We can blame inanimate objects all we want, the real issue is the human heart. That doesn't mean guns and knives shouldn't be regulated, it just means we're shooting at the wrong target.
Some Americans worship at the altar of firearms - acolytes of Smith and Wesson and Remington. On the flip side, many choose to ignore the lessons of history while marginalizing the foundational documents of our country. Both are misguided and ill-focused.
The proper God-designed expression of our sexuality has been, for the most part, tossed to the wayside. We’ve drifted like a boat unmoored from the dock into a riptide of dangerous waters.
You can put a Maserati emblem on a Ford, but you're still stuck with a Ford.
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.
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.
Facing a terrible, seemingly insurmountable ordeal? This too can be a great blessing.
I’m always on the look out for writing topics. That’s why the parenthetical title of this blog is, All Who Wander Are Not Lost. In my “wandering” I’m always looking for things of this world and connections to the internal or spiritual. Often those revelations serendipitously appear like an ice cube down the back on a hot August day - very startling yet amazingly refreshing. Most of the time, they’re subtle and shy, slow to develop and emerge. I had two ideas brewing for this week’s post. One was on Sabbath and the other focused on my dog, Winston. However, what I’m about to share is the proverbial ice cube on the spine.
I'm part of a speaking cluster meeting every month since January. At gatherings, a guest presents techniques to improve our public pitches. Then, after lunch - today we were allocated a mere 13 minutes - we circle up listening to just a few in the group for 5-minute rotations. Today started off with a curve ball. Instead of 5 minutes and prep time, we’d have a minute-and-a-half to tell a story from our life, extemporaneously.
A good friend went first and did wonderfully relaying a story about his wife and kids. Next, Andrew went and spoke about The Boston Red somebodies or other. It was good, but not New York Yankee good. Somewhere in the pit of my soul, I knew I was next and, sure enough, Dave the Moderator, came through. And of all the things I could’ve talked about, I chose a rather heavy topic.
About two years ago, actually it was August 4, 2015, my wife and I walked, hand-in-hand, out of the hospital towards our car, in complete silence. I don’t remember much other than beelining to the vehicle. I opened her door - in silence. Inserting the key into the ignition, I started the engine and we drove out of the parking lot - in silence. We weren’t too far down the road when I spoke to Kris with a raspy voice. “Well, I guess if, ‘we can be pregnant,' then ‘we can have cancer.’” Silence...
No, no, we’re good people!
We cannot turn a blind eye to the needs of the refugee, just as a firefighter won’t ignore the dispatch tones. But we must do it with wisdom, so we can live to rescue another day.
Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
You may not agree with the Pledge of Allegiance, but it contains a truth that many Americans learned in Kindergarten, we are a Republic.