A black man dies in police custody, part of a city is looted and burned, threats on one side, hand-wringing on another, and it's enough to make you want to emigrate to Mars.
Can't we all just get along?
No, we can't. We never did, and we never will.
But it does not mean that we don't have to try, and as Christians, our mandate is very clear.
No, not to change society. You can't mandate bigotry into oblivion. Flags and slogans can't be legislated away, because they're of the psyche.
Not to make a public confession (if we're white) of 'white privilege', because it's a shibboleth...you can't know the meaning because you can't know the other side, what it feels like to be black...and no amount of reading books by black (or Asian, or Muslim, or whatever) authors can tell you.
That road just leads to the same old place...us and them. "Oh, those poor people."
We have to change our own hearts, which is a big enough job for an entire lifetime.
Quick, an experiment...how many times have you seen a photograph of someone involved in a crime, and said to yourself, "Yes, one of them. Of course."
The face is black, or it is white. The body wears a tank top or a police uniform.
But there's your reaction, and there you go.
It's like looking at a woman with lust in your heart; adultery's already happened.
And when you look with dismissal in your heart, you have murdered a soul.
We cannot presume to know
what happened on that day;
we see what the pictures show,
we hear what people say,
but you and I, we were not there,
and thus we cannnot judge,
but we cannot fail to care,
and must not begrudge
compassion for the ruined lives,
for those now bereft,
parents, children, friends, and wives,
whose joy has been eclipsed
by the darkling ignorance
of hatred, fear, and violence.
Music from Tom Lehrer, with National Brotherhood Week. The 'Sheriff Clarke' in the first stanza was Jim Clarke, sheriff of Dallas County, Alabama, in which Selma is located; Clarke gained noteriety by opposing civil rights protestors in Selma in the 1960s.
With the world having gone mad, it seems gauche to speak of my own problems, but suffice it to say that the situation has become unspeakable, with intractable pin and nausea, and vomiting and the runs to beat the band. Tumours like tennis balls in the neck and chest and abdomen, and they really do hurt. Could be worse. I could be slow, soft, and ugly.
I do try to answer each comment in a timely fashion, but with Internet providers really stretched, I have only about half of the access I once did. Please bear with me!
Thanks to Carol Ashby, Blessed Are The Pure Of Heart is back on Kindle, and will be available in paperback soon.