Like many Americans, I have carefully followed the news from Ferguson, MO involving the tragic shooting of an 18-year-old African American, with the notable exception that he carries my name. And so, every day, I'm reading about the shooting of Michael Brown and the death of Michael Brown and the autopsy of Michael Brown, all of which reminds me of the very real loss of life involved.
As I reflect on what is happening in Ferguson and interact with callers to my radio show, there are five obvious lessons to be learned.
1) The racial divide in America remains wide and deep. more >>
While Anyabwile's fear for his son remains constant, he says moving out of Southeast Washington or staying in the Caribbean would mean that he would be living for himself and his family, not for God, his calling or those he is meant to serve through his ministry."Greater than any fears must be our love for people who need Christ and mercy," Anyabwile told CP. "And if we're African-Americans going into African-American neighborhoods, we should pray we love our people more than we fear them. We've found the people of Southeast to be welcoming and our neighbors have been wonderful."As Anyabwile and his family continue to settle in their neighborhood, he can only hope and pray that Titus comes to love America despite the challenges he is possibly bound to face as an African-American child."I hope Titus grows to be a faithful, humble, loving, joyful, generous man of God in this country, whether it's because of this country or despite it," Anyabwile said. "I hope he loves the country as I do, and I hope he contributes positively and significantly to the future of America. ... I hope he sees and experiences the further removal of racism from America and the promotion of a just and whole society. ... I hope he abides in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ, full of faith and refusing bitterness."In the meantime, he says any parent who shares his same concerns should know that although there is limited hope to be placed in government authority, they should still "hope and expect our public officials to do what is right."In addition, if parents who are non-believers feel that same way he does, they should begin to embrace faith that God will take care of justice, he explained."Men may miss the opportunity to do what is right, but God never will. In His judgment, everything true and right will be established. No evil will go unpunished. Righteousness will prevail. We ought not want anyone to fall into God's eternal judgment; His judgment is terrible. But we can be assured that His judgment will be right and no one escapes His holy sight," Anyabwile said.Anyabwile is assistant pastor for church planting at Capitol Hill Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and a council member with The Gospel Coalition. more >>
When will the rioting in Ferguson, MO stop? There has been much mayhem---including the police using tear gas---and much looting in the St. Louis suburb. The media covers this story heavily. Some estimate there may be as many media members as there are protesters.
All of this follows the shooting death of a black teenager, Michael Brown, allegedly by a white police officer the previous Saturday. Though the facts are sketchy, many are convinced that an injustice has been done.
The reaction has created an additional crisis. Reports indicate that thugs from all over have descended on Ferguson to take advantage of the chaos, to get "justice" "by any means necessary." How? By putting small shop owners out of business by looting? By changing Ferguson into a war zone? Said C. S. Lewis: "The devil is always trying to trick us to extremes." more >>
Texas Megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes blamed racial profiling for the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown, saying America is far from being a post-racial society and that racial profiling is putting black men "on the endangered list," in a blog published on Huffington Post.com.
In the essay posted Tuesday morning, Jakes wrote "We are a far cry from the post-racial, peace and love society envisioned by '60s idealists or the melting pot that our forefathers portended."
He argued that cities like Ferguson are still being governed with race-related tactics such racial profiling. more >>
Mike Ditka, a former coach for the Chicago Bears and hall of famer in the National Football League, has stated that efforts to change the Washington Redskins name come from "politically correct idiots."
Ditka, who's an ESPN analyst, was recently interviewed by the website Redskins Historian about the name controversy.
"It's all the political correct idiots in America, that's all it is. It's got nothing to do with anything else. We're going to change something because we can," said Ditka. more >>
Much has been written about the impact of Michael Brown's death and the protests that followed. As I watched the story unfold, I just felt overwhelmed and unable to write. I really didn't have much to say. My embers of anger didn't stand a chance against the rising waters of numbness. It is my MO to go numb when things get too emotional, too hot-tempered, too violent. Sometimes this trait serves me well. My delayed reaction to the emotion in a room is often what makes me a great peacemaker- not because I am so special but because my emotions are often delayed in the moment. My grief, anger, and yes sometimes even the good emotions like joy come later. And so was the case this week. While article after article popped up explaining our hurt, giving voice to injustice, calling officials to action, teaching, prodding, crying, organizing- I was trying desperately to determine what I feel.
Many of you know that smaller stories unfolded even in the midst of the larger narrative. White Christians slow to respond (if at all) + the word "Christian" being used to define all Christians when in reality only referring to white ones + genuine calls for increased diversity and commitment to multi-ethnic churches... My TL was filled with branches stemming from the events in Ferguson. I've read some good stuff. I've read pieces that I'm jealous I didn't write and pieces I'm incredibly grateful folks put into words when I couldn't find any. But the one article that has stayed with me- clanging in my soul was an article posted by @feministajones, with a link to Playboys interview of MLK. There are a great many gems in this interview, and we all would do well to read it from beginning to end, but what I found most intriguing is MLK's response to the question about his mistakes as a civil rights leader. His reply: "Well, the most pervasive mistake I have made was in believing that because our cause was just, we could be sure that the white ministers of the South, once their Christian consciences were challenged, would rise to our aid. I felt that white ministers would take our cause to the white power structures. I ended up, of course, chastened and disillusioned."
At this moment in time, I cannot confess to the same shock, disappoint or hurt feelings that MLK describes. I've read too much, been at this too long to sincerely claim that I expected the white church to finally get it right in this present moment of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, John Crawford and Michael Brown. The white church doesn't have a great track record on racial justice, and what's worse, displays very little shame on the matter. (As a quick caveat I will say that I am grateful for the friends of all races, including white who sent messages, wrote posts, shared in the outrage and amplified the voices of black folks- I just wish there were many, many more of you). On the whole the story of Michael Brown and the assault on Ferguson didn't gather the same level of attention of ISIS or Driscoll. Many of the white Christians who changed their profile pictures to stand in solidarity with Christians on the other side of the world, were absolutely silent while black Christians right here in America were in turmoil. more >>