Showing Your But. It’s Not Appropriate!

No, this is not about the Kardashians or Crossfit. This is about real life and it’s going to sting. Why? Because, after reading quite a bit over the past few days I’m convinced that unless I write a tome of the size of “War and Peace,” I’m going to leave something out, and someone, somewhere will be triggered, I just know it. So, bear with me for the next 800 or so words, this isn’t exhaustive. Feel free to chime in after. Part of the answer to this massive dilemma is collective unity, across the board.

The headlines were amazingly eye catching. “Protestors Carry Torches on Virginia Campus.” I clicked the bait. Squinting at the ridiculousness of it all, I laughed! I was expecting to see “Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman” torches and a few pitchforks. But Tiki torches? “Are they serious?” I thought. Are they headed to a backyard barbecue? Horseshoes, anyone? And although I laughed, my smile quickly faded. They looked ludicrous and they were dead serious.

Let me be crystal clear; there was absolutely nothing humorous about what took place in Charlottesville, VA. Racism is wrong. White supremacy is wrong. It’s wrong, ungodly, evil and atrocious! And when we speak of racism, Naziism or anything else lessening the worth of a human being, we have to stay on point. What I mean is this: A lot of articles compared Tiki totting, white evil in Charlottesville to the Black Lives Matter groups shooting cops and burning businesses. They seemed to express that one justified the other. You can't compare, and I’ll tell you why - just hold your socks for a moment longer.

I'd thought this garbage was dead and gone, unfortunately, it isn't. This was taken at a rally in Easton, Pa, circa 1989 when I was a journalist. I didn't think this kind of thing existed, but it is alive and well - and it's evil!

There can be no “buts” in addressing racism. One group’s actions do not condone other’s.

Racism is wrong!

“But, they’re racist…”
“But, look what they did…”

It. Is. Never. Justified.

Each incident must be critiqued independently. Comparison breeds numbness and indifference, with the lesser offense, even though heinous, looking acceptable in light of the more abhorrent. So, the parade of patio flames was nefarious and every other adjective applicable in describing the walking evil. Racism is wrong. And, the demolition of public property, the pulling down of statues is wrong, brainless and ineffectual. The former doesn’t justify the latter! Nor does the greater evil absolve the lesser. No buts about it!

They showed us their “buts…” and it wasn’t appropriate!

In Kindergarten we were supposed to have learned that two wrongs don’t make a right. How far we have fallen from, “Warm cookies and milk are good for you!” Some of the most prominent political pundits fell into the trap! They showed us their “buts…” and it wasn’t appropriate!

Lastly, what I find particularly reprehensible, even more so than the slowness of leaders and the President to renounce the Charlottesville Tiki toters is this: many marching, destroying, and hating identify as Christians!

So, what you’re telling me is this: you claim to follow a man who was 1) born in the middle east, 2) was Jewish, 3) was dark skinned, 4) was a stranger in this world, 5) spoke a different language than English - unless you believe Hollywood, 6) sacrificed himself so that others could be free, 7) allowed himself to be slapped on one cheek, insulted, and then offered the perpetrator the other, 8) kept his mouth shut when he was insulted, and yet you hate someone of another color, creed or religion? You're so easily offended! You declare, “Down with hate!” while wishing the opposition dead or burned alive? Wow! We need Jesus more than ever!

Some Christians need to get saved!

Every single person will one day give an account for their actions. No one gets absolved by being compared to Adolf Hitler, Chairman Mao Zedong or Pol Pot! You are judged in the light of a perfect, holy God, not in the light of evil.

In the mean time, the only thing for evil to persist is for good people to do nothing. So…if you’re wrestling with what to do before you meet the Big Guy, here are some excellent suggestions.

  • Speak up. If you haven’t already, find a voice against racism, bigotry, and injustice. It doesn’t have to be a big voice, but it has to be a voice.
  • Listen up. Be intentional about listening to others who are different than you, and then, keep listening. Ignorance is not bliss; it’s unloving. Hint: It doesn't mean you have to agree!
  • Seek and destroy. Not others, rather, the bits and pieces of racism, bigotry, hatred and injustice existing in your own heart. And if you don’t think you have any, you haven’t searched hard enough.
  • Get leveled. Start looking at life through the correct lens. It may be “right for you” but is it right? Apparently, some believe racism is right! The only way to know truth is to seek Truth. Jesus said, “I am the way, the Truth and the life, no one gets to the Father except through me.” Forget opinions and feelings, go for Truth! Then you'll have a proper gauge for right and wrong.
  • Keep your buts to yourself. Judge and act on each situation independently. When you start comparing, you’ll give evil a foothold, and that’s all it needs to root, grow and fruit - in the most subtle of ways.
When they kept on questioning (Jesus), he straightened up and said to them, “If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.” John 8:7
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 1 John 1:8

Racism is always wrong. No buts about it!

