shan

shan

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

 GET UP MOODY!

How she got the name, I’ll never know. She certainly didn’t earn it. “Moody” was remarkably even keeled. It had to be a joke, like in the movies where “Big Mike” is small, and “Tiny Joe” is actually a giant. Still, “Moody” was the name assigned my grandmother, and she wore it proudly. Sometimes she would use it when speaking to herself. One of her favorite phrases was, “Get up Moody!” She’d often say it after she’d had a brief rest. It was her “get back to work” phrase. Ironically, “Moody” was the hardest working person I knew. So, much like her nickname, I didn’t understand her use of that phrase either. She was familiar with grueling labor, and therefore well entitled to unbridled rest.  But with that one line command- “Get up Moody!” she’d reset her whole attitude. She'd plow through her tasks as though she was punched in on the time clock of God Himself. Indeed, she was. That is what I didn’t understand then. I understand it now.

Time is among our most valuable resources. If we are not deliberate with how we spend it, we will waste it waiting to “feel like doing’’ something before taking action. It’s a trap. How often do we feel like doing hard things? Rarely, if ever. Plus, life gives us many reasons to sit down. Those lacking motivation, focus, or discipline will stay down. I am sure there were days my grandmother wanted to. Instead, after tending the fields, the livestock, and the land, she cared children for grandchildren. Fed neighbors. Assisted friends. She delivered babies, and acted as a mortician too.

"Moody" did what her spirit believed was good and right, even if her abled body protested. “Get up Moody” was an assault on the urge to remain at rest. It was my grandmother’s way of letting her body know, "My feelings don’t run me, my will does. I'm committed to what's best, not what's easy." She pushed beyond her body’s desire, and led her flesh. Her “little phrase” was her spirit speaking to a body that didn’t “feel like it.” A confrontation between desire and will. Moody wasn’t super human, she simply refused to be controlled by anyone or anything, even if that thing was a part of her. If rest wasn’t best, she didn’t take it. If work was difficult, she didn’t run away from it.

In all these negotiations she did not complain. She was calm. To lose control, or serve begrudgingly would’ve negated the victories she scored over her body. It would have given her flesh the final word. It would’ve had no impact on me.

The lesson I learned was huge. How we feel should not be the criteria for what we do. Something greater must determine that. Good. Need. Love. Truth-something absolute. To be led by feelings is to remain in perpetual infancy. No mastery. No maturity. That’s not a life well lived. That’s instability. That’s bondage to the emotions chosen by our body. Spiritual death.

Four decades later, this grandchild, and witness of radical self-discipline, finds herself borrowing from the wisdom and strength found in the order, “Get up Moody!” When I start thinking, “I’m just going to lay down, binge watch a show, surf YouTube, or stay down a while;” I hear those words:

“GET UP!!!”                                        

Get up is my encouragement to you. Resist “I don’t feel like it.” You have the power to do that. You don’t have to feel like it to do it. Do it because it is right, not convenient. True fulfillment does not live in your flesh or feelings. Your best intentions all exist in the spirit. They are manifested by the work of your hands, the work of body. It’s largely what separates humans from animals. In our spirit we can purpose to do good, and cause our bodies to follow. Life is disastrous the other way around. If the body rules, we’ll be inconsistent, and unfaithful. We’ll stay down. Defeated. The most effective use of the body is its obedience to the spirit, and a mind alive to truth.

I’m don’t know your mood, or your name, but as long as you’re alive, you have a chance. Things may not be easy, but hope lives. Good. Is. Possible. Easy is just a road to certain failure. Don’t chase it. Maybe you are tired, and you need a break. Rest, but don’t stay down. The same grandmother who said, “Get up…” and “Hard work won’t kill ya” also knew the importance of “sittin down” to rest and refresh. Work made rest necessary, and meaningful. Cherished moments.

Moody died at 97 years old.  She was right. It wasn’t due to hard work. She had a full life, and without the benefit of a formal education she left a mighty legacy.  She was a small woman, about 5’4 on tiptoes. But she was honorable and faithful, with a character that gave her the presence of a giant.  She was a fierce ally, and a truth teller to others, but most importantly to herself. Get up Moody! Was just one of many ways she did so. For the record her real name was Sarah Elizabeth Knowles. She lived the life of unbridled humility. She battled this world with uncommon kindness, and exceptional grace. It is my great honor to be the granddaughter of a warrior. 



  


Friday, July 24, 2020

Bold Enough

I suppose that after you written nearly a 15,000 word blog you are entitled to a month or two off. And so, I took a break. I didn't intend to. I intended to follow my post Unrest with one called "Black Enough." It would defend and detail all the reasons why I was qualified to speak so candidly on race. It would also serve to answer those who would seek to discredit me because I told the uncomfortable truth regarding the topic. I've decided against that at this time.

I realize that the reason I am qualified to speak on race has less to do with what I've suffered related to skin color, but on what I have endured related to the condition of my heart. I'm "black enough" to speak on racial issues because I once walked in total darkness in all areas of life. I've experienced that humans are selfishly motivated. Unless divinely influenced, man will never do right by man, and I am no exception.

It was the truth of God alone that changed me. It continues to this day. It is the reason I now seek to give the homeless new clothes, not just my old ones. It's the reason I give my family the choice cut of meat, and not save it for my plate. It's the reason I buy the thing that I damage at the store, and not have someone else eat the cost. It is the reason I return the item to the rack, or the cart to its place.  This list can go on, and though these are seemingly little things, they all esteem others greater than they esteem self. It is a life altering shift. I know who I was before. I'm different now. There is some new law written on my heart. Its primary function seems to be to inspire me to love and to do good works.

I'm aware that some will be turned off by the talk of Jesus. I truly never wanted to sound "too christiany." I'm not attempting to be pious, simply honest. I have struggled with just about every wrong thing I can think of. Even the "small things," whether it's lying, envy, gossiping, and on, none of those things promote the wellbeing or justice of another human. Only the love of God does that. I refuse to undermine the sacrifice and grace of Jesus by pretending that I could be enough.  It's futile to even entertain the idea. Justice and peace belongs to the Lord. Those who follow Him, find it.

And so as the unrest continues in the streets, and people urge me to fight against "social injustice," I choose to fight for something more. Love. I redirect my heart and focus towards the only God who gives joy in the midst of chaos. I follow the one who healed the outcasts. Fought for women's rights before the world knew it was the right thing to do. He associated with the racially marginalized, befriended and assisted the poor, weak an lowly. He chose inequality, and gave His life so that all may be free. His passion was not merely for "social justice," but spiritual justice. Spiritual justice is the true healer. It brings genuine power, and equality to all. His life forever taught us that man is more than his social assignment. Unless you address his heart, he will always descend into unjust behaviors and conditions. Social, and otherwise.

I find my comfort in Christ, not in my culture or my color. The issue isn't whether I'm "black enough" to speak on the one topic assigned to me by the world, but whether in freedom, I'm bold enough to speak the truth of God on any topic, to any power in this world. My credentials are greater than skin tone, or earthly affiliations. Simply put; I'm sinful enough to know, and speak on the transforming power of God's love. May He give me the strength to never shut up about it.

Friday, June 19, 2020

 RACE AND TRUTH.

