A Strange Dichotomy

     For the past several days I have been troubled about what is taking place in this nation. My heart has been hurt and I struggled with how I should handle and address the matter of the disruption of peace and tranquility. I have thought how some might respond and considered that some will take my words out of context or simply tell me I am on the wrong side of the issues at hand. The struggle still continues as even some family members take issue with my stand. My stand is not for this group or that but the whole of mankind. Even so, some take issue with that.

     So, I might as well get to it. If I lose friends, so be it. I am not in a popularity contest nor am I pretending to be politically correct for the moment. We are in a war and the enemy does not care about ethnicities. He does not care about culture. He does not care about families nor does the enemy care about socio-economic status or religion. Our common enemy cares only to steal, kill, and destroy and we are allowing him to do that by furthering divides which serve only to push his agenda and that is done through deception. Let me explain.

     Much of the turmoil in this nation at this time is said to be centered around the death of George Floyd. Mr. Floyd, a Black man (I sure hate colour-coding people) was killed by a White police officer. I am not certain that anyone would argue that Mr. Floyd should be dead and that his killer should be free. Yet, the continual narrative is that police are targeting Blacks and that all Whites are somehow complicit in the wrongs of a few. Yes, there are some racist Whites. There are also some racist Blacks. The fact is that there are racists in every ethnicity, yet those racists do not speak for the whole.

     Digressing to the killing, I am not fully convinced the murder was based on racism. This is where I get in trouble. You see, the news has largely ignored the fact that Mr. Floyd and his murderer were co-workers.[1] This fact means that certain questions must be asked. How well did Mr. Floyd and his killer know each other? Was there a continuation of bad blood between the two? Is it possible this murder could have been more personal than racial? Why is the media hiding the fact of these long-lasting co-workers? Is there a political motivation to continuing the racist rhetoric associated with the death of Mr. Floyd?

     It is also necessary to look at the ever-resounding mantra of Black Lives Matter. This is a movement that began in Baltimore after the death of Freddy Gray while in police custody. Mr. Gray was not killed by the police, yet the movement began.[2] Not many will argue against the fact that Black lives matter. The strange dichotomy is that while the death of Mr. Gray was made political and caused rioting in the streets of Baltimore there were no voices raised for the many deaths of those dying in the streets of Baltimore at the hands of other Blacks. Specifically, there were 344 murders in Baltimore that year and no one took to the streets.[3] There were no riots. Stores were not broken into and looted. Could it be that the deaths did not fit the political narrative? Were those 344 lives not precious? Is the lack of concern because those people primarily Black, did not matter because their lives were taken primarily by Blacks? It just seems to me that if Black lives matter these 344 in Baltimore should be counted as those that matter.

     Now, Mr. Floyd’s death was also tragic and totally unnecessary. There is no doubt that his life mattered. The dichotomy is that the many other lives taken in Minneapolis do little to raise eyebrows. It almost appears the eyes are turned away even when the lives are taken from Blacks. Do their lives not matter? There is no marching in the street for those Blacks killed by other Blacks in Minneapolis. There were, undoubtedly, Whites killed as well. Are their lives less significant because they are not Black? I find it hard to believe that one’s value is predicated upon his ethnicity; a matter of which he holds no control.

     When examining strange dichotomies, one has no choice but to consider Chicago. Chicago is a city long known for its crime. The “Windy City” has had the winds of lawless at least since the time of the show Good Times. It appears that not much has changed even in the face of a Black mayor, Miss Lightfoot. Mayor Lightfoot is obviously no fan of churches and that has become evident during this Coronavirus fiasco.[4] Even while her venom for churches is spewed Blacks are being murdered in Chicago left and right.[5] It could be that those nearly 250 people killed so far this year did not matter. Most were Black. Most were likely killed by Blacks. The problem is that they do not fit the convenient political narrative.

     I could go on and on about the many Blacks killed at the hands of Blacks that never make the national or sometimes local news. Consider, the deaths in New York, Los Angeles, Detroit, New Orleans, etc. Do these lives not matter? Many are Black. The problem is they were not killed by the police. It does not fit the narrative that police are exterminating Blacks. The fact is that police kill very few Blacks and most of those killings are justified. For instance, the associated footnote will show that this year there have been Blacks killed by police (research for details) more Whites were killed than Blacks.[6] Other ethnicities were killed as well. It just seems that those other than Blacks do not have the political backing to get attention.

     It has become politically correct to join the Black Lives Matter movement. To raise fists in solidarity with those lives fit the political rhetoric serves to further the political movement. It has become the norm to say that Black lives matter. However, the dichotomy is that one standing in solidarity with others is somehow offensive. To say “all lives matter” is sufficient to cause maltreatment and maligning of the one standing for all. For me, this is a difficult pill to swallow. In fact, I do not want the pill. I stand for each and every life no matter the ethnicity. I stand with right no matter where there right falls. I stand against wrong no matter where that wrong falls.

