I know that this is on my about page but just so you know. This is the opinion of JC, the owner of this website. Not the church that I love so dearly. I’m not an expert or learned enough in this area. I’m a white guy who hates what I’m seeing. I’m a youth pastor and have to find a way to talk through these issues with my students and help them find hope in Jesus. I grew up in Memphis and am well aware of racial divides but also have no idea what it feels like to be a minority other than the growing awareness that being a true, real follower of Christ that costs me reputation and resources is becoming, but isn’t quite, a minority.
I don’t desire to be a voice that people follow, because I don’t know enough and care more about reform in the issues of race than my website hits, so I will delete this post tomorrow at noon.
This Ferguson thing has frustrated me to no end. It’s frustrating for reasons that both “sides” (funny how we use words to describe things, huh.) seem to share.
But the thing that is the saddest is that we can’t find some common ground in all of this. It’s the thing that is the most frustrating.
Here are some of my observations:
One side is taking the particular situation and one side is taking the system approach
Both are true. Every situation is both an individual circumstance and also a symptom of a system. It cannot be either/or. It is both/and and this is the problem with racial issues. There are realities on both sides of the fence and there aren’t a ton of people that are willing to approach issues with humility.
A broken education system is causing major problems in major urban areas. The amount of crime in these areas with low educational achievement is way higher than other areas.
Growing up in Memphis, I know that racism is alive. It is terrible and ridiculous and if you know me there are few things that irk me more than this.
Just a few things here…
There are systematic problems and issues. Poverty and lack of education create real issues that need to be solved. It’s a problem with a broken system. The government is terrible at fixing it for much of the same reasons that this situation is so fiery. Little humility and little middle/common ground.
While there is clearly a problem with the system, you have to be ok to hold individuals accountable. My reputation matters and I should be held responsible for my individual choices. (This isn’t a condemnation of Mr. Brown, it is about the undercurrent of the race issue.) This doesn’t excuse us from trying to fix a system that is broken, but the sooner we can all own our individual junk, we can try to reach solutions.
There are crazy people that are white and crazy people that are of various other ethnicities and there are awesome, unbelievable incredible cops and there are a few (usually very few) detestable, bad cops. I personally don’t know either parties (Michael Brown or Darren Wilson) and just hurt for them and their families being used as pawns in a dialogue that is only helping newspapers and television personalities and politicians.
Few people know the whole story and it will be written by so many different people that we will not find the truth. Plus the truth is skewed by our biases and experiences. Which is an issue that might just be lost in other conversations.
We are flawed, we hate others and we do evil things.
If your perspective of God is based on yours or other’s “goodness”, I hope this will help you to re-evaluate.
The greater good is being sacrificed because of hurt and anger
There are two families that because of our culture and media are being affected in ways that few think are possible. Based on responses by others there are many other families being hurt as well. Their value as people are being leveraged for political gain by both sides of the issue.
It also makes me hurt for police officers across the country as they are being painted as evil. Even my words could cause them personal hurt. Their job is dangerous and someone coming at them is incredibly difficult to understand from my perspective.
There are now communities being destroyed. There are families being ripped apart.
It’s unbearable to watch.
I want my son to grow up knowing that we can affect change. I don’t desire to feel helpless. My call is to minister to the hurting. There are people that have nothing to do with this conflict that are being hurt and they feel helpless.
But this is why the church exists. And more importantly there is hope found in Jesus Christ.
Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35
It’s time for us to begin living this out in conflict and put our reputation on the line for Jesus, less with words and more with obedience to God. Hopefully not our feelings of God but based on what God’s word tells us to do.
Opportunity for growth
It sucks that this is what it takes to cause us to reflect. It’s ridiculous. But I’m hopeful that we can begin finding common ground and seeking to find common ground with an area of so much hurt and anger.
It sucks knowing that sermons will be filled with political bias on Sunday rather than the gospel of Jesus. It sucks that are children afraid and confused as they see their community and neighborhood being destroyed in front of their eyes.
There are places to pray for the community of Ferguson. I hope that you will join me in teaching your children about injustice in the world and doing something about it, about caring for people that need to be cared about and ultimately that you would find satisfaction in knowing that Jesus is where we find our hope and can truly heal people and communities.
I pray that there are churches that embrace multi ethinicity. I’m thankful that I attend one.
We don’t do it perfectly or maybe even we don’t do a “good” job, but we are trying and there is a real desire to bridge racial divides for the good of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I’m so thankful to be a part of a church that ministers to all groups of people and doesn’t do “Simple Church” type of ministry.
This situation should show us that people are complex and so are the issues that we deal with. I hope and pray that we will find a way to grow and teach our children that there is a better way.
I will not tolerate hate in the comments. It’s my website and I get to determine that. You can read my comment policy if you need help knowing if your comment will be acceptable or not.