George Floyd's death was quite possibly the tipping point of America’s pent up rage. As I watch the unrest in the streets, I can’t help but acknowledge it has moved into my being. I speak to quell the holy shout growing in my soul:
ENOUGH!!!
How uncomfortable are you willing to be for the sake of truth? Bold truth spoken in love is the only real change agent, the only real freedom fighter. Despite the chaos in the streets, love is still the greatest power known to man. We cannot fight with anything less. We will never move forward on lies and political correctness. Many white Americans are afraid to speak on race to the point of cowardice, but many black Americans speak on the pain and anger of it to the point of irrationality. I'm not afraid, but I am aware that this could cost me something. I'll risk it.
I would rather hear from leaders who voice hope, and who help us move toward healing. The leaders I've seen, seem lost. Some of them are angry and hurt to the point of discrimination and hatred themselves. They are stirring up and perpetuating the very thing they claim they want to fix. Many are buying into lies and notions that leads to more death and destruction. They are transfixed by pain or paralyzed by emotion. They speak of change from a place of fear. Fear never gives life. It only destroys it.
Most alarming of all is truth is being pushed out of the conversation purposely, or it is entirely ignored. With every lie that is told, I grow more desperate to hear an honest conversation, one which will lead to constructive change. I write this in an attempt to begin one. It will please neither the white community, nor the black community with whom I share pigment and racial experiences. I don't speak for all black people. Nor will I pick a team. Truth is disrespected by both sides of the issue. I will attempt to address each lie with truth. This will be raw, and even cringeworthy at times. I do this not to shock you, but to be honest. My hope is that those who have ears to hear will hear, and that God will be exalted, and pleased that I tried.
THE LIE OF RACE AND RACISM
Somewhere along the way we accepted the lie of race, and by extension racism. Once we did, we began fighting the wrong battle. It is the nature of a lie to redirect. Our eyes, hands, ears, conscience and spirit all testified that people by nature are of the same race; human. Yet, we chose to focus on, and define each other by variations in features. We made the lesser thing to define the greater thing. It is consistent with man’s judgment. He regards what is seen outwardly, and devalues the divine. Once we did this, we were doomed to fight a battle that cannot be won, because "racism" is not the core issue. Evil is. Sometimes that evil is expressed as hatred for an entire group or class. Sadly, in the hearts of those who make room, hatred will never localize. It always seeks to expand. For the sake of this post, I’ll use the word “racism” and hatred interchangeably.
Some time ago I watched a teacher name Jane Elliot conduct what she called the “Brown- eyed Blue-eyed Experiment.” It was intended to show whites what prejudice is like by segregating them for a short time, and treating them differently based on eye color. The experiment taught many what it felt like to be discriminated against. Some with the preferred eye color quickly bought in to their superior roles, proving that should we eradicate discrimination based on skin color, it would easily reemerge on the basis of something else. In this case it was eye color, but it could be hair color, height, weight, finances, whatever. This reveals that true “racism” is a heart issue. Wherever we managed to eliminate this problem within our society, unless we correct the heart, which is the root of it, discrimination will simply take another form. It’s like firing a thief from your business, but electing him to your government. His character hasn’t changed, only the schemes he uses, and the location from which he robs you.
Mrs. Elliot borrowed the eye experiment from Hitler. For the Nazis, it wasn't an experiment. It was a test, a measure used to qualify levels of whiteness among Jews. Millions were killed based on it. The difference between life and death hinged on lighter tints and shades in eye color among the same group of people. No logic needed. Evil is resilient. It will find a reason to carry out its purpose. Ultimately, only God can destroy it. Obedience to His wisdom is key.
Unfortunately, many in the church have walked in disobedience to God regarding how we love others. As a result, we suffer from some of the same issues in the church that confronts non-believers. If Sunday morning services are any indication, society is ahead of us where integration is concerned. This is not a reflection on the wisdom of God, but rather a reflection on our neglect and rejection of it. So many Christians want to join the fight against racism. It’s noble, but we have to connect to the truth first; some of us are a part of the problem. We must ask God to reveal sin, and do as He says, remove “the log” out of our eyes first. Then we will be able to help others.
Help, should not imply harmony. As we comfort those broken by hatred, we cannot allow their emotions and pain to lead us away from, and blind us to the real problem, evil. The church must be careful that in our zeal to show compassion, we don’t sacrifice the cure, the truth, the purpose and power of the cross. It is an opportunity to confess God, and speak of His transforming power in us. We, as all men are corrupt in nature. The evil we fight is in us all. Perhaps it’s a fulfillment in the things that we own, the way we look, the position we hold, who we know etc. Truth is man's heart is fixated on having an edge. We all have it. This is our pride. It is why Jesus came. When we single out racism as the demon of all sins, deserving a special kind of venom, we deny the truth and allow the root cause of it to live. That is, that all men want to be God in some way. He has an internal desire to feel superior to someone. This is Eden 101.
We looked at God Himself, the creator and sustainer, in the middle of His property, and pretty much said, “I think I’d rather be god over myself. I can do this better than you.” How then are we expected to elevate another human being to our level, if we are trying to elevate ourselves to the level of God! Man has no genuine interest in real equality. It is at conflict with our desire to reign. It is therefore contrary to our nature to look at another man and say, “I will make him equal to me.”
It's time to stop romanticizing the lie that we can “fix racism” without God. He is the only good in humanity, and only His way works. His death made man's restoration possible, it puts an end to what separates man from God and each other: Sin. Evil. God alone gives us the love we need for each other. There is not a social program on the earth that could do this. His plan is perfect. We are unable to improve upon it; Therefore, God does not prosper a way that is not His. So, until we connect with holiness, and view life in His light, we will continue to hate each other. We will do so even in the name of religion, because it is not a system that values life, it is a person. Those who follow God will love their neighbor regardless of color. Those who do not love, do not know God.
Now discrimination unlike "racism" isn’t entirely a negative thing. We do it in many situations to keep ourselves safe. I will not walk down the dark alley with the mysterious van. I will not give my bank account information to the “prince” of Ghana who wants to bless me with millions. In many areas we accept that discrimination is natural. You do not love my child like you love yours. Nor do I expect you to. And who can convince you that your baby isn’t the best baby ever born? Let's not complicate the issue by confusing the meaning of the word. It can mean the unjust treatment of a certain group, or just drawing a distinction. One is needed to make wise decisions, the other is never needed. If I decide not to go to a particular Mexican restaurant because it has a poor sanitation rating, that’s probably smart. If I decide that all Mexican restaurants are unclean that’s imbecilic. Any area where we have made a sweeping generalization, especially on a mystery motive, is a red flag.
Whether we are the perpetrator or victim, believers dealing with "racism" or any sin already know what to do. We don’t need a new plan. The old one works. Go to your brother, and try to solve your difference. Communicate with him. That’s biblical. That is how we handle hostility and grudges. We reach out to the people holding the grudge, and we listen to their heart. We allow them the opportunity to hear ours, and we respond based on the truth, not on how they feel. If your brother feels sad because his wife cheated on Him, you weep with him, but you do not let the pain he is experiencing cause you to partner with him if he decides to go and murder her lover. One reaction holds the power of life, the other produces more hate and division, so that the end result of the original wrong, is surpassed by the foolishness that follows.
Unfortunately, this is what I see some in the church now doing. We seem to want to compensate for past attitudes and failures by replacing it with an attitude of acceptance of everything. Due to where it leads, I find this scarier than "racism." It means we are willing to sacrifice truth for what we feel. Our feelings are now our gods. Think of the implications of that? Currently, those who do not conform to the "group feeling" on a matter are being corrected, reeducated, silenced or destroyed. Thus far the harm to those individuals have only been financial, but evil is unquenchable. It will demand more. If we don’t address this now, those who are most powerful will control whose “feelings" are most worthy to be honored, and maybe even permanently silenced.
Right now, it looks like it is mostly the feelings of blacks that matter. I definitely want black people to have a voice I have a personal interest in it, but no one voice should control a free society. Especially when it mimics a hostile takeover, and establishes fear as its might. These dynamics will shift to other groups. Each with a more radical mission than the last. For these reasons we must govern ourselves based on righteous principles. In our quest for unity let us throw off everything that hinders and entangles our walk-in truth, and pursue the hearts of all men with the good news from God. The best way to fight "racism" is to live in complete obedience to the wisdom of God. If we lay down our cross to pick up the banner of anything or anyone other than Christ, we join the defeated, and do a disservice to the power of God. Fight for the hearts of men, and the kingdom of God. It is not a one issue battle. It is not a fight to cure a symptom. It is a war against the cause, the disease of evil that penetrates our very nature. The only cure is Christ.
SYSTEMIC RACISM
I do think racism is systemic, but not exactly in the way some want me to. All evil is systemic. It is built into the system, the flesh of men. It becomes institutional because men lead institutions. Many in the black community believe white power, over a system designed by him, and for him is the main opposition to black progress, and success. It is a true lie.