     I find it necessary to stretch this discussion just a bit further. You see, many that purport to be Christians are among those ready to fight at the suggestion that all lives matter. This is problematic when one considers the fact that God so loved the world (the entirety of mankind) that He sent his only begotten Son John 3:16). God’s love is not concerned with ethnicity. It is not concerned with national origin nor is it concerned with language or political correctness. God’s love is concerned with the individual as he is placed in the world. The world encompasses all of mankind is a type of what we will find in Heaven.

    Revelation chapter five points to the contingent of people that will be giving God praises in Heaven. They include people of every kindred, nation, and tongue. No group is excluded. All are included. To God, all lives matter yet the dichotomy would suggest otherwise. Even so, to be people of God we would do well to remember the principle of love. If we but love our neighbors as we love ourselves, we would do well to lay aside this strange dichotomy.


[1] http://salonedaily.com/2020/05/30/shocking-late-george-floyd-his-killer-derek-chauvin-were-co-workers-at-a-club/

[2] http://archive.bluelivesmatter.blue/truth-behind-freddie-gray/

[3] https://chamspage.blogspot.com/2015/11/2015-baltimore-city-homicidesmurders.html

[4] https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2020/05/24/chicago-mayor-launches-police-raid-shut-down-black-church/

[5] https://graphics.suntimes.com/homicides/

[6] https://killedbypolice.net/kbp2020/

The Simplicity of Unity

Today is a day used to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. There is no argument against his fight for civil liberties and that those liberties included the right of Blacks to be provided equal rights in every aspect of society. Among those rights was the right for Blacks to attend schools of their choice. This is to say that Dr. King fought against the ideology of Jim Crow. It was a tough fight, yet it was a fight worth fighting.

Dr. King was also laden with dreams. In one of his speeches, he expressed his dream of his children playing freely with White children. Said differently, King had a dream of unity. He had a dream that all men would walk side-by-side with the matter of ethnicity being non-existent. King’s dream led him to work for a nation more concerned with the content of one’s character rather than the complexion of one’s skin. And, in many cases the dream of King came to pass and, in some instances, there remains fighting for unity.

I, too, have a dream. My dream is much like that of Dr. King. My dream is a simple unification of people. Like King, I am sick and tired of racist activity and rhetoric that seeks only to cause unnecessary divides. I am weary of constant bickering of idiosyncratic stereotypical ideologies that seek only to further divide a people. Well, I have had enough. I have a dream and that dream starts with the Church taking its proper stand in this conversation. My dream is simple. My dream requires only that the people of God love each other, and that love can only unify. It cannot divide.

Psalm 133 paints a beautiful portrait of unity. Verse one states, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!” It is good and it is pleasant for those of us that call in the Name of Jesus to have the lifestyle of godliness. That brotherhood is not concerned with ethnicity. It is not concerned with nationality. It is only concerned with the individual. Love seeks only to build. It does not seek to tear apart. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary for the Church to rid itself of racist rancor and collect the words of life. Those words of life serve only to heal and reconcile. This is the work of the Christian – reconciliation.

Unity is a very simple matter. It means treating others the way you want to be treated. It means standing side-by-side with your brother in the good times and the bad times. The simplicity of unity is expressed in one simple word; love. So, let us love one another. Not because of ethnicity or other superficial means. Let us love one another, starting from the pulpit, as Christ loved us. Only then can the simplicity of unity be had. Please, Church, let us love. That is my dream.

 

 

 

Refusing to Relent

     It has become commonplace for some to attack the United States of America. This is nothing new. The problem is that many attacking this nation were born and raised here and have never stepped foot in another country. They bemoan everything from the founding of this nation to the freedom that is subsequent to the founding. This is interesting because these that hate this land use the very law that allows them to spew their hatred while at the same time calling it vile.

Perhaps they do not have a clear understanding of Amendment I of the United States Constitution. It says, in part, that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech…” This basically means the Government cannot impose itself upon the freedoms of the people. Additionally, it means that the individual has the right to live how he deems without consequence imposed by the Government particularly in his speech and worship of God.

With this, I have to say that I am tired of people attacking this nation merely because they do not understand a thing or because they do not like certain aspects of this country. Well, I refuse relent to the vitriolic verbiage of those who see no good in this nation while they rest easy by reason of the protection provided them even as they attack the protectors. You see, I voluntarily donned the uniform of the United States Marine Corps. In doing so, I vowed to defend this nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic. I also vowed to defend the Constitution of the United States of America. That vow has yet to be vacated.

I also find it interesting that many of those that spew hatred have no idea as to the reasoning of the founding of this nation. This is a nation founded upon Judeo-Christian principles. The main of those principles is freedom. Freedom is a principle not born of the thinking of the founding fathers. It is a principle put forth by the Almighty. Galatians 5:1 points to that freedom with the words, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” This freedom means the followers of Christ need not succumb to the slavery of sin. This freedom is indicative of the fact that we have choices and those choices can lead to absolute freedom or absolute bondage.