Check out my other blogs on this issue: Eating the Elephant and America Gone Wild.

Politics and Hunting Stands.

It was a blustery afternoon. Leaves whirled across the field as I made my stealthy approach. Inching up the steel ladder, I could feel the trunk of the tree move with the gusts from the east. When I reached the top, I clung tightly to the tree with my left arm. My right hand gripped the top of the climbing stick as I gingerly placed my left foot on the metal platform, in prima ballerina style. A little weight. A little more. A bit of a push with my toe. Not sure if I would regret the next move, I swung my other leg off of the step placing all of my weight on the platform. The wind whipped and the tree swayed and my stomach tumbled inside.

I nocked an arrow, pulled my camouflage balaclava over my head and hung on tight.

Still hugging my woody friend, I clipped in my safety harness not convinced that I should. “What if the entire tree falls? I’m lashed to it!” I thought as I hoisted my bow from the ground by a cord. I sat precariously on the dilapidated cushion. My every movement was watchful and deliberate as my body countered the driving wind. The branches whipped above me. As if to inaudible music, the tree swayed and I pressed tightly against my dancing partner fearful of a misstep. I nocked an arrow, pulled my camouflage balaclava over my head and hung on tight. Thankfully, as the sun set, the wind eased and hunting was on!

Faith. It’s a funny thing, isn’t it? Over the years I’ve heard all sorts of definitions of it. Some hail it some rail it. Some feel it’s the only thing keeping us together; others see it as weak and delusional. But in that tree, as I prepared to hunt for the evening, every ounce of me was expressing faith in its biblical form. You see, to be a person of faith is far more than just picking an object and banking on it. Effective faith is rooted in historical truth and experience, much like the hunting stand. Let me explain.

First, the stand belongs to a friend. When he said I could use his setup, I didn’t have a hesitation as to how well it was installed; I knew the care he took to hunt safely. Second, the tree was alive and sturdy. No evidence of any sickness or weakness. What I was anchored to would hold. Third, I’ve been in a lot of stands over the years, each performed the way I was told it would. Overall, there were several concrete facts to support my belief that the stand wouldn’t fail:  sound installation, integrity of the structure and experience. The same is true for our spiritual life.

The faith the scriptures express is, for sure, a faith that isn’t always by sight, but it is grounded in truth and fact. In the book of Hebrews, in chapter 11 it says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” How can we be sure of things that we hope for? Well, if there’s no historical evidence to support this claim, they’re just a bunch of words, aren’t they? The extent of our sincerity has no bearing on actuality either. Very sincere people have been grossly wrong. However, if there is evidence, then we have reason to believe, to trust, to have faith! From the reliability of the biblical scriptures and the narrative they lay out to the resurrection of Jesus himself - with 500 eyewitnesses - the biblical story has significant support. When the Bible speaks of faith, it’s not suggesting a “blind faith”, believing without evidence. No, the faith of the scriptures is a faith of evidence and truth.

As people of faith, we can live with the conviction that the things we do not see are, indeed, real because of the things we have seen

As people of faith, we can live with the conviction that the things we do not see are, indeed, real because of the things we have seen. As painful as it may be for some to hear, our experiences with God play a role in substantiating our faith in God. This is one reason why Jesus spent time with his disciples; belief is pinned in experience! But, our experiences also need to take a back seat to the truths of God in the Bible. We have to be sure that the cart doesn’t overtake the horse.

So, why the “politics”? Because how and why we vote this week can display where we place our faith; consider the election as the “wind”. If you expect your life on Wednesday to hold more or less promise than the previous weeks, you may want to check where your faith is placed. The political system? Politicians and professionals? Just as gusty winds affected me, the corruption, bigotry, deception, and buffoonery of the president-elect will rock your world. Neither candidate is even close to faultless and if you can’t see that, may I suggest that you’re living by blind faith, or even bad faith - something the Bible never, ever suggests we do!

Our faith, based on truth, anchored in historical experiences, tempers the forces that threaten to instill fear and anxiety.

Our faith, based on truth, anchored in historical experiences, tempers the forces that threaten to instill fear and anxiety. Are there areas of unknown in faith? Absolutely. But it’s only in our faith that we can have any assurance of safety and security. I could have easily allowed the wind to get the better of me and forfeited the hunt altogether. We could easily vote out of fear or boycott our civic duty altogether. But we must choose to go with what we know to be true, right and godly. I’m voting on Tuesday with confidence in the truth that God, the one who revealed Himself through Jesus of Nazareth, is sovereign. And I’ll wake up on Wednesday with the same hope I had yesterday.

So, whether it’s politics or hunting stands, where do you place your faith? And, is it in something that’s secure? If so, let the winds blow, for surely they will!