How long are we to pretend systemic racism is only a matter of white oppression, and give black leaders a pass? I recently watched Oprah hold a forum among black Americans. It was on systemic racism. She included those who shared congruent views, but excluded those who did not. She and others routinely ostracize the voices of black libertarians, independents, and conservatives. This exclusion screams discrimination. It is at the very least, discrimination of thought, and as a result help. Selecting only those with whom you agree, is actually fixing the conversation to favor your outcome. She was doing the very thing she was hosting a forum to remedy. Black leaders in America, and others have created a system whereby they discriminate against conservative voices entirely. They deny them every opportunity to advance or have input in the black community. It's a blatant double standard. It's a minor example, but please acknowledge that prejudices exist among people of the same group.
Should we only focus on fixing "racism” coming from whites? Do we ignore it among ourselves? No. We should start with us. We have been fighting "racism" for years. I believe our unity is paramount to the success of that. It may even be the pivot on which the system changes. At the very least addressing all the problems we face, will make us stronger. It also preempts infighting. If we can change the "man in the mirror" we can surely change the world.
It is undeniable that people of the same groups hurt each other. In many cases, it is a more effective weapon than any outside force. I remember the Rwandan genocide. The horror of the Hutus and Tutsis, and the caste system in India, teaches me compassion nor protection is assured on the ground of color alone. Even my personal history highlights this. I was teased because I’m a darker shade on the black spectrum. I'm not attempting to equate name-calling to systemic racism. I'm simply acknowledging our equal opportunity to create such a system. Truth comes before change. The fact that I’ve been called “nigger” by whites does not outweigh being called “tar baby” by blacks. Both were meant to demean.
Let’s be honest before the Lord who already knows our hearts, we discriminate within the black community. Be it skin color, or even hair type, it's there. Judge rightly. Whether perfect equity or superiority in society, neither secures equality among blacks. Color aside, I don’t want to be considered less than any man. That's tantamount to trading a master for a master. I'd rather be free. This conversation is a lot deeper than we are willing to go. Our community needs healing from the inside too. Don’t be mad because I told the truth. Be humbled before the Lord by it. God will not bless hypocrisy among us. Nor will we ever be made whole by telling half the truth. Honor God and put the Kingdom over culture, and country. Be prepared to surrender your “black card” for your believer card any day.
If we are going to talk about systemic racism, we have to deal with it on both sides, blacks and whites. I see systemic racism among blacks, in that we discriminate against other blacks. Some of those who are wealthy, have built on the backs of the poor in their own community. The most discriminated group in America is black conservatives. Blacks have joined with whites to bully them into silence. That’s because evil will partner with evil, regardless of color. These black people are ignored, and in most cases, they are not considered "black enough." They are “Uncle Toms.” Am I to pretend I don’t see that, and that that discrimination is different? How? I argue that it is worse, because the perpetrators know what it feels like to be silenced. They claim to know what it is like to be denied the opportunity to advance, and yet they do it to others.
I would also have to call out the systemic issue of abortion. How are we going to talk about systemic racism and not mention that? Margret Sanger was a pioneer in the eugenics movement. She advocated forced sterilization. Neither she, nor founder Alan Frank Guttmacher, were vague about the goal of Planned Parenthood. It was “population control.” Their words. I realize that this message has been scrubbed. If you go to sites like Wikipedia these people have been deified. They are now leaders in the field of "reproductive rights." They were pioneers in “family planning.” Come on! They intentionally instituted policies that have led to the slaughter of millions of black Americans. If it’s family planning why is most of the “planning” happening in black communities? Why is most of these “family planning” clinics setup in black neighborhoods? Why are we continuing to sacrifice our babies in these clinics because someone told us we need to adopt their plan? Murder is not a plan. That is genocide. It was calculated. It was introduced in the black community as hope, for struggling moms, as an alternative for low income people, by people who were white, and boldly racist.
There is no more excuse for our ignorance. We would look into this if we were honest. Stop letting politics rewrite history, pervert your integrity, and tell us how to think. Go read Margaret Sanger and the Negro project. Read reports like Birth control and the Negro. Even though there is a push to recharacterize her and recast her image, and to make the motives of people like her less known, you can find it if you want too. Is it worth a few hours of your time to investigate, and see that murder was planned and determined for us as people a long, long time ago? That we were considered “unfit, the lowest elements of society, the great problem of the south, something to be remove for racial betterment.” At the time Sanger advise that this project should not be carried out by medical white men. “Why? Perhaps for the same reason she said,
"We do not want word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population and the minister is the man who can straighten out that idea if it ever occurs to any of their more rebellious members." Margret Sanger.
These are the very words of the pioneer in the “birth control movement.” If we truly care about systemic racism in the black community, we would confront this. But we don’t want to know. It would inconvenience us. We would have to change, so we close our ears and disparage those who dare to speak the truth. It truly makes me angry because we want others to hear our cries for help but we ignore the very children in our womb. It is our privilege to take their lives. It is our privilege to ignore their murders because it is what is best for us. That sounds a lot like the very thing we are accusing whites of when we say systemic racism and white privilege.
I find it hard to unite with many people of my color in this area. I cannot reconcile the hypocrisy here. If racism is systemic, the battle to end abortion is ground zero in the fight. We are killing the hope in our community. Abortion is contract killings made legal, and advanced for the express purpose of taking out as many black lives as possible. I cannot get behind any movement that will not acknowledge it, much less fight against it. Instead, many of us support it. It is dishonest to advocate for our rights, while denying others, and then try to shut down those who point that out. I can never partner with someone who only wants me to say what they want, especially when it concerns denying the truth. So, pardon me if I’m not crying over the life that you do have. My heart is broken for the lives many of our children didn’t get to have. Instead I ask that you join in the fight for them.
Abortion is not the only “help” that has been less than helpful. Many Welfare programs offer us resources in exchange for our hopes and dreams. To accept welfare programs indefinitely, is to agree to live according to the state’s idea of your value. I’m not bashing aid. I’m bashing the system of living of aid as income. It is not a life plan. We should never grow comfortable or conditioned to easy money given by authority. We certainly shouldn’t trust it. Nor should we expect to advance in this way.
Wherever you are given something you have to pay for it in some form. We must ask ourselves why are there incentives to get on these programs, but not to get off? What has the cost of these things been? Much like abortion, they look like the answer, like hope, like light, but it is not real light. It is a cozy a trap. It keeps you living up to the government potential, and under yours, or God’s potential for you. Much like abortion has led to stagnation in our community, elimination of promise, and inequality in wealth, these programs also lead to stagnation in our success, redistribution of promise and inequality in wealth. At best they were designed to help for a short time, at worst they were intended to disable. I have come to believe the latter. They pacify to complacency, and if you want to oppress a man never give him a reason to fight. He might actually win.
Systemic racism? Yes, but not in the way it is being presented. We are not being robbed of opportunity in the zillions because whites are currently subjugating us. We made that concession decades ago. We are currently being robbed of growth, power and success because we have agreed and supported the calculated destruction, lies and desire of those who see us as too ignorant to know better. We have furthered them, and destroy any who dare speak against them. It is systemic racism by agreement, systemic racism through cultural consent. That is the bad news and the good news. We can change all of this if we truly examine all the ills in our community, unite and think for ourselves. We don’t need anyone’s permission to heal us. We can do this, but as long as we promote and support politicians who tell us what it means to be black, count on systemic racism being around for a while. This is a fight for all Americans, but black Americans must lead it.
BETWEEN US
I’m attempting to address the whole truth or at least as much of it as I can. Now, I don’t for one minute believe that there aren’t discriminatory practices carried out specifically against the black community. I’m not giving anyone a pass for doing so. Most blacks, myself included, are treated with a presumption of innate ignorance. It leads to things like low expectations regarding intellect. From it proceeds a host of discriminatory questions, insinuations, and false offers of aid. It shows up in strangers telling you what you can and cannot achieve or afford, explaining things you already know in painfully simplified details, attempting to speak for you as though you need a translator. I’ve been given old food, offered unacceptable living conditions, and damaged materials, simply because I wasn’t expected to know what quality is. It is the same spirit I see in the handouts from the government. Conveniently, this presumption of innate ignorance also leads to a dismissal of our valid concerns regarding prejudice. We are considered too biased a source. One which cannot be trusted to recognize racial problems, much less point them out.
Additionally, we are treated with an attitude of suspicion. We are not afforded the benefit of the doubt as often. This leads to incidents of extra vigilance, surveillance and aggressive “justice.” It’s the cause of questions like, did you pay for that?” It’s the reason I’ve been followed in stores, and in my neighborhood. It’s the reason I’m stopped leaving stores while the white friends I’m with, are not.
