Some of My Story

Here of late there has been much rhetoric against police departments. It has been said in various ways that the police have certain animus against a particular people group and that they seek to find ways to kill those for which they have no love. Often overlooked is the crime in certain areas and that crime is blamed on ideas such as unemployment and lack of education. Well, I dare say that the police are not the enemies of any community and that unemployment and lack of education are not synonymous with crime.

I know; I can already hear some naysayers debunking just the few words that show above. However in order to make my points clear I must discuss some of my story. You see I was born during a time in when Jim Crow was coming to an end. The part of Baltimore wherein I was raised was far from the best place in town and after a short marriage my parents divorced when I was in early elementary school. Yet somehow I did not fall to the pull of crime. I have no children save those from my wife and all of whom were conceived during marital bliss. Still somehow I have not been reduced to the level of a criminal and have never had a negative experience with law enforcement.

The fact of the matter is that if one does not do anything to draw the attention there is a very good chance they will not be stopped by the police. I can say this of a certainty not only personally but also professionally. I can count on one had the number of times I have been stopped by police and, surprisingly, none of those two times was in Baltimore. I was not disrespected and neither did I disrespect the police. After a couple minutes conversation the police learned that I was not a problem child and they went about their way. Moreover I can say that as a police dispatcher in Baltimore and Chesapeake, Virginia that the police are usually so busy handling calls for service that there is simply no time to pick on people merely because of skin colour.

Now, I have not always enjoyed the academic success I have. This lack of college education did not cause me to fall to crime and to raise a voice against law enforcement. Instead when the opportunity arose I found reason to better myself and to work diligently in order to obtain the education needed in order to be a success. Even more I never took a job so that I would not turn to crime nor did I study for years in academia to lift a voice of hate. Instead I worked and continue to work to pull me and mine from what could be dismal failure. This is not to say that I have had an easy life and that I enjoy a life of luxury now. Neither is the case. Yet my background does not lend reason for me to lash out against those who protect not me alone but also all those that have need of protection.

My point is that I am tired of the police bashing that has been going on in this nation. Scripture teaches that we should honour those that deserving of honour. Police officers deserve absolute honour in that they do a job that most do not want to do. They work in the face of sudden danger and death yet they uphold their oaths defending not only the defenseless but also upholding the Constitution. If the powers that be will not call for peace with the police then I will. I will stand with them because they stand for law and order. I will raise the banner of unity because a divided nation will only fall. I will say thank you to those police who work daily to prevent the chaos of an unlawful mob.
It is important to note that I have been on a number of police ride-a-longs. Some were by choice and others job related. I have seen people hurt by the hands of criminals and police work to bring some healing. And while it is true that the police are not social workers and most certainly not members of the clergy they are human beings with a love for fellow man. The era of Jim Crow is over so it is time we came out of the past. The Klu Klux Klan is no longer serving as the enforcement arm of the Democratic Party and if any members are in our police departments they are well hidden. So let us lay down the destructive banner of hate and raise the restorative banner of love in order to bridge a divide created by lies and false narratives.

Love, this is why so many work at an often thankless job in law enforcement. Love is what causes so many to put their lives on the line for the sake of other lives. Love is why Christ became incarnate in order to reconcile broken man with a loving Father. It is this love that can reconcile man with man in order to present a type of the relationship we should enjoy with our Father. With that I urge some to look at some of my story and see that there is truly no reason to bemoan those that work hard to protect us and stand with them that stand daily in harm’s way just to make sure we are not harmed.

This new year let us not allow the broken rhetoric of a few determine the fate of many. Let us bridge the gap and work side-by-side with those that work with us.

Happy New Year!

This Christmas

Over the more than five decades of my life, I have had more than ample opportunity to examine the way Christmas is celebrated. It has grown from the appreciation of Jesus becoming incarnate and early morning services to extreme commercialization. And while there is nothing wrong with the exchange of gifts and sitting around the table with for a well-prepared feast, I wonder what would happen if this Christmas there would be a focus on the true reason for the season.

John 3:16 clearly shows an expression of God’s love. There was a divide between God and man by reason of man’s sin. For centuries God worked on His plan to bridge that divide. It would take a sacrifice that only the Godhead could make. It meant that God would have to send His only begotten Son into the world as the way to restore a broken relationship. This meant that the Son would have to lay aside somewhat of His attributes of Deity in order to walk with man. This Christmas is no different than that first celebration of the Christ more than two thousand years ago.

So, this Christmas it might be prudent to consider the restorative power of the incarnate Christ. Consider how absolute healing can be secured if that same Christ was born afresh in our hearts. No, there is no suggestion that families should remain apart rather the converse is the case. You see Christ came to restore a broken relationship. In this is the ministry of Christ, restoration. It is also a ministry that should be celebrated within families as there are many broken families. These gaps need to be bridged in that the ministry of reconciliation should reside in us all. This Christmas can be a Christmas of healing which reaches far beyond immediate families.

