Thoughts on Ferguson

Yesterday my friends Donna and Leroy Barber visited Antioch for a Q&A session on Ferguson and what it means for faith and race relations in America. They also stuck around for a conversation with students and others in the Kilns College community to discuss in greater depth the issues surrounding Ferguson and the deeper needs for knowledge, understanding and reconciliation regarding race in America.

Like many, I’ve watched more news in the last week than I can remember and have run the gamut of emotions. But mainly I have a deep sadness with regard to the lack of empathy that still seems to pervade much of culture regarding the dignity, worth and experience of people of color.

If I had found the voice to write a blog post in the middle of my own experience and emotion, I think it would have looked a lot like this one from my friend Kevin Butcher.

My mind and heart is a jumbled up and convoluted mess.  I’m sad and I’m angry and of course it’s about the confusion and deep and pervasive pain in Ferguson.  And if you aren’t sad and angry then I would say maybe something died inside of you a long time ago.  Because there’s a young man dead and parents who will never, ever get over it and there are businesses being burned and a whole lot of folks hating on one another and a whole bunch of others who are living in fear for their families…and so much more pain on so many levels.  But what makes me just as sad and just as angry is what Ferguson says about the state of relational affairs in our nation as a whole.  We didn’t just become a relational mess.  We’ve been a relational mess.  Ferguson simply displays the anger, tension and frustration that have been lingering beneath the surface of our lives…well, forever. Continue reading Kevin’s thoughts here.

I also really appreciate the tone and the balance of this piece by my friend David Bailey. As an African American musician and worship leader, he seeks to bring about reconciliation through songs and art. His call for broader relationship and diversity resonates deeply with me.

Are we listening? We as a Christian community have to learn to listen across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic lines. Our brothers and sisters in Ferguson are mourning without hope. Our brothers and sisters don’t feel heard and destroying property gives voice to the voiceless.

Now let me be clear, rioting is wrong. With that said, it’s important to understand that this type of rioting is a misplaced cry for shalom. The community in Ferguson is crying out for things to be woven back together the way that God intended them to be.

It is clear that we have a significant population of people in America who do not believe that the justice system is fair to ALL people and we have some other people who believe that the justice system is perfectly fine. No matter what your opinion is on the matter, this reality is not Shalom, therefore we need to pray…

Come, Lord, Come! Read the rest of David’s post here

Below is a short clip from Askquestions.tv from Leroy Barber – it’s a passionate plea for standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters.

In all of the debates that continue to swirl around, I keep being reminded of the late Steven Covey’s words that we should “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

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Categories: Justice & Culture

Theology and Culture