I do not believe Derek Chauvin woke up that morning with “kill a black man” on his to do list. But it's the "little foxes" that often cause the big damage. Some are still debating the cause of Floyds death. Was it the knee or something else? Seriously? Discard the fact that he actually appeared to be taking pleasure in what he was doing, and almost taunting the crowd with it, had he gotten off of that man sooner, after he stopped resisting, perhaps he could have received help sooner. Maybe there is another camera angle, but I saw no resistance, nor did the onlookers filming, and pleading with him to get off Floyd. It’s reckless to apply added force where it is not needed. To deny medical care while you do so, is cruel. Whether it was racial or not, it was not right. To behave so recklessly while in a position of power is abuse. But it's familiar, arrogance with a certain casual disregard. It hurts. Blacks have seen this abuse so many times and in so many ways. 
This is what the outrage in the streets is about. Blacks know that for every George Floyd who dies on the streets, there is a million more faces that don’t die. They are stopped and delayed for little are no reason. It is frustrating to be pulled over, and hear an officer fumble for a reason why. In those instances, you are happy to go home, but fully aware that the "powers that be" seem to exercise a little “more power” over you. For me, and for many blacks the question isn't is racism real. We know it is. There is no debate among us. The hatred we have experienced is as real as apple pie, and the Fourth of July. The question is: how do we respond to it? What's the solution? Before we can come together and fix it, we have to acknowledge it. Some still don’t see it.
It’s been my experience that white people seem to think more of hooded robes, and racial slurs when defining racism. Many of the things which affect black people outside of that escapes them. They don’t always recognize it, because they are not dealing with the same things. That’s fair. On some levels we are living in two Americas in terms of how we are viewed. I compare it to an argument between an old married couple fighting over the same topic all their relationship. They have the same fight repeatedly, and every time they will disagree. Neither side changes their mind. They just leave with the same unresolved issues. They tolerate each other for a while, but the problem is just beneath the surface. It pops up every few months or so.
At this point, race in America is a lot like that couple. Neither party is completely wrong. They just have different viewpoints. In many ways I see blacks as the offended party saying, “look at what you did, and continue to do to me.” Meanwhile whites are like, “you are still here, it’s not that bad. Get over it so we can move on.” It’s very much like, a nagging wife, and an obstinate husband, only more dangerous. At least the couple’s problem involves two people, who will both die, and take their fight with them. As a society the conversation involves everyone. It is passed from generation to generation. It’s been going on too long, and neither party signed up for it, or likes their role in it. The only thing we can agree on is that we are all tired.
Believe it or not racism is not the only thing that black people want to talk about, but we're just experiencing it more frequently than white Americans understand. It’s dehumanizing. Some of us are holding things back. We don’t share much of it. It is a difficult thing to navigate what to tell. I’d rather walk through it with my God, than tell a friend who downplays it or dismisses me. I find that more painful. It's easier to keep the most heartbreaking things to ourselves. It's also hard to let the people who are hurting you know that what they are doing is effective. Why strengthen the arm of one who would use it to torment you? Right or wrong that’s the reasoning. So, on the one hand blacks nag because they want you to get involve, but many keep a barrier around their hearts, because if they really shared, they risk more hurt.
I’ve heard some ask, “Why can’t we focus on what's right and not what's wrong?” That's a fair thought, but what's wrong still happens pretty often. And then when you look over and see one group of people not as affected or even concern by some of what’s wrong, it gets a bit hard to swallow. Especially, when you are struggling regularly with things that others deny exist.
Try to understand. I’ve heard many white people say, "Stop looking at the past, while flashing a rebel flag. Excuse me, but is that not a flag from the past? Or is that the new flag of 2020?
Others, have been quick to say that slavery ended centuries ago (they mostly get the date wrong) but they ignore the fact that civil rights is a more recent thing. We are still living among people who fought for it, black and white, and all were affected by it.
I've met so many whites who say “racism is wrong. I'm not that way, but my…” Then they proceed to out the family members who are. These same people then advise, on how “we (black people) need to move past it.” I'm always astonished that they don't see the obvious contradiction between that, and saying, “black people need to get over it,” and the existence of their racist relatives. If your uncle’s family are racists, are they also hermits? Unless they are hermits, they are interacting with the public, with me, my family and other black families. They are the ones following me around stores, clutching their bags like life support, serving the person of their color preference when I was clearly first. Some are hiring, and firing. Others are making arrests.
Now you'd like to think that they don't act that way in public, but it does seep out, and it expresses itself in many ways. If you are going to give advice to the black community about moving on, then make sure you are equally advising all racist acquaintances to do so as well. I’m not telling you not to love your family, but you are also called to love the family of God. If you will stand for the truth across the board, it will bring healing to all around you. You don’t have to have all the right words, but until our identity in God supersedes our identity in the world, we will never have reconciliation.
I think the anger over the continued dismissal, denial, and complacency, from the white community has pushed some black people to their breaking point. Even Christians are justifying and softening their stance on sin in desperation to express their rage. They are saying things like, “I don’t agree with the violence in the protests, but I understand it.” They then go on to express the “understanding of the violence” with greater passion than the condemnation of it. What is that? Let’s not make sin relative for the sake of getting even, and "social justice." People are being murdered over televisions. Are we so desperate for action, we’ll accept anything? That feels more like revenge.
I’ve also heard some in the church say looting, rioting, and violence is acceptable because black people have tried peaceful protest, like kneeling for the national anthem, and no one cared. They received more criticism and venom over being unpatriotic than the cause of their kneeling. Defenders of violence rationalize that peaceful attempts are dismissed, and blacks continue to be considered violent thugs despite their attempts to draw attention to inequality. They reason that it’s time to act like the hoodlums we are presumed to be, if that’s what gets us equality. To hear a believer, express this is astounding. Do whites get this privilege? Are you also willing to say white people can act like racists because they are exhausted from being constantly accused of it? Do all the whites who have fought against hatred, but are still being labelled hopelessly racist, do they get to apply this rationale too? Following the logic that violent protesters are just acting the way that they are assumed to be, then white people should be able to act racist as they are assumed to be. This is madness.
Another thought that has been expressed was that “Martin Luther King was a good man, but Malcolm X had the better idea.” And to that I say, for every Malcolm X there is a David Duke?” Hate breeds hate. Is that what we want?
GOT YA!
For many the video of George Floyd has been the “got ya” video of our failure on racism, that includes in the body of Christ. Many people can now see what blacks have been saying and they are ashamed. Many blacks now feel they have the proof of what was known and rejected all along, and their anger, pain, sadness and fear over it is real. White people if you have been dismissive of what is going on with regard to your fellow Americans, repent and commit your way to the Lord. He will guide you to love others, and show you how to carry your brother's burden and not his bitterness or live within the boundaries he puts on you.
Black American, despite the pain soften your heart to hope. There is no amount of pain that allows you to impose, restrict or silence the voices of others. You cannot say you want racial reconciliation but allow only one race to speak. That’s superiority. We know what that feels like. Say what you need to say, but allow the other side to have some thoughts and ideas. Will they say some things that infuriate you? Probably. Are they going to understand it all? Probably not. We need patience to live with each other. That is why it is a gift of the Spirit. It came from Heaven. God has it with us, and we need it to interact with each other. There is no such thing as being too patient here.
We must fight our hearts to forgive the hardest things. It wants to hold on to every wrong, and make sure it is accounted for. It is accounted for by our savior who died for it. Let us also remember, God has said "vengeance is mine. I will repay." Why do we lay aside the counsel of God because we hurt? Is our God no longer just? Will evil always win? Do we not trust His justice, or do we think He will somehow be complicit? Rise up people of God choose Him and follow his ways. We will not solve "social injustice" through legislation or anything that the world is proposing. You cannot legislate evil and hate out of the heart of man. I wish that no one were racist, but if you can figure out how to legislate hatred out of man and love into him, you would have effectively solved the greatest problem of all time, rendering every faith and god unnecessary. If the atheist wants to abolish faith they should work on that problem, because the quest of faith really is the desire for love and significance.
If we did manage such a fete, it wouldn’t last long, because the laws come from the purity of the heart of the one who wrote them. Without absolute goodness, the law of the one giving it is always vulnerable. What I’m saying is if man managed to create a perfect code of laws, then it is only as strong as his character. And should he change his heart, he will also change his word. The perfect system would then be at the mercy of whoever is in charge. All men know and live this. How many times do we intend to do something, and fail? Whether it is New Year’s resolutions or life goals, we write them down and often don’t keep them. The law can only benefit us if we keep it. Those who have a heart and a mind rebellious to the law of God and the law of man will always break it.
WHITE PRIVILEGE
Racism is so subtle. It is a shape shifter. It can be the obvious insult like, “porch monkey” or “ape,” or come in the form of a “compliment” like “you’re pretty for a black girl.” But sometimes it happens even when nothing is said. It is attitude, or reluctance to serve, and eagerness to dismiss. I will admit that sometimes it’s hard explaining these things to others. It further complicates conversations on the topic. Many are angry that whites are even afforded the luxury of ignorance here, and that they are not navigating these things with regularity. Terms like “white privilege” start getting thrown around. White privilege is used to describe the discrepancy between how hard a black and white person have to work to achieve the same goal. It is the belief that an advantage is historically, disproportionally and automatically assigned to the ones who lead this society since its founding. I struggle with this. I believe there is a kernel of truth. Slavery definitely wasn’t for the benefit of the slaves, and how long that advantage lasted, and is it still in a handicap for blacks today is more the question. 
