In Wrath Remember Mercy

2020-06-27 In Wrath Remember Mercy
Sometimes I go through valleys that seem very deep.  Not philosophically, but deep with depression and wondering where is The God Who Is Here.  Is He here?  Does He notice what is going on in the world?  Does He realize my dear friend and neighbor has been getting more and more decrepit from his MS?  Does He see the pain of the protesters and the greed and hatred of others?  Does He understand the hardship of a world struggling with a pandemic while racial riots rock cities all around the globe?

Like Habakkuk I sit back and wonder as I noted in a : O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,and you will not hear?  Or cry to you “Violence!” and you will not save?  Why do you make me see iniquity, and why do you idly look at wrong?  Destruction and violence are before me; strife and contention arise.  So the law is paralyzed, and justice never goes forth.  For the wicked surround the righteous; so justice goes forth perverted.” (Habakkuk 1:2-4)

Then I read Father’s answer that He gave the prophet, and like our Old Testament forebear I am somewhat perturbed by His reply.  He’s going to bring something terrible against the evil-doers . . . by way of others who are even worse!  My wisest friend once asked me shortly after the election of 2016, “Do you think Trump could be part of God’s judgment on America?”

And whether he or Obama was the first run of this performance, are the current health and racial trials the second part of Father’s response?  You who are of purer eyes than to see evil and cannot look at wrong, why do you idly look at traitors and remain silent when the wicked swallows up the man more righteous than he?” (Habakkuk 1:13)

So Habakkuk stands and waits for God to answer to this second question, which The God Who Is Here resoundingly answers in chapter 2:
“Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own — for how long? . . .
“Woe to him who gets evil gain for his house, to set his nest on high, to be safe from the
reach of harm! . . .
“Woe to him who builds a town with blood
and founds a city on iniquity! . . .
“Woe to him who makes his neighbors drink . . .in order to gaze at their nakedness! . . .
“The violence . . . will overwhelm you, as will the destruction of the beasts that terrifie
d them,
for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them.

Such is His fury that the prophet, who at first was demanding God do something about the evil he could see, stands and prays, “In wrath remember mercy!” (Habakkuk 3:2), and finally admits his fear: I hear, and my body trembles; my lips quiver at the sound; rottenness enters into my bones; my legs tremble beneath me.” (Habakkuk 3:16)

And so in the quiet time of my depression I ask the protesters, the anti-protesters, the mask-wearers, the mask-avoiders, on whatever side of the political, social or cultural aisles you may be: Please, in wrath, remember mercy.

And I pray with the prophet to the God Who Is Here, Father, please, in Your wrath, remember mercy.

A Memory From My Dad From 2 Corinthians 4

2020-06-20 Dad in Kansas City 1975
Dad in K.C., KS 1975

My Dad died at age 73 from complications with Parkinson’s Disease in 1993.  He was a believer before any of his children were born.  He and Mother met at an evangelistic rally she and a colleague held in Paradise, Kansas, as war was about to be declared by the U.S.  She and her friend had graduated from Foursquare Life Bible College in California and were having meetings in small towns around the Midwest, and as they say, “The rest is history.”  Married, a short stint on a recon team in France, farming in Brookfield, Missouri, two daughters and my brother after the war ended, a move to Kansas City, Kansas, and the only Kansas “Sunflower” since Daddy was me! 🙂

Some of my earliest memories include learning to read from the Bible sitting on his or Mother’s lap, and learning to count as they pointed to the verse numbers as we had “family devotions.”  He taught adult Sunday School with more students in his classes than many churches of the time.  It was in Victoria Tabernacle where attendance ran around 500, a feat almost unheard of before Calvary Chapel and Westside Assembly of God ran into the thousands.  Back then the very few biggest “megachurches” ran between one and 2000.

Dad was not an easy man to get to know, a characteristic of his era where men were admired for being strong and silent.  When asked if he loved his family it is reported that he answered, “I put a roof over their heads, clothes on their backs, food on the table and give them wheels when they’re old enough to drive.  What more is a man supposed to do?”  Yes, he loved us as much as he understood of love, which was a lot more than we realized as children.  I never saw his chest swell larger with pride than when my brother spoke and played piano at Victoria Tabernacle while home on a visit from college.

In the 60s the hippies of California preached a humanistic “love gospel” that slipped over the Midwest to embrace Woodstock, NY, before permeating back through the Rockies and the Pennsylvania forests to finally meet in Missouri where I was in college, getting ready to go to Alaska for a summer program.  The summer turned into a year, and at 20 years old I would spend my first Christmas away from family.

I remember calling my parents in August, 1972, from my boss’s office and telling them he had invited me to stay on for a year.  Asking them to get on extensions so both could hear, it was a joy to get their encouragement.  Dad said he would pray that I would do a good job and be a blessing in Alaska which Mother affirmed.

