Injustice


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Jesus delivered his inaugural public sermon in a society where the Roman -Greco influences were greater than the values that the Hebrew people learned from the Hebrew Scriptures. There was a constant political struggle between the teachings of the faith community vs the values of a secular empire-minded society. BeatitudesMany of Jesus’s teachings challenged the religious leaders to embrace God’s principles vs the expedient political positions. Theses 8 Beatitudes speak directly values that God embraces in all human beings.

I do not know the history but I would like to imagine that these Beatitudes was the backdrop for Emma Lazarus who wrote the sonnet “The New Colossus” to raise money for the Statue of Liberty. In the sonnet, we find these words,

“Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The clarion call as a disciple of Jesus Christ is to be welcoming of the outsider, inviting to the outcast and hospitable to the foreigner. As Jesus was talking to the other sunkissed brothers and sisters of the first century we see the embrace of all people regardless of race, class, previous religious experience.

As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are called to be welcoming of all.  Some people have suggested that we need to be concerned of “terrorist” sneaking into the country.

Since when do the people of God make decisions and operate by fear. Fear about the “other people” is a tool that secular political communicators have used to cause division. Some Christians have embraced this principle over the scriptures that teach us in 2 Timothy 1:7

 ”For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

Bad things can happen to any of us at any time. My trust is not in a government wall of protection but in God that I will be where I am supposed to be doing the will of God and if in that moment I am to die in God’s service I will also be with God in eternity. While we are addressing the foreign terrorist we must also confront the rise of domestic terrorism and many times the underlying mental health issues that provoke their behavior.

This brings me to the specific comments that the President made concerning Hattians and Africans. Racism is America’s original sin. America’s greatest moral failing is the lack of repentance, reconciliation, and restoration of the original sin.  The effects of systemic racism impact every area of our society today from education to economics, to housing, to employment, to health care and every social institution in between. America has attempted to legislate inclusion, the valuing of diversity and move toward a post racial society. The reality there many people who still believe that there is superiority or inferiority of an individual based on the color of their skin. I agree with the New York Times opinion editorial by David Leonhardt.

“No one except Trump can know what Trump’s private thoughts or motivations are. But the public record and his behavior are now abundantly clear. Donald Trump treats black people and Latinos differe

ntly than he treats white people. And that makes him a racist.“  (https://mobile.nytimes.com/2018/01/12/opinion/trump-racist.html)

Mr. Trump’s behavior and words reflect America’s lack of repentance from its original sin. Until the hearts of men and women are transformed from believing that there is no inherent superiority, intellectual advantage or intrinsic privilege based on their “whiteness” we will find ourselves at this point again and again. This behavior is not acceptable by any bible believing disciple of Jesus Christ. Pastors who are controlled more by the power of the political empire than the Scriptures which are our authority will find it difficult to condemn the behavior and words of the President. This is one reason that the church has lost its moral authority. We can’t fight for justice and be a tool of the oppressive empire at the same time. With a collective voice the believers in Jesus Christ must speak up, speak out and no longer be silent. The drum beat for justice must crescendo into a mighty nationwide drumline that sounds a cadence that

e (more…)

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 “…a grand jury decided Monday not to indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown, the news triggered fresh confrontations between protesters and police in the tense Missouri city.” CNN

My reflections this morning begin with this excerpt from a CNN new article.  There are so many emotions right now that this is not a definitive response but an attempt to organize all of the thoughts.

  1. I pray for the Brown family because they are reliving the grief of losing their son. “Earth has no sorry that heaven cannot heal” is true but when you repeatedly tear the scab off the healing is delayed.  I pray that the family can experience peace.
  2. The brokenness of humanity is evident in every aspect of this situation. As a fully committed follower of Jesus Christ I am fully persuaded that as believers we have failed Michael Brown, Officer Darren Wilson, Jay Nixon, Benjamin Crump the violent rioters, the grand jury and the people live in the area. Too many churches are not teaching that we live by God’s grace, we are saved by God’s Grace and we move toward sanctification by Grace which begins with following Jesus.
  3. Everyone’s life matters. This situation highlights and promotes the systematic devaluation of the lives of young poor black men in the justice system in America. From Florida to Cleveland to Baltimore to Missouri there is no accountability for the killing of young poor black men. There are also is no major movements of men mentoring poor young boys, teaching entrepreneurship, championing academic achievement and involving ourselves in such a way that the masses of poor youth experience the world beyond their community in a significant way.
  4. I am in support of an economic boycott. It must be focused on companies with significant influence and power within the St. Louis area.
  • Emerson Electric
  • Express Scripts
  • Anheuser-Busch
  • Walmart
  • Monsanto
  • Charter Communications
  • A..G. Edwards
  • Boeing
  • Build –a- Bear

Walmart, Monsanto, A.G. Edwards and Charter Communications can be targeted nationwide but will require unbelievable numbers of people to participate to make a difference.

I am angry at the failure of our justice system and the racism that is still evident in America. I am profoundly frustrated with the violence perpetrated by a few as a result of the decision. I am disappointed that the African American community is more reactive than proactive at addressing the conditions of the poor.  I read somewhere (and I don’t have the reference this morning) that for every middle class AA there are five still living below the poverty line.  With this being said our middle class, educated, socially upwardly mobile, DuBois framed talented tenth have fallen short and ignored their responsibility to empower the poor.

As I said this is not the definitive response but an opportunity for me to organize my thoughts for an appropriate response.

Psalm 136

God’s Work in Creation and in History

O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the God of gods,
    for his steadfast love endures forever.
O give thanks to the Lord of lords,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;

who alone does great wonders,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
who by understanding made the heavens,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
who spread out the earth on the waters,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
who made the great lights,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
the sun to rule over the day,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;
the moon and stars to rule over the night,
    for his steadfast love endures forever;