I tend to disagree with the extent of its affect today. It’s not that racism has gone away, but at what point do we say it is over? Do we seriously think we will ever have 100% compliance against black discrimination? I don’t think we can. If we could, why not reform murder, and molestation out of society? We recognize the impossibility based on human nature. We don’t attempt to suggest eliminating other sins in this way. I feel we are being dishonest. The only way hate ends, is if we end all humanity. Why are we setting a higher and more impossible standard here than with all other sins? It is in its own special class, so it deserves a special treatment. Treating this sin like the unpardonable one, gives us an excuse to hold on to bitterness and to keep fighting the same problem forever. We will create more laws, and more programs and more failures as a result, because it will merely shift the privilege from one group to another. With everything I receive because I’m black someone will be robbed because they are not. I do not want to gain in this way. Many will argue it’s about leveling the playing field. I don’t believe that. If that were true how come we are only advocating it for one group of people? Has no one else in America been wronged? I seem to remember this land belonging to another group of people before whites and blacks got here. They should be at the head of the table of any discussion regarding wealth redistribution. In fact, they should decide who gets what. To leave them out is disrespectful, and it feels a little more like targeting, an excuse to exploit a situation that can never be repaid.
Still, the real issue is hypocrisy. Which of you, black or white would be willing to give up your birthright, and switched with somebody from Haiti, Sudan, Somalia? I mean no disrespect, but who is willing to trade their birthright for someone in India to come here and live as you are, while you go there and live as they would be? Better yet, don't just give up your birthright, but go only with the clothes on your back to Haiti, Uganda, Ethiopia and work your way from the ground up. Then come back and tell me if there's no such thing as American privilege. You see, if we are going to talk about white privilege in America, then we have to discuss American privilege in the world. That puts us all in a very vulnerable position. Americans collectively would have to give up their stuff for the inequity in the rest of the world whose people also are exploited.
Let's not be hypocrites here. Chinese sweat shops are real. African poverty is real. American societies have been beneficiaries of both; yet what are we doing on an individual level to address those things? As painful as it is, we don’t get to prioritize our injustices above those of others. America’s wealth is due to many factors. Should those who rightly or wrongly attribute it to the exploitation of certain nations decide to equalize privilege, and gather on our shores to collect, few will make a distinction between a white and a black American.
The denial is baffling. Many black and white American kids are wearing name brand clothing, three hundred-dollar sneakers, while filming their “white privilege” protests on thousand-dollar phones! It completely escapes them how wealthy they are here. Meanwhile, there are parts of the world where people are literally eating dirt. How could they not know the privilege it is to be born in this country? The system has failed to educate them. There is a large percentage of the world that would do anything to be poor in America. I almost want to scream youth privilege. When I was a kid, we had one tv. It was a luxury. I shared a room with four siblings, and got my first car as an adult. Nowadays these are expected items of most American kids, and still they demand more. They seem completely disconnected from the reality of the handwork connected to providing these things. Youth privilege. 
Entitlement is their real problem. Not everyone is supposed to be wealthy. Not everyone is going to be content. Just because the people three streets over have nice cars, doesn’t mean I should have them to. I’m not entitled to anything I didn’t work for. That is an essential part of free societies. The moment we start believing we are entitled to what others have, we will start to demand it and take things from them. That’s not freedom. That’s oppression. It makes me only as free to do and have as much as you deem acceptable. This is not America. The most attractive thing about this country is that it is a land of endless possibilities.
In addition to American privilege, and youth privilege, there is an even larger elephant in the room, male privilege. When do we make males account for their cruelty against Females? We can fill volumes on this one, and still never do it much justice. This is why we need to practice forgiveness. Radical forgiveness. Without it, we are wandering hopeless. Borrowed or inherited pain chains us to the past, and wrecks our future. It continues to add interest and grow the debt we perceived we are owed. The larger it grows the harder it becomes to let go.  Whether anger over slavery, or guilt from it, this is true for whites and blacks. We must all learn to free ourselves.  This is the greatest privilege of all.
Privilege isn't a bad thing. As a parent I to try provide the privilege of college and many other things for my kids. Their education will cost us a lot of hard work. We understand privilege is connected to work ethic. Many black Americans feel we have to work a bit harder.  We have to be twice as good, at the same job. We have to have the right attitude, or bite our tongues to avoid the "angry black..." label. This pressure is real. There are many people waiting for us to mess up to prove what they suspect, we are worthless, less than and lazy. In many work situations it's an unspoken fight to prove you are equal to or worthy. I stopped fighting this battle a long time ago. I don't need to vindicate the color of my earthly heritage, but to reveal the character of my Heavenly Father. It has allowed me to make peace with this pressure.
To be fair I've heard of many instances where the opposite is also true, black Americans performing horribly on the jobs, but white employers afraid to fire due to Affirmative Action. Yes, that's wrong too. Obviously, in those situations the person/s feel none of the pressures I previously described. And while I do understand why we needed such programs; I hate that we still have to have them. I don't think anyone should be stuck with a lazy employee, when they could have a better one. I fully recognize that Affirmative Action is riddled with problems. It is the very definition of being "judged by the color of our skin, and not the content of our character." What's the answer to this? Can America be trusted to judge fairly if AA were removed? I hope so, but I truly don't know. What I do know is decades after Dr. Martin Luther King's speech, "The Dream" remains unfulfilled. We are still judged by the color of our skin, and others are moved to the back of the line, for the good this reverse "Jim Crowish" law accomplishes.  
Surprisingly, there is one potential point of agreement. If white privilege exists, is widespread and debilitating, then it needs to be solved. The question becomes who can be trusted to solve it? Whites are apparently not solving it fast enough, nor would they have any interest, or incentive to. Blacks can’t be an unbiased source. So, if we all accept that it exists, who solves the problem of white privilege in America? 
AMERICAN
Perhaps this is where the real conversation on race in America should begin. It seems many black Americans still consider themselves something other than that. They are still searching for a home, a real identity. Many have no stake in this country because they have separated themselves from it. Even the name African-American denotes some special class of American citizenship. You are American. Many fought and died for your right to be one. They didn’t fight for you to be African American. Just one look at us and the fact that we are of African descent is obvious. No one will confuse us with being European Americans. It’s like a desperate grasp for an identity we lost. That’s probably the most tragic part of slavery, the loss of a real identity. We will never get that back in the way that it was intended.
Instead, please accept that a group of courageous Americans, black, and white fought for our stake to make this country work for us, and for us to be included in what we were building, to make us owners, Americans. That is what you are, and no amount of calling ourselves African American will change that. The soles of your feet have never seen the shores of Africa, nor has the soles of your grandparent’s feet. You own nothing there, and unless you are investing there, you have little claim. It's been a long time since you've been truly connected to Africa. Those who built the American Nation share in the hard work and labor, you should share in the rewards as American. They wanted this freedom for you. It is your inheritance
Paradoxically the name African-American seems both foolish and fitting. It’s foolish in that Africa is an entire continent, not a country. The name meant to clarify identity further confuses it. My immediate question tends to confuse some. "What part of Africa are you from?" I have friends who were born and raised in various countries in Africa. Some of them are white. Their parents were missionaries in Cameroon, Tanzania, Nigeria and Kenya. They know the nations, regions and cities they were born in. They know the culture. They speak the respective language of their African countries. They knew nothing of America except that they were white and of American parents. Africa was, is and will always be home. Yet they who have such deep ties to the country are not really allowed to call themselves African American here, because it is a color description, not a true cultural identity. “African Americans,” would you be offended if my white friends call themselves African American?  Are American blacks more "African-American" than whites born and raised in Africa? It’s a bizarre reversal, and it feels very discriminatory. How can you be more African, than someone from Africa?
The term "African American” is sad, and fitting in that even with the use of the word “African” which seeks to define, and clarify identity, it adds no clarification at all. Both Africa and America are continents. The person can be from any country in Africa and either of two American continents. The two words tell us nothing about the identity of a person, only that they are of African descent and belong to one of the Americas. The person with the title is lost in a name too big to add real meaning. It’s time to just be an American. Perhaps something so simple will begin to unify us even if only in a slight way.
