartment door and roughed up Jewish students inside

The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and will save those whose spirits are crushed. Psalm 34:18

And really, even though I was such a nice girl whose favorite book was To Kill a Mockingbird and who was in the first stream of white middle school kids bussed into McMinnville City School buried in the middle of the black shanty part of town and who drank from the brand new aluminum chilled water fountains standing next to the rust-stained white porcelain spigots with-barely-any-water-trickling-out labeled “colored” with paper signs and duct tape and who even roller-skated with a black boy at the school dance once, I never really even edged into seeing until a few years ago when I stood next  to some kiddos and parents and their teachers in a school parking lot at South Sixth and Drexel Road and wept.

And I forget what the kid did, whether he shoplifted from the Circle K or talked back to the janitor or had drugs in his backpack, but I sure saw what happened afterwards. And he was silently hunched and handcuffed and still the cop would not let up, but kept shoving him against the patrol car and kept yelling in his face and then the girlfriend came running up crying and she got shoved and yanked and cuffed we all watched. We watched and I knew that this was systematic injustice and degradation and that this was a lecture in a long series of lectures for all of my kiddos standing there and their mothers and fathers who already knew what is what. A public service announcement about the way things work here in America, land of the free.

And I saw it again and again, once I crossed over the invisible line that runs down 22nd Street in Tucson. And I don’t care how many cops are my friends and how kind they are and sacrificial and willing to step into danger for community safety, I know that there is systemic injustice and degradation.

And I hear Pastor Leonce Crump’s prayer and plea…I want to believe that you will rise to our aid, and that you would agree that a silent Christian who avoids applying the gospel to issues of injustice—though those issues may be uneasy, unclear or politicized—upholds the very structures that purport and perpetuate injustice.

And once again I marvel over the world net, tossed over all humanity and pulling us in together. There are some good words that two or three of us gathered together can share in the presence of the Almighty.

Defender of the weak, open our eyes to the poor and marginalized in our midst. Teach us to not just to serve the poor, but to see the poor. And may we too become poor, as you became poor, that we all might be filled with the riches of heaven. –Jeff Hanaan

Yeah, the world needs peacemakers tonight, Lord, who let the broken bits of our heart fill in all the cracked pieces & places in the world. The world needs prayer warriors who don’t see prayer as the least we can do but the most we can do — and then literally get down on their knees & pray us through. The world needs us to belong to each other, to hear each other, to hurt with each other, to be kind to one another. Kindle us with kindness, Lord, keep us with kindness, kiss us with kindness. Please, resurrect us all with a courageous kindness that heals wounds with a Brave Love. –Ann Voskamp

An article in Christianity Today quotes Crump’s blog: I am 6’5”. I weigh 270 pounds. I’ve been called imposing. The police have stopped me, both walking and driving, nearly once a year since I was 15 years old. Though I have been asked to leave my vehicle, thrown to the ground and against my vehicle, interrogated, frisked, and cuffed on these occasions, I’ve not been cited. Not once.

Until you feel the humiliation of this moment, particularly as a “decent, civilized, educated black,”—Yes, that’s an actual quote of how someone referred to me once, behind my back of course—then you cannot say that it is an anomaly. You cannot say that someone was “just doing his or her job.”

Beyond the problem of racism, we must see the pain that injustice inflicts.

And Ed Stetzer finishes it up: So, we must acknowledge our faults, confess our sins, repent to those we harm, and seek reconciliation in the grace of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Listen, understand, acknowledge, and come along the side of those who are hurting, bearing their burdens in love. Might we love in such a way that others see the unconditional love of Jesus.

In our system of justice, the law has spoken. Officer Wilson will not be charged by this grand jury, yet I hurt for the family of Michael Brown and for many others hurting in the African American community. And, coming from a family of NYC police and civil servants, I pray for the police there, including Officer Wilson and his family.

There are no winners here.

Now, this moment will pass. This case will fade. Yet, real issues still remain.

For many, this is about an incident. Yet, for many African Americans, it's about a system. It's worth listening to why people are responding differently to the situation in Ferguson.

That's what I hope to remind us (including myself) of today.

And this morning I can thank God for my already broken heart, very tender and gentle in it tenderness. For our hearts must break, because our Savior’s heart breaks as he stands on the overlooking hill, longing to gather us up in His extended arms.

And we must join the chainbreakers and peacemakers. And those who pray.

A literally get down on my knees prayer.