Black Lives Matter
I am a white man and am sure that has likely made my life easier in ways I can likely never know. That fact has made me, however, a bit reluctant to wade into the waters of the daily reality of racism that still exists and divides. My fear has been that I will likely be misunderstood on both sides.
I also have a son who serves in law enforcement. A job that is likely to take him onto the streets within the next year or two and responding to situations exactly like the ones we have become far too accustomed to seeing in recent months. I am so very proud of him, but pray daily for him that he will not become another viral video.
I feel compelled to post, as a white man and a father of a law enforcement officer and as one whose shoulder is to the plow of the Gospel, not wanting my silence to be misunderstood as well. After radical Islamic terrorist events, I find myself wondering, “Why are there so many silent Muslim leaders?” I realize now, in this situation, the shoe is on the other foot.
I saw a tweet earlier this week that reminded me that “pro-life” does not end at birth. For those of us who acknowledge that all humans are mutual image bearers of our creator with eternal souls, the defense of every life must extend beyond the womb. I have been reluctant to sign on to “Black Lives Matter” as there is some baggage with that I am uncomfortable with, and also because I am convinced that black lives matter precisely because all lives matter. But in the same way those who courageously defend the unborn with “Unborn Life Matters” there is a specific problem here that maybe is best voiced as “Black Lives Matter.”
Having forced myself to watch the videos of both shootings this week, I find myself feeling as though race likely played a role even if only subconsciously. I fully acknowledge that I do not have all the facts. I also acknowledge that I have no idea what it is like to be on those streets every day and responding to situations that could cost me my life in a moment. And finally I also acknowledge that I will be the first in line to say that we cannot predetermine what justice is in a situation like this. But I can't stop asking myself, “Why did they feel that the gun was the only appropriate tool in those moments?” And I can't help but wonder if that had been me, would those situations have turned out differently?
Jesus called his people to be peacemakers. Ultimately I believe this is a call to be peacemakers between men and God as proclaimers of the gospel of Jesus. But I think it also has to be a call to stand up and defend human life in all forms. Too many in the Church over the centuries have remained silent as injustice ran roughshod over people.
While I don't have a lot of answers here, I am determined:
to not be silent.
to examine my own heart and be unwilling to harbor any latent feelings of privilege or righteousness of my own.
to defend human life of all kinds.
to speak truth in love and find ways to build bridges not barriers.
to actively pursue empathy at whatever level I can, recognizing that there is no way for me to fully appreciate what it is like to be black.
to acknowledge that racism is real, and to listen to those who feel marginalized.
to pray for our country, our leaders, and our police to find real answers to a real problem and to avoid cheap or knee jerk solutions.
to call all of those who are followers of Christ - black or white, police or civilian - to the same.