What’s missed is that the world sees us as American. That’s it. We are one people whether we like it or not. In our efforts to identify let's remember, and celebrate things that unify. We can celebrate The Emancipation Proclamation, and the end of Jim Crow. And don’t settle for black history being reduced to a month. It is a part of American history. It’s little things like these that serve to further segregate. This time we are the ones choosing it. We don't need black history month. We need our story told in the United States of America, at all times.
If you are American, you are part of the greatest nation on earth, the envy of many nations. It is a privilege and a blessing to be here. Even when we disagree, at least we know that we can protest, and express it. Let’s not shrink back from ownership in the land. Join the culture and become a part of it. Stop allowing the pain of racial experiences to push you to the outside.
If you are not proud of your country, I respect that at some point you will have to be a part of the system that changes it, however if the change means destroying or targeting one group. It is to slippery a slope. We've been down that road before.  I’ve never seen a society prosper by blaming and targeting one group of people as the sole contributor of all its problems. In fact, that has been the excuse for many great atrocities.
REPARATIONS
Don’t hear me saying, I do not want equality. I appreciate beyond words the benefits of those who fought for it. I’m not talking about balancing the scales of justice, I’m talking about pursuing things that would tip them in another direction, A lot of people are saying we should impose legislation, and bring a list of demands, and force others to give us reparations for slavery. That sounds good, but that's not wise. It seems like justice and light, but it’s not. It’s a lie from Satan and all good lies come disguised as light or we would never choose them. This one is no exception and it’s never going to fix the problem. It will tear us further apart. if we were to get reparations, how do you change the heart of a man who isn't towards you, especially after you have forced him to hand over his goods? He will grow to resent you even more and our society will be left to continue living with an added layer and a deeper divide.
We are being dishonest when we talk about reparations. I’m not saying that it should not have happened, I’m just saying that it is too late for that to happen without us creating more injustice. How does adding injustice to a strained system solve the issues? And just How far do we go back? Do we go back only to right the wrongs done against blacks, or do we go back to the Native Americans? Do we go back to Africa to find the families robbed of their loved ones? Do we demand reparations of descendants of blacks who also participated in the slave trade and owned slaves? Do white Americans, in light of black reparations get to demand reparations if they were exploited too? What about indentured servants? We need to be honest and vocal.
Black people must deal rightly, and not be silent at the potential of gain. Our soul is not for sale. We are children of the truth. We cannot be like Judas and betray the faith for financial opportunity. Be objective.  How far do we go back to make it right? How much do we give? Who should give? Should all tax payers give? Are Immigrants expected to contribute to this? How do we make it fair? Certainly, the slave owner that had one slave shouldn’t be charged with giving the same amount as the one who had hundreds? And should reparations be made toward every black person or every family? How then do we trace the number of people to give to? Do we charge other nations that were complicit with the US, which allowed slave ships, supplied and transported people? Should reparations be given to equal number of black Americans as there were slaves? Who decide who gets it?
This is insanity! Savagery was committed against blacks. It should not have happened, but we will never legislate it aright. Those men who owned slaves, who claimed decency, morality, and God should have led the way with reparations. They could have brought so much healing to our land. They should have given, or perhaps their children should have, those who had firsthand knowledge and profit from slavery, but I suppose if they were willing to be that gracious, we would never have had to fight a civil war. But to try to hold their descendants responsible over a century and a half after the emancipation proclamation is unjust. Perhaps you can twist a few passages to drag out support for your belief, you will not find overwhelming biblical support for holding the children responsible for their father’s sins, unless the children in their hate for God continue to practice the sins of their fathers.
All of that aside, how long do we continue to allow this legacy of enslavement to define our future? How long do we keep looking back like Lot’s wife and counting the cost? When will we be able to accept that we have suffered a loss, and like Paul count it rubbish for the cause of Christ? Family, this world is not our home. You have not lost anything that God has not accounted for. Trust Him. He will make this right. We don’t rely solely on the justice of the world to handle our grievances. We give it to our God that’s what He is here for. Christians were never meant to judge and fight like the world does. We were not meant to fight fair, but by extreme might. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual evil.  Accordingly, the weapons of our warfare are not of this world, nor of the flesh. It has divine power to demolish strongholds. Racism is a stronghold. With it comes arguments, and lofty opinions. These things masquerade as resolutions, but they exalt themselves against God’s knowledge. We must take these thoughts captive and make sure they obey Christ. If not, they will take us captive and waste the hope of God in us. Let’s fight according to the power of God in us. Stop bringing inferior weapons to fight hatred. When others bring the weapons of the world, we bring the weapons of our God. It is superior.  We are not supposed to ignore the lie. We expose and obliterate it. 
BLACK LIVES MATTER
It is the hottest "social justice" movement, and people are bowing down in droves. It was supposed to be a stance against police brutality. It has become an identity. Anyone who supports it is a freedom fighter. Anyone who doesn't, is "a part of the problem." Hear this. Life matters. Therefore, black lives like all the rest, have always mattered. Hatred does not alter God's opinion of the lives He created. It cannot change the truth, but the whole truth is not being told here. It is a cause for alarm.
It's not my intent to convince anyone that black lives don't matter. I am a "black life." Instead I have a fundamental disagreement with the group that has claimed the name, and asserted a premise against which there is little argument. 
The group has garnered support and is profiting based on a slogan it does not believe. It says "black lives matters" but does not act like it. They treat other black lives as though they do not matter. Black people killed by the police, their lives matter. Black people killed by each other, not so much.  It seems the real focus of this group is to educate or reeducate the white community, and authorities. It does not focus on education in the black community. It ignores black on black murder after murder, after murder, after murder… Not once have I seen a protest organized by BLM outside an abortion clinic where we are losing children within our community by the millions.  I have never seen Black Lives Matter show up at anything that didn’t involve the furtherance of its business model. It would be nice to hear of BLM reading and mentoring programs. It would be nice to see them doing something other than demanding something of others. Surely, we can explore, what can we do for ourselves, and not just, "What can white people do for us?" They have a huge platform and massive opportunity. It is missed. 
We must discuss murder within the black community. Why are we avoiding this? Every time it comes up, some want the subject dropped immediately. How many young black men have died at the hands of other young black men since George Floyd? It has to be addressed because these things relate. It is not a different subject from police brutality and murder, it is a part of it. Murders, assaults, any kind of criminality within the black community, gives the police valid reasons for their presence there. We increase the chances for these negative interactions when we give them an excuse to come into our communities. Perhaps if we decrease the violence against each other, we can lessen our contact with law enforcement even if only slightly. I'm not blaming any victim for unlawful actions by law enforcement. 
I know there will be those who will say that law enforcement will harass black people no matter what we do. True, but how much more would that be the case if given a reason? The is reality there are thugs behind badges. I think that is true of white and black cops. We won't be able to do much about those other than take legal action. Thankfully, we have cameras.  We can also work to develop systems that better eliminate those who feed off of control, and power, from becoming a police officer. I believe there are good cops and bad cops. I will join and agree with anyone who wants to weed out the horrible ones, but the good cops need our support in the midst of this. They are being targeted for wearing a uniform. Could you imagine, risking your life for low pay and the public you are protecting every day, wants you dead. BLM lost me with the whole killing cops chant a few years ago.  There are black and white officers. You want "justice" so badly you are willing to kill black officers too? The greater question becomes why are we moving in a way that kills anyone? Some argue that the BLM movement has been hijacked. Then why the silence in it? Why not simply say, "Our peaceful movement has been over taken by those with other interests. We condemn the murder of any police officer." I've never heard it. Silence screams consent. 
As BLM condones the war on cops, those who will be affected most are in the black community. What then? More and more police officers are leaving the job. Who wants to be assassinated for their career, for wanting to help? The streets are hard enough as it is, as law enforcement dwindles, these areas will become more and more lawless. What's the plan to combat that? We cannot work indiscriminately against the police and expect them to be there when we need them. The reality is we need good officers. Let's protect them. They protect us. There is no doubt education with in our community regarding police interactions need to take place. Massive efforts should be made to teach people what actions can be taken if they are being harassed or stopped unlawfully. It cannot hurt to arm a person with their right as a citizen, and what is expected of them by their local government.   
We must also acknowledge that we teach people how to treat us. How can I disrespect my kind repeatedly before the world and then tell the world my kids matter?  How could I demand a respect for my family, that I don’t give them? This is what is happening in the black community. We do terrible things to each other, with uncomfortable regularity. Then, we expect people to treat us sacredly. I’m not saying they shouldn’t. They should, but let’s not pretend that we are not setting a horrible example of how to treat us, by the way we treat each other. It’s the classic “do as I say, not as I do."
