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 >>
Police in Ferguson, MO arrested two journalists for covering the protests over their fatal shooting of an unarmed teenager six. Officers shoved Wesley Lowery, of The Washington Post, into a soda machine for taping them, before he was cuffed in plastic binds. A Ferguson officer rammed Ryan Grim's head against glass. The reporter for The Huffington Post wasn't packing up his reporting gear quickly enough. Both journalists' respective papers released statements condemning the Ferguson police, but the decline of free press reaches further than one town in Missouri.
Unfortunately state suppression of the press is hardly isolated to Ferguson. The problem goes all the way up to the White House, where the Obama Administration is preventing journalists from accurately reporting on policy.
According to The Society of Professional Journalists, the Obama Administration has engaged in "excessive message management and preventing journalists from getting information on behalf of citizens." The grievances were also supported by 37 other journalism and open government groups. The report details the use of "Public Information Officers," whose roles are to filter reports before they're available for mass consumption. Stories coming from the White House are trimmed and primed to perfection before the public can even get access to the latest information. more >>
A few days ago, I attended The Family Leadership Summit 2014 in Iowa. The privilege of addressing the crowd, and signing my newest book King Rules was superseded by the awesome honor of being among genuine Christians who are committed to humbling ourselves in prayer that God will heal our land.
I came away encouraged, bearing Bob Vander Plaats' new book If 7:14. I've been setting my clock at 7:14 (2 Chronicles 7:14) twice daily and crying out to God for our nation, for my family, and for myself. Oh, if only I could have stayed up on that mountaintop, where GOD's mighty presence enveloped us and gave us hope. Yet, like Moses, we must come down again, into a lost and dying world that needs the Light and Love of Christ.
As I left Iowa, I didn't know what was ahead of me. I came home to startling and somewhat saddening reports of the death of yet another young Black male, Michael Brown; Robin "Popeye" Williams death by suicide; and the escalating Iraq crisis. Added to these reports, are some personal "issues" that are requiring a double strong dose of faith and love to overcome in my own life. more >>
Another round of unrest erupted in the Streets of Ferguson, Missouri early Saturday morning as hundreds of angry protesters vented their anger once again at the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old youth in the community last Saturday. Looters also took the opportunity to raid neighborhood businesses as well.
A report from The New York Times said Saturday's eruption was the first major protest to occur since the Missouri State Highway Patrol took over security of the area on Thursday. Law enforcement officials who faced off with the crowd started pulling back after the protesters began dispersing around 4 a.m.
Looters, according to CNN first targeted the Ferguson Market and Liquor Store which is now a part of the case swirling around Michael Brown's death. Brown is alleged to fit the description of a suspect who robbed a $48.99 box of cigars from the convenience store about 10 minutes before a police officer identified as Darren Wilson shot him dead after a controversial struggle according to Fox News. The incident was captured on surveillance video. Authorities also explained at a press conference that Wilson had no knowledge that Brown was a suspect during their encounter. more >>
As tensions continued in Ferguson, Missouri, over the killing of a black teenager by a policeman, President Barack Obama was criticized for his handling of race relations.
Various activists, including some in the African-American community, have questioned the effectiveness of President Obama's response, according to NBC News.
Jason Johnson, a politics editor for The Source magazine and a professor of political science, explained to MSNBC his doubts about Obama's handling of matters regarding race. more >>
Mike Brown, an unarmed 18 year-old, black teenager was recently shot and killed by police in Ferguson, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis.
This is a sad, horrific, and an all too familiar ugly story.
DIFFERENT WORLDS more >>