This Christmas let restoration reach beyond families into our communities. Once the healing of restoration begins in families then communities will begin to feel the impact. The reciprocation will not stop there instead neighborhoods, cities and states will begin to understand what restoration is about. Now, this will not be an easy move in that it will require significant sacrifice. Consider the sacrifice of Immanuel. He had to leave everything He knew in order to restore brokenness. It was not easy yet the challenge did little to prevent this Holy One from humbling himself in order to reach out to man in the form of man. This is reconciliation. This is the story of Christmas. This Christmas let us reach out to heal and restore even when convenience is not in order. This Christmas let us keep the Christ of reconciliation in Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

The Jaundiced Eye of Racism

     It needs to be said even before the heart of this essay is addressed that some will find some of the discussion offensive. However there will be neither vulgar words used nor any profanities. With that said a much used term will be properly employed in this discussion to make the point necessary to not only bring about good discussion but to drive at the heart of what seeks to tear apart this great nation. Political correctness will not be the driver of this message rather the love of God will be employed to draw men from that which seeks to harm us all.

     I count myself to have been very fortunate on the most part. As a young man of eighteen years I became an active duty member of the USMC. While in boot camp I learned to live with all kinds of people. None of us had the liberty of any type of segregation by way of skin colour. In fact there was a certain mantra in the Marine Corps presenting the idea that in the Marine Corps there were only two colours; dark green and light green. In other words racism had no room in the Corps. This was a wonderful thing because as I was eventually stationed in Hawaii where I learned to work with many other people groups.

     In 1984 I was stationed aboard the USS Belleau Wood whereon I visited a number of nations in the Western Pacific. Among those nations were the Philippines, Thailand, Japan, Okinawa and Australia. There is one thing that stands out in my mind in respect to the many people I have been blessed to meet and that is that people, no matter where they are, are people are people. Even more those people, despite their physical appearances, were still people. They all eat, breath and bleed. Many were even Christians and had no problems celebrating Christianity in the open with whoever chose to celebrate with them.

     Yet in my beloved country, the United States of America, many have jaundiced eyes and see people through the fallacy of superficial conditions which have no bearing on the status of the heart of the people concerned. For instance Black males are often referred to as “niggers” while White males are referred to as “crackers.” While some Blacks may well be niggers, and some whites as well, no Whites are crackers. Now, I know some explanation is needed so let us understand what a “nigger” is and what a “cracker” is.

     While the term “nigger” has often be attributed to Black people at large it really has nothing, at least historically, to do with the pigmentation of a person. Rather the term, when properly applied, has much to do with the deleterious attitude of ignorance which seeks to demean others that may appear different from themselves. That is to say that a nigger is to be determined by the condition of one’s heart rather than by his physical appearance. On the other hand a “cracker” is not a person at all rather it is flat, crispy piece of bread that is very good with peanut butter and jelly or some cheese.

     The problem is that way too many today have followed the false narrative of the George Zimmerman case following the killing Travon Martin. Much of the news media wanted the killing to be racially motivated so that Mr. Zimmerman was referred to as a “white Hispanic” which was a term never before employed in describing people. Even worse, race hustlers such as Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton further bolstered the false narrative of racism if only to line their own pockets with filthy lucre. This case had nothing to do with racism and to suggest otherwise is purely to stoke the flames of racism that seeks only to cause a greater divide in this nation.

     The jaundiced eye of racism really does not see clearly. It is infected with the disease of hatred and ignorance. This diseased malignancy needs to not only be eradicated but also permanently destroyed so that it can no longer impair this nation. Racism is a danger to the individual racists as well as those around them. It operates on old wives’ tales as well as fables even while it seeks more and more reasons to harm those that appear different to them. So, let’s just set the record straight for once and for all.

     Most Blacks are not niggers, no Whites are crackers, Jews at large are not money grabbers; Asians are not thieves and so on. We are all the children of God which is evident in John 3:16 which shows that God loved the entire world so that He sent His Son into the world so that none would have to parish. Yet the jaundiced eye of racism shows Jesus in whatever ethnicity race hustlers choose to present Him. God created us as human beings thereby welcoming all into His gracious arms.

     The ministry of reconciliation is a ministry for all Christians. Let’s stand strong on the Word of God and stand one with another. The idea of the Black church and the White church are ludicrous to the extent that the Church has been divided by reason of ethnicity. It is ridiculous and uncalled for. Let us reconcile one with another, pray for the healing of those inflicted with the jaundiced eye of racism as we work to restore man to the love that was always intended by God our Father.