Further, I take issue with any organization that is resistant to hearing "all lives matter." Fight the battle that you want to fight, but how can you be offended by the push back of people who are exercising the same freedom you are? If a group wanted to fight for all lives that’s noble, as long as they carry it out. I long for the day when that is actually the case, we start fighting for all lives, and no longer have to segregate the cause. Again, no need to explain it. I get the point behind Black Lives Matter, but I do not believe it will bring positive changes. I think it is dangerous. We have chosen to fight for crumbs of black equality. It is the "social justice" hill we will literally die on, because the cause is dishonest. The weapons less effective, and because it repels not unifies. Just imagine if every cultural group banned together and started fighting for its right to "matter." That's an excellent way to begin a civil war.  
The greatest movements in any nation happens when everyone can get behind it. Whether it was the Civil War or Civil Rights, many people across racial lines were involved. That is why we are free. That is why we have rights. We needed all involved. This admission angers many blacks, still it is true. But for the help of other white people, we’d still be doing a lot worse in this land. We have to acknowledge good in all people. We need to fight for all people. The betterment of black people in America, betters all people in America. The same is true of any other race. Until all lives matter, none will.
The whole thing is also kind of silly because the goal of fighting for black lives, is to decrease injustices against blacks and elevate our treatment to the level of all lives. So, saying "all lives matter" is restating the mission of Black Lives Matter. Unless, that’s not the real goal at all and it’s more akin to “some lives matter more.”
I am dumfounded that we could be so easily misled. In an effort to fight for a worthy cause, we sprint after an ill-crafted lie. It is especially alarming when it is followed by those in the church. Are we that desperate for meaning that we would abandon the teaching of God to follow a cleverly crafted scheme? Unity cannot build on exclusion, and it is only attained through faith.  I believe this is why Dr. Martin Luther King never reduced his fight to one group of people. He fought for the betterment of all men, and women. The rights of black people happened to be the pressing issue of that time, but it was always about more.
My point is, his was a holy quest, one for the hearts of all men. It sought to lighten the burdens of the downtrodden, while calling the hearts of the oppressors to humility. He recognized that blacks were oppressed by hatred, and whites were oppressed through it. All lives mattered, and all were impacted. Had he fought merely for a social ill, how he fought, who, when and where he fought would not have mattered. It is the why that guides the fight. Fighting against a social ill isn’t enough. Social ills are a collective manifestation of the individual heart. Until you bring unity to the hearts of people nothing changes. This is the goal of faith. That is why we are to treat others in the way we want to be treated. If we follow this teaching, we will never need anyone to tell us black lives or any other lives matter. We might even be kinder to pets.
I think the real problem just might be that black people don’t realize just how much their lives matter. I recently heard a very passionate young lady compare being in America to playing a monopoly game, in which you always lost, and enabled your opponent’s win. Many people agree with this. It’s lethally false. It might explain the disparity in our community.
There are clearly those in the black community who have been winning in America, and for a very long time. The real question is, why are some winning, and others are not? If the system was failing us as a whole, I’d agree but it is not. And despite the outcry blacks in America have done some remarkable things in the past decades. I’m not sure where else on planet earth, and what other group would have been able to advance so fast? All of this was in spite of obstacles thrown in their way. So, why are some blacks making it, while others are not?
A powerful argument could be made for education, motivation, inspiration, resilience and drive. I could even make one for nature. I grew up poor by American standards, but I lived near the beach. Even when my situation was rough, I could always look around and find hope in the beauty of nature and nature’s God. I couldn’t imagine growing up in the inner city of even small-town USA much less, Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles. Just thinking about it seems stifling on so many levels. Still, I think the real reason some black Americans are able to advance, and others haven’t, has to do with leadership.
Whether in the home or outside the home, the failures within the black community relates heavily to not having leaders who love us enough to encourage us forward, or challenge us with truth. We have “leaders” but not servants. They are humbugs, charlatans. Many of those “leaders” has seized the opportunity to climb to the top by exploiting the very community they are supposed to be helping. They were led by the love of money, not their love for us. Some even have the audacity to call themselves “Christians.” They are “rip off reverends.” Strong, and wise direction is urgently needed.
White people cannot really help us with this. They cannot lead in the black community, because they cannot lead in our homes. Further, it is not their responsibility nor would we trust them to. If they cannot lead in our homes how then can they lead in our neighborhoods? How can we blame them for what goes on in our streets? They cannot be the face of inspiration for a black man, but if we fail in our homes, they can be the leaders in justice administration, incarceration, and more.
It’s happening. The number of single parent households among blacks is highest in the nation by far, and there is no dispute that single parenting puts kids at greater risk for many negative outcomes including prison time and limited education. It’s not my intent to get in to the stats. Not all dads are great dads. Not all moms are great moms. But one need not be a genius to know that you are twice as likely to be home by curfew, do your school work, clean your room, and more if you have double the accountability to do so. Parents play a major role in setting you up for success. They hold your feet to the fire, teach you to work hard, and advance you whether you want to or not. My parents made me do so many things I would not have done without pressure. Some of them are the foundation of my life. There is NO substitute for parenting, people who love you and push you to succeed. It’s hard for a school or institution to have that kind of influence.
In place of parenting we have programs that are meant to support and empower. The lie of empowerment is that we can do anything to add power to another human being. Only God can do that. We can encourage, and provoke people to want better for themselves, but we cannot go beyond affirming their value, and their ability to do so. To empower, you have to stir up something in a person that says, "I want more than the expectation assigned to me." This idea of giving people everything that they demand to help them is false. It creates adult infants, because nothing they possess came from themselves, by their own hand. You didn't empower. You just taught them how to accept the handout, and they will continue to ask for one. That will become the source of their empowerment, gifts. If there were such a thing as empowerment, then it would be this: you empower people when you move in a way that encourages them in their value, and teaches them to act upon their God-given gifts.
BLACK POWER
All men are born free. They choose to live restrained. I see this in all communities, but definitely among black Americans. A strong argument can be made that they are the most powerful group in America now, and have been for a very long time. But the saddest thing is, they don’t see it. They don’t see where their power in this country lies, the black vote has the potential to turn the political system on its head every two, and four years. It is, an should be used as the swingiest vote in America. We don’t use our power. We don’t seem to care or understand the amount of influence and wealth we amass for those for whom we vote to give our power by proxy. Unfortunately, we have been giving it to the same people over and over. They aren’t even “shucking an jiving” for it anymore. Instead, they are now telling us what it means to be black. It’s sad, but fair because they have invented the narrative of what it means to be black. "Vote democrat. Support abortion. You need welfare. You can’t make it without us. Everyone else in the political process who is white, is a racist, except us Democrats. All white Democrats are completely non racists."
We bought this garbage. To the point where we silence any black person who disagrees. The person doesn’t need to be republican. They can be any other group, but if they are not saying what the Democrats say, they won’t be listened to. It’s very sickening, and not unlike having a master. If we want change, it’s time to do something different. A change in us will bring change to us. We certainly, can't keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.
We have been giving our power to one group for so long, they no longer respect us or it. I truly doubt they ever did. They have their strategy. It works. They threw a few black people some crumbs to seem inclusive, but have not kept their promises to us. They constantly remind us how disadvantaged we, and our communities are, yet they have been the ones entrusted with the power of our vote, and caring for our communities for decades. How could we still be in the same position when it was their responsibility to fix it? Black lives do not matter to them, only green does. We cannot keep giving this power to the same people. Let the lives of those who fought for our right to vote mean something. Give it the dignity it deserves. Hold these leaders accountable for the promises they do not keep, and the lies they tell. It’s time to vote something other than Democrat. If you do it just one time, they will realize the black vote is not a guarantee.  Nor can it be manipulated. They have to work for it. They will change tactics.
And it’s the tactics that are most distressing. For the sake of political gain, this country gets ripped apart every few years. There is big money in racism, because it secures the loyalty of a swing voting bloc. Black folks. The media is complicit in this, they tell us all about the racism that is happening all around us. Don’t get me wrong. I want to hear about it. I want to join that fight, but I started to get a little concerned when I realized there were zero stories of white men being shot by white or black police. Am I to conclude that this never happens? Nowhere in the United States is a white man shot by a white or black police officer? Or a black man shot by a black officer? Hmmm. I guess there are no black officers in America. Just white ones bent on lynching.
Interestingly, there is also NO black on white crime in all the land. Black people never harm whites. It is always the other way around. I cannot remember hearing one incident of discrimination towards whites. It never happens. Black people are either perfectly discrimination free, or something more sinister is at play here. 
