IN FOCUS: To truly see, we must focus; and to focus means both zooming in, to examine the details, and zooming out, to appreciate the bigger picture:
HUMANITY IN FOCUS: There is something extremely visceral about watching a video of a man shot to death, which catches us off guard, and strikes us at a deeply emotional, gut level. It draws out of us our most raw, unfiltered beliefs and feelings.
COLOR IN FOCUS: For many, the death of another black man, at the hands of the very institution which once enslaved, evokes the fear and pain of hundreds of years of institutionalized oppression. Understandably, there is a deep, historic, collective anguish rising violently to the surface.
EXPERIENCE IN FOCUS: To be human means we not only experience life, but we also interpret our experience. We grow up hearing, “Experience is the best teacher,” which makes us think our main task is simply to live; to experience. The challenge, however, is to interpret honestly, and accurately. One of my favorite quotes, by Dr. Howard Hendricks says, “Experience is not the best teacher. Properly evaluated experience is the best teacher.”
RACISM IN FOCUS: Racism refuses facts. For example, some anti-Semitic countries have refused to acknowledge that the holocaust happened. Historically, in our own country, we’ve seen, at different junctures, a failure to acknowledge numerous racial inequalities and injustices, from Native Americans to African Americans. We’re presently seeing a so called “progressive” political ideology fan the flames of racism by propagating a false narrative unhinged from facts. This political agenda is manipulative; it evokes fear, incites rage, and creates more division. In short, it perpetuates racism. Charlotte burns.
FACTS IN FOCUS: We need to be honest; the facts simply do not support the false narrative that “black people are more likely to be killed by police,” and, for everyone who truly wants progress, this is a good thing! Here are facts: Harvard Professor of Economics, Roland G. Fryer Jr., an African American, conducted an in depth study, for the express purpose of empirically verifying a racial bias against black people in police shootings, but actually found no such bias, calling his research, “the most surprising result of my career.” Washington State University’s research found a “reverse racism phenomenon” when it comes to police shootings; meaning white suspects are statistically more likely to be shot than black suspects. Additionally, according to both the Department of Justice and the FBI, officers of color are three times more likely than white officers to fire their weapon, and suspects of color are 18.8 times more likely to kill a police than the other way around. In light of the facts, apart from a pervasive fallacious group mentality, how do we explain an entire BLM movement? How do we explain the destructive rioting and looting of Charlotte, including a black protester shooting another black protester, all in the name of ending police racism, on the occasion of a black officer shooting a black suspect? How?
POLICE IN FOCUS: Police work is dangerous and precarious to begin with. To blatantly dehumanize and demonize our police department, the public servants who lay their lives on the line to protect us, is unconscionable. “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.” Romans 13:3-5 Are there cases of police brutality, over reach, neglect, even murder, which need to be tried in a court of law? Absolutely. And the Bible calls for civil disobedience when the laws of man oppose the laws of God. But the axiom of truth needed in our current crisis is that the police department is a good thing, even a God-thing, given for our benefit, to preserve order and protect the citizenry, and that our response ought to be respect for authority.
GRIEVING IN FOCUS: My Memaw has dementia. She lives in a recurring state of grief over the loss of my Papaw. He died over a year ago, but every time she forgets and remembers his death, it’s as if it happened that very day; it cuts her to the heart and she immediately bursts into tears. She’s stuck in grief. Her faulty memory refuses her rest. If we don’t learn to distinguish between the racist past and a “false racist narrative” of the present, how are we going to move forward and find healing?
SYSTEMIC CAUSATION IN FOCUS: What is truly hurting the African American community at present? What is keeping the African American community from flourishing? By all means, this is the question we want to honestly approach, and work together for a real solution. What would happen if we put all the cards on the table? What cards, along with “racial inequality” need to be on the table? What would happen if we stepped back, and looked at the bigger picture? Well, maybe it’s just not time?? I can appreciate that.
THE GOSPEL IN FOCUS: The Jewish people were enslaved in Egypt for 430 years. They groaned in anguish under harsh oppression. God heard their cries, and he sent a savior, named Moses, who led them out of captivity. Jesus is the greater Moses; he came to “save his people from their sins.” Our ultimate enslavement, every one of us, is to the ruthless task master called Sin. Sin separates us from God, from those we love, from the rest of humanity, and it keeps us shackled in anger, lust, bitterness, hatred, violence, and eventually death, forever. But Jesus is here, in our midst, ready to set captives free. He hears our groans, when we cry out for redemption. Cry out today.
May our nation of nations come together to grieve, to heal, to dialogue, and to work together for a better tomorrow,…with our eyes open to truth, our hearts open to hope, and our arms open to one another.