I had never heard anyone in my family say, “I love you” to another person.  That does not mean they had not said it, just not in my hearing.  But I had heard a sermon about the love of God and its implications to our relationships the previous semester, the first one I had ever heard on that topic.  Just before saying goodbye, with a lump in my throat I meekly said, “Dad and Mom, I love you.” . . . Dead silence on the phone for what seemed like forever but was only moments, Mom spoke up first. “Well, we love you, too.”  Then Dad spoke, “Yeah, son, we love you.  Now do a good job up there in Alaska.”

When I returned home, Mother met me at the airport, and when Dad came home, as we started to shake hands, he pulled me closer and I realized we were going to hug.  And that became a pattern whenever I would be gone for a season, first to finish college, then to my first job, then through career changes.  Whenever I came home, Dad and I would shake hands and it would turn into a warm hug.

For families today, any Dad that does not provide physical support to his children is tantamount to child abuse, but back then most of my friends were surprised if they saw Dad and me hug each other.  Their dads did not do that, and these were dads that I know loved their sons as much as mine loved me.

Dad had to take early retirement from a long career as a local truck driver due to progression of his Parkinson’s.  His feet could not move quickly enough any more to drive the big rigs safely, so at 63 he began to relax and drive Mom up a wall with being underfoot until she discovered their mutual love of the Kansas City Royals baseball team.

Just before he died in 1993 we visited in his hospital room and I asked him, “Dad, I know you’ve taught the Bible longer than I’ve been alive, but I remember one of the things you taught was to never assume someone knows Jesus, no matter how religious they may be. . . .  So Dad, do you know you’ll go to Heaven if you die?”  To my delight he smiled at first before breaking into a small laugh as he assured me, “Yes, son, I know Jesus is my savior, and you know, based on Psalm 90, I owe the Lord three “years of grace” over the 70 that we are supposed to get.”  So we talked more about Father’s love for us and the grace that he gives.

In 1996 I was mulling over these events and penned the following song that I wish someone could sing for you.  The music is pretty good and if I ever get someone to show me how to load videos to YouTube, and get a vocalist who can do the song justice, and maybe my brother or brother-in-law to play it, I’ll post an edit to this blog.

In the meantime, here is my memory of my Daddy and his Years of Grace, until I worship Jesus alongside of him:

Years of Grace (A memory of my dad from 2 Corinthians 4) ©May 14, 1996

1. My father laid before me, his body trembling like a leaf.

He said, “Son, I know the Lord Jesus, and I’m ready for Heaven’s relief.

He’s blessed me each year of my seventy-three, and though just a blink of His eye,

That’s three Years of Grace to give back to the Lord when to His presence I fly.”

 

Chorus
“These are the Years of Grace that the Lord has given to me,
And though I long to see His face, there may be reasons I cannot see
To keep me here in this time and place to learn to serve Him more faithfully.
Though outside we appear to be dying, inside the light of Jesus is shining.
He put such treasures in this earthen vase in these Years of Grace.”

 2. Years ago I left the Way to chase the pleasure of sin,
But Dad prayed and God bore my abuse of His grace to bring me back to repentance again.
So Dad and I spoke of the mysteries of faith and the mercies of God in the night,
And we realized each year was a year of God’s grace bringing us into His light.

3. Then I laid his hand upon my head and said, “Dad, say a prayer for me.”
And like the patriarchs of days long ago he prayed for his whole family.
He named each of us God had put in his care and prayed the light afflictions we feel
Would work in us a greater eternal reward and the weight of God’s glory reveal.

4. So we’re troubled on every side, yet we are not distressed.
We’re never abandoned nor in despair, though persecuted or perplexed.
We may be struck down, but we are not destroyed, for we know His surpassing might
Reveals through our bodies, for Jesus’ sake, His life and His glorious light.

5. Two weeks later my sister called. The Lord had taken Dad home.
His spirit was free from its crumbling shell, from all of earth’s pain he had flown.
I can picture him bowing before the Throne with all the saints who are saved
And singing as angels stand silently by of the Years of Grace the Lord gave.

See you soon Dad, your younger son.

Guest Blog by Jay Stalien, Dallas Police Officer, posted on FB on June 7, 2020

This guest blog, a little longer than the usual, was intended for this Saturday.  However, with the rapidly changing situation in Lexington and other cities, it seemed this would be worth reading ASAP.  And Jay’s post is certainly worth reading!  Also, please, pray for Jay and his wife and child, that he will continue to serve his community with strength, bravery and honor and that he will return safely after each shift to his family.

2020-06-20 Guest BlogI have come to realize something that is still hard for me to understand to this day.  The following may be a shock to some coming from an African-American, but the mere fact that it may be shocking to some is prima facie evidence of the sad state of affairs that we are in as humans.

I used to be so torn inside growing up.  Here I am, a young African-American born and raised in Brooklyn, NY wanting to be a cop.  I watched and lived through the crime that took place in the hood.  My own black people killing others over nothing.  Crack heads and heroin addicts lined the lobby of my building as I shuffled around them to make my way to our one-bedroom apartment with six of us living inside.  I used to be woken up in the middle of the night by the sound of gun fire, only to look outside and see that it was two African-Americans shooting at each other.

