I have been asked numerous times since Wednesday for my thoughts concerning #GeorgeFloyd. I am aware that even straightforward speech can be misinterpreted and misconstrued so I tread carefully.
I grew up in the dirty south, in one of the most racially-charged counties in America. I saw bigotry in church circles and school settings from a young age, and purposed, even before following Christ, that I would NEVER judge, marginalize, or ridicule someone for the color of their skin.
I am appalled and angered over the brutal and senseless treatment of George Floyd by those Minneapolis officers. What was done is wicked and all involved should be held accountable.
I LOVE the black/brown community. These men, women, and children are image-bearers of God, souls for whom Jesus died, and human-beings deserving of respect, honor, kindness, protection, and care.
I LOVE our law enforcement officers. There are dirty cops. There are also MANY good, hard-working, law-abiding cops who run into danger to protect and serve all people of any background, race, or political standing.
There are wicked people who do atrocious things in all sectors and settings. The wicked measures of a few should not define an entire people group or line of work.
I am disturbed by much of what I have heard and seen from multiple sides since Monday, even in the Christian community. I am grateful for the candid conversations I have been able to have with minority brothers and law enforcement officers in this past week and BELIEVE that many more caring conversations need to take place so that my mind can understand and my heart can care well for all who have been oppressed or marginalized.
I do not pretend to understand what it is like to grow up a minority in this country; and therefore will not callously dismiss the history, feelings, or fears of people of color. Such dismissive behavior is not love or wisdom and only further testifies to the reality of the problem.
I am a white, middle-class, conservative suburbanite who enjoys listening to classical music and reading a bunch of brilliant dead guys; I am also a Christian, a pastor, and the father of two adopted sons – one of which – Augustine – is a minority. I do fear for Augustine. I also fear for Spurgeon and my only biological child, Evangeline. The world is a hate-filled, violent place that should make any parent shudder. I do understand that Augustine, being black, will face threats and challenges that Spurgeon and Evangeline will never endure. I am praying and seeking counsel on how to prepare him for those.
I KNOW that the ONLY hope for true justice, the eradication of racism, bigotry, hatred, and the healing of the human heart is the Gospel of Jesus: a message that not only redefines our identity but reorients our behavior. I will stand against any form of hate. I will converse to hear and understand. I will stand for life, truth, unity, and genuine care. And since I believe that this is the way of Jesus, I will challenge all Christians to do the same.