I’ve also watched breathless white reporters talk about the latest offensive statement by such and such. They were all just so offended. I was supposed to be outraged and offended too. They were appealing to that innate ignorance they think we all have. They have to tell black people when to be offended, because apparently, we don't know. 
The media’s obsession with race is sick, and hypocritical. Which “reporter” is going to look into why abortion rates is higher in the black community? That's a real race issue. Who is going to have the audacity to report on crimes in the black community? Crickets. Which one will examine democratic policies and the effects on the black community? I bet they would if they were having a remarkable success. Or they would do it if republicans were failing as miserably as they are there. We need to stop being used and letting people tell us what to think and act like. They don’t care about us. They don't know us. They never really did. They just know what we bought into and what has worked for the last 60 years. It’s time we show them that the black community, is more than eating hot sauce, quoting a spiritual and a Jay-Z concert. It is also more than voting for one party as Biden seems to think.
Now, at this point you are probably thinking, "Why make this political if you claim to be a Christian?" Simple. In the name of politics an entire group of Americans have been systemically oppressed by the Democrats. No, I do not think Republicans are blameless. They allowed the Democrats to corner the market on the black vote through their silence on black issues. The Democrats managed to advance the message that any other group than itself, is racist. Black Republicans can't even speak. White ones are running scared. They won't even talk about race for fear. Meanwhile, Democrats abused, ignored, and exploited the black community. They instituted the policies that have killed our children. Robbed us of growth, wealth and success. I will not be quiet because this is a political issue. It is a human issue. And these people owe us an apology for treating us like a whole lot less. They should be ashamed to ask for our vote despite failure, after failure, after failure. They should be ashamed to accuse other whites of being racists despite their record on the issue. They should be ashamed of pretending they understand blacks despite never addressing or offering anything other than handouts in the decades they've had our votes. They have no plan for us other than to keep us enslaved to their ideas. They have gone after our preachers and into our houses of faith, and perverted the only compass left among us. Our leaders have prostituted their positions for their advancement. Therefore, I will not be silent in the face of such brazen disregard for the soul of our community, and the cruel impacts their agenda has had on it. They are the ones who owe us an apology. They need to repent for continuing the evil handed down, and imposed upon our communities for a long time. Eugenics. Stagnation. The criminal injustice system.  Ghetto confinement via poverty. This is their legacy. They shouldn't be asking for our vote. They should be asking for our forgiveness. The scriptures teach God loves justice. Theirs is coming.  
God wants more for the black community. We matter greatly to Him. We are more. We can do, and be more. We need to return to the only ruler who has ever cared for us. God. His Word will never lead us wrong. Additionally, black Americans should get very familiar with the constitution. Despite its reputation, it is for us. I’m not the only one saying these things. People much smarter than I, are out there. Listen to Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, Voddie Baucham, Larry Elder, Candace Owens, and more. Hear them out. You have nothing to lose. It’s unfortunate that these voices are the ones dismissed. They are the ones that actually care. It’s hard to hear the truth sometimes, but only the people who love you will dare tell it to you in the way these people are doing. Resist the urge to think they are talking down to you. They are not. They are talking up to you because they believe you can understand. The ones selling you the same lines every election, but making no difference are the ones talking down to you. They are confident in your ignorance. That’s irreconcilably disrespectful. 
UNITY
The really neat thing about all of this is, there are so many loving people in America. In the midst of this mess we must push back against the harmful nonsense, and fight for each other. I refuse to believe all white people are racist. To do that would be to deny the strangers at the back of our neighborhood, who unprompted, offered me the use of their property. I would have to deny one of the friendliest most caring people I have ever met in my life, an officer who helped me at night in the rain, the firemen who helped me change a tire,  the one who wanted to help me install a car seat. An older white man from Louisiana who told me the secret to his gumbo recipe. These were all strangers. This list could go on for a yard if I included all my friends. Let’s not let evil separate us. That is the way it will conquer us.
Can this country stand to improve? Yes. Let’s do it together. Let’s talk to people, not shout and them and not shut them down. Any movement claiming that it is about equality, and shutting any one group of people down is lying. It’s about supremacy. We solve problems through unity and communication. Freedom makes connections.   
I would advise Americans, black and white to consider that not everything is about you. We've been engaged in the most self-absorbed discussion in our country. We have so monopolized the conversation, that Americans of other cultures can't even speak. "Racism" isn't all about you. Even the vilest of racism is at the core not about you. Nor is the greatest injustice just about you. It can affect you, but it is not about you. Evil just made you the excuse, the target, and regret just made you responsible. But others exist.  We must be moved by love, and consideration for each other not anger, or pity. The ignorance and guilt connected to those things wants to intimidate, and control us. Never let that happen. No one gets to define us but God. Anyone of us can be a victim of terrible things, hatred, rape, robbery, but we cannot allow it to make us its victim forever. As painful as it is, we must find a way forward. Perhaps that’s what Dr. King meant when he said, "If you fly then run, if can’t run, then walk, if you can’t walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward."  Love is the only way forward. Some of what’s happening in our country is very backwards. Resist it. Reach out to other people. It's easier to discriminate against whole groups of people when you don't personally know or love anyone from that group. The more people you know and love from that group, the harder it gets to disregard their collective humanity.
We need to learn to trust. Expecting a white person to be racist because he is white is also racist. I’ve been guilty of that. My past encounters shaped this few. In fact, I taught it to my children. I wanted to protect them. Based on my experiences, I taught them to learn to appreciate the Klan member in the sheet. At least he’s being honest. It’s the ones that act like your friends that are dangerous. Their robes are better hidden. I see now that I was teaching them suspicion. Essentially, "keep your discernment on a swivel around whites." I’ve had my own growing to do. We are all broken and far from perfect.
It’s God who makes the difference. I tend not to trust people. He made it clear to me that He’s not asking me to trust people. He’s asking me to trust Him, and to do what He says regarding them. The reality of this freed me. I had so much distrust for people, I had distrusted God who is faithful. That is the end result whenever we handle matters this way. We have a choice. Wherever we put up walls to reject pain, and stave off hurt, we hide it from God, from light. These hidden areas are the darkness in us. They never bring life. If we are open to the light, the truth, we begin to see so many instances aren’t even about race. Some of them are ignorance cast as "racism." I have witnessed things a black person have done, and shook my head in disbelief. If I can see it is ridiculous, white people can see too. Ignorance is ignorance race aside. Let's not apply intent where we are unaware of one. Nor, should we confuse how things make us feel, with how we should forgive.
SUPER SIMPLE SOLUTIONS
In the interest of healing, I think we need to get involved in the lives of people who don’t look like us. That might mean speaking to a neighbor, mentoring, or taking a dance class. It's surprising the bonds we can form through activity. It might even mean changing churches. There is no reason why the church should be segregated.
Find a cause in another community that you can champion. Get behind it, and get to know people as you do. Many of these things require little effort. They are things that we'd naturally support.
We don't need to expend our energy fighting issues that aren't real. Many of the grievances I’m hearing, I question and suspect that they are backdoors to invite chaos into our society. They would lay great foundations for other types of government. Black Lives Matter. Reparations. White Privilege. These are fronts, and excuses for other systems of control. That might sound harsh, but if you look at the solutions to these issues, you began to get an idea where advocates of "change" in these areas want to take this country. Hint: It's not closer to freedom and democracy. 
Let's not join the masses of those shouting rebellion and revolution. We know the real problem is good and evil. We also know the real solutions. Fast, pray and tell of God's goodness. We cannot neglect those. Cry out for the repentance, revival and restoration of man to his maker. The only sure way to end hatred is to introduce others to the love of God.   
Talk openly with each other. Risk the awkwardness and vulnerability. Prepare to be honest in those conversations. Expect to be hurt by them challenged by them, and patient in them. You are going to hear some crazy things. You are going to hear the truth. Don’t shut it down, even when painful. Truth is the only path forward.
Be courageous. Don't allow the insanity to shut you down.  Speak truth. This is a great country and it can be greater, but it won't be if we tear it to pieces because it's not perfect. If you can't be happy in American, and make it here, you won’t be satisfied anywhere.
Let go. Don't allow the weight of hate to pull you under. There is joy. Never let go of it. It is our strength. Believers have the fruit God's Spirit. We are equipped to triumph of the world, by overcoming evil with good.
Be courteous. The potential of such simple decency is stunning and disarming. Have the same regard for others. Don’t merely tolerate people. It shows. Be genuine. When you are in the public space do exactly what I see happening right now. Everyday people are a little bit kinder. There seems to be a silent conversation, and apologies passed among strangers in glances. We know this is crazy, and most of us don't agree. 
Black American, calm down, not everything is about race. White American, wake up, not everything isn’t. As long as we are alive there will always be someone trying to put us in our place to establish theirs. The harder we fight for each other, the less we'll have to fight with each other.
After all these words, there still scrolls left unsaid, but it all can be summed up in this: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Jesus- The only Justice.