Just like you, I reacted in horror when I saw the news. I could not believe my eyes, yet the news headlines on CNN were true. The images of blood on the streets, covered bodies, pictures of the faces of the victim. I wondered to myself, what part did I have in this?
No, I’m not talking about the unfortunate assassination of Officers Ramos and Liu in New York.
What I am referring to is the conditions that led to Michael Brown’s, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, as well as the countless others that have died unnecessarily at the hands of the police.
These conditions lead to the protests against police brutality that have pervaded our country for the past few months.
Nor am I suggesting that their lives were “righteous killing” in the name of justice. The police serve an important function in our society.
What I am referring to, is what part did I as an American, a fellow “human being” have in the obvious pain, and discomfort of the African American Community?
While I did not play a direct part in any of their deaths, I am shocked and saddened in the state of our country.
Despite how you feel about our country, it is still… America.
President Barack Hussein Obama is the President, as well as an American. A Citizen.
The police, protesters, as well as media; are all American. What causes me to concern myself with the death of these 5 individual Americans?
I believe it is our collective unwillingness to try to engage in peaceful communication. Our inability to even listen to those who disagree.
2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior,
Paul’s 1st Letter to Timothy 2:1-3
It doesn’t matter what religion you choose. I think all people of faith would normally agree that it is a good thing to pray for those in authority. For the simple fact that if they disagree with you, you will either find the strength to persevere (St. Francis of Assissi) or change the things you can.
What I simply see however, is a frightening lack of civility, or mindfulness in our society.
Not a White Or Black Issue
While many people on Faux News would attempt to simplify or “soundbite” complex social issues into 20 minute news cycles complete with commercials…. life is just not that simple.
It is clear to me that those (including myself) who have spent more time complaining, denying, or outright obstructing justice to others is simply a part of the problem.
Instead of working for social change, justice, or better conditions for our own citizens, we spend millions on useless wars, filling the pockets of Haliburton and others while filling our graves with the lives of our young servicemen.
We fail to see how our self imposed “segregation” leads to a de-personalization of the police, as well as the protestors. Its not a black or white issue. It’s not a “Police Vs. Everyone Else” issue. It is a human issue.
No matter your faith… no matter your color… no matter your job… we must talk instead of shoot.
Before You Troll
No, I am not suggesting that police do not shoot an aggressive or threatening suspect. Nor do I believe that our policemen should put their lives at unnecessary risk. What I am suggesting is a change of heart.
Before you pick up your keyboard to troll someone (including me) about their political or other beliefs, it might be useful to remember, are the comments that we say adding gasoline to a fire that is being stoked with unintended consequences?
Despite what you may believe about the moral “rightness” of the deaths of Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, or Michael Brown, it is hard to deny the resulting protests and riots led one mentally deranged individual to act out on their own… taking the life of two innocent policemen who ironically; had nothing to do with the deaths of the three other men.
You may not agree. However I believe that on my part, I will take pause before I take to keyboard to “argue” a point. I will try to remember that although I personally do not consider myself a Christian, there is some good advice to be found within “the Good Book”.
That advice applies to all Christendom. No matter your beliefs in Christianity, or any of the derivatives you practice; if you accept that the Bible is the “Inerrant Word of God.” and that “Not mine, but THY will be done” then it might be helpful to remember that God himself is asking you to pray for those in authority.
It is our unwillingness to pray, or consider the welfare of others that is at the root of our problem.
If you are failing to pray for those in authority, or being unmindful of your words while you rail on about how President Obama as “screwed you”; or how “Congress is trying to screw you..” or your Boss is trying to “screw you…” then you are missing out on an important benefit.
What’s In It For You
The benefit you derive from praying, is not actual change. God does not change his plans for you. He knows the plans he has for you, plans for good; he said.
The actual real benefit from prayer (especially for those in authority); is a peacefulness and presence of mind you need to be effective in carrying out your mission of change. In order to change society, in order to make things even remotely better, Martin Luther King Jr. had to marshall incredible reserves of personal power. That power is reserved only for those who have the “presence of mind.”
If you are “wrapped up” in the moment, the heat, the anger, the fire of your emotions can get the better of you.
Prayer therefore, is not for God, but for you.
Why? Not to be a tool for “The Man…” no. But to be mindful of the change we are trying to achieve. Praying for those in authority is trying to affect social change in a peaceful way. I certainly believe that there is a time and place for everything. Even as wise as Solomon was, he recognized the importance of recognizing a “season for everything.”
This is the season of tears. Tears for our fallen friends, citizens, as well as human beings.
God help us all.