Well, I also refuse to relent to those who attack Christianity as though Christianity brings woes to the world. Christianity lifts from the depravity of the world and brings about freedom that cannot be enjoyed while being covered by the bounds of sin. I refuse to relent to those seeking to make Christianity an ideology of hatred rather than the institution of love that it is. The fact is, God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world, through Him, might be saved. Salvation is freedom. Salvation means never having to be bound by the very things that pretend to love you. Salvation is freedom at its best and I refuse to let those that hate freedom stand between me and the Source of freedom provided for me.

Yes, it is true that I took a second vow. Yet, it is the most important vow that I have made. I made a vow to the Lord years ago that I would serve Him until I die. That is another vow that has no end and I intend to hold to my words just as the Word came and set me free. I will not; I refuse to relent to those that hate my God for no other reason than to hate.

I can think of no other country as great as the United States of America. It is the only country I know of wherein one can be born in poverty and work himself out of it. It is a country wherein one can speak freely and live as he chooses. Yes, these United States upholds our freedom to worship and serve the Almighty without governmental interference. It is true that there have been ills and wrongs in this country. Still, it does little good to continue to live in the sins of some of our fathers. I refuse to relent to the lies that all about this country is bad and evil.

More important than being a patriot I am a child of the Most High God. If this country fails, I will stand with God. If this country upholds the bonds that pull at the freedom of Christ, I will stand for and with the Most High. You see, I love God more than I can ever love this country. That does not mean that I need to spew hatred upon this land that upholds the freedom to celebrate Jesus without fear of reprise from the Government.

No, I refuse to relent to the wailing and gnashing of those that hate this country and abhor the God I love. No, I will not relent. Instead, I will stand for Old Glory and will bow to the Most High whilst I uphold the blood-stained banner that was stained by the blood of Christ Jesus. I refuse to relent.

Enough Divisiveness

I admit, in my lifetime I have not seen this country so divided. I lived through a portion of segregation and saw the end of Jim Crow. I recall when Martin Luther King was assassinated and can remember motorcycle gangs roaring down the streets of Baltimore following the assassination. Yet, somehow this country largely pulled together to stand for right. Petty differences were laid aside in hope of a uniting nation. King, in part, sought to draw people together by reason of a common thread. That thread was that we were, and remain, of the same substance. That substance remains in that we are all human beings made in the image of God. Because of that there is more to bind us than to divide us.

I clearly recall the time this nation was attacked. Our towers in New York were destroyed. The Pentagon was a target and another plane went down in Pennsylvania. All of a sudden there were United States flags everywhere. The people of this land began to stand shoulder-to-shoulder. A return to God began to be the mantra of the hour. We were all United States citizens and there would be no force to break that bond. Unfortunately, this bond of unity would not last. The ugliness of divisiveness would soon rear its ugly head. All of a sudden everyone was to blame except those perpetrating the most horrendous acts.

Now, not long after those tragic events we had an election. The election was legally won and our new President will soon take office. Yet, there are some that see reason to be divisive and call the soon to be Head of State illegitimate. Others have chosen not to attend the presidential inauguration by reason of the false rhetoric of an illegitimate election. These words and actions have only served to divide a nation that is already in the worst state of harmony that I can recall in my lifetime. Well, enough of this divisiveness already!

Frankly, the Church has not acted much better. Perhaps this is why the country is acting so untoward. It is high time the Church began to remove the ridiculous rhetoric of divisiveness and rancor and began to pull together according to the Word of God. There is no room in the House of God for division. There is much room for love. After all, men will know that we are brothers by our love. That love is not merely a purported love for God. No, it is action taken which shows that we love each other. This could mean helping a family in need of help. It may mean lending a shoulder to cry on. That love might also me demonstrated in helping to heal the hurts of the past. No matter how that love is demonstrated it serves not to divide. Instead, true love serves to unite. This is the ministry of those that love; reconciliation.

The example of love demonstrated by the Church is a love that is apt to spill into the world. Even so, the love the Church demonstrates is really a type of love provided by the Godhead. The fact is that God so loved the world that He gave His Son. The Son so loved that He gave His life. The Holy Spirit so loves that He dwells in man. Love is a reciprocal matter that has not time to entertain divisiveness. Love is not familiar with rancor. Instead, love seeks to reconcile broken people to those who have been hurt and damaged by the abomination of hate.

King was right. One’s pigmentation is not a matter that should be considered in any instance. Instead, we should look to the heart of man as God does. We live in a strong nation and ought not to be divided by the vitriolic and visceral verbiage of those that choose not love. The divisive nature of some in this country is only causing a divide that could bring about the downfall of this great nation. This is unacceptable and far from Christ-like. Enough of this divisiveness! It is time we broke the bands of this that binds us and remember the part of King’s dream that can and must be more than a dream. He looked forward to the day when we all can join together and not just sing the old Negro spiritual but actually walk in the words – Free at last, free at last. Thank God, almighty, we’re free at last!