It never sat right with me.  I wanted to help my community and stop watching the blood of African-Americans spilled on the street at the hands of a fellow black man.  I became a cop because black lives in my community, along with ALL lives, mattered to me, and I wanted to help stop the bloodshed.

As time went by in my law enforcement career, I quickly began to realize something.  I remember the countless times I stood two inches from a young black man, around my age, lying on his back, gasping for air as blood filled his lungs.  I remember him bleeding profusely with the unforgettable smell of deoxygenated dark red blood in the air, as it leaked from the bullet holes in his body on to the hot sidewalk on a summer day.  I remember the countless family members who attacked me, spit on me, cursed me out, as I put up crime scene tape to cordon off the crime scene, yelling and screaming out of pain and anger at the sight of their loved one taking his last breath.  I never took it personally; I knew they were hurting.  I remember the countless times I had to order new uniforms, because the ones I had on were bloody from the blood of another black victim … of black on black crime.  I remember the countless times I got back in my patrol car, distraught after having watched another black male die in front me, having to start my preliminary report something like this:  Suspect – Black/ Male, Victim – Black /Male.

I remember the countless times I canvassed the area afterwards, and asked everyone “Did you see who did it?”, and the popular response from the very same family members was always, “F*** the Poleec, I ain’t no snitch; I’m gonna take care of this myself.”  This happened every single time, every single homicide, black on black, and then my realization became clearer.

I woke up every morning, put my freshly pressed uniform on, shined my badge, function-checked my weapon, kissed my wife and kid, and waited for my wife to say the same thing she always does before I leave, “Make sure you come back home to us.”  I always replied, “I will,” but the truth was I was never sure if I would.  I almost lost my life on this job, and every call, every stop, every moment that I had this uniform on, was another possibility for me to almost lose my life again.  I was a target in the very community I swore to protect, the very community I wanted to help.  As a matter of fact, they hated my very presence.  They called me “Uncle Tom”, and “wanna-be-white-boy,” and I couldn’t understand why.  My own fellow black men and women attacking me, wishing for my death, wishing for the death of my family.  I was so confused, so torn, I couldn’t understand why my own black people would turn against me, when every time they called … I was there.  Every time someone died … I was there.  Every time they were going through one of the worst moments in their lives … I was there.  So why was I the enemy?  I dove deep into that question … Why was I the enemy?  Then my realization became clearer.

I spoke to members of the community and listened to some of the complaints as to why they hated cops.  I then did research on the facts.  I also presented facts to these members of the community and listened to their complaints in response.

This is what I learned:
Complaint: Police always targeting us; they always messing with the black man.
Fact: A city where the majority of citizens are black (Baltimore, for example) … will ALWAYS have a higher rate of black people getting arrested; it will ALWAYS have a higher rate of blacks getting stopped; and will ALWAYS have a higher rate of blacks getting killed, and the reason why is because a city with those characteristics will ALWAYS have a higher rate of blacks committing crime.  The statistics will follow the same trend for Asians if you go to China, for Hispanics if you go to Puerto Rico, for whites if you go to Russia, and the list goes on.  It’s called Demographics.

Complaint: More black people get arrested than white boys.
Fact: Black People commit a grossly disproportionate amount of crime.  Data from the FBI shows that nationwide, blacks committed 5,173 homicides in 2014, whites committed 4,367.  Chicago’s death toll is almost equal to that of both wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, combined.  Chicago’s death toll from 2001 – November 26, 2015 stands at 7,401.  The combined total deaths during Operation Iraqi Freedom (2003 – 2015: 4,815) and Operation Enduring Freedom/Afghanistan (2001 – 2015: 3,506): total 8,321.

Complaint: Blacks are the only ones getting killed by police, or they are killed more.
Fact: As of July 2016, the breakdown of the number of US citizens killed by police this year is, 238 white people killed; 123 black people killed; 79 Hispanics; 69 other/or unknown race.

Fact: Black people kill more blacks than police do, but there are only protests and outrage when a cop kills a black man.  University of Toledo criminologist Dr. Richard R. Johnson examined the latest crime data from the FBI’s Supplementary Homicide Reports and Centers for Disease Control and found that an average of 4,472 black men were killed by other black men annually between Jan. 1, 2009, and Dec. 31, 2012.  Professor Johnson’s research further concluded that 112 black men died from both justified and unjustified police-involved killings annually during this same period.

Complaint: Well, we already doing a good job of killing ourselves; we don’t need the police to do it.  Besides they should know better.
The more I listened, the more I realized.  I would ask questions and would only get emotional responses and inferences without any basis in facts at all.  The more killing I saw, the more tragedy, the more savagery, the more violence, the more loss of life of black men at the hands of other black men … the more I realized.

I have not slept well in the past few nights. Heartbreak weighs me down, rage flows through my veins, and tears fills my eyes.  I watched my fellow officers assassinated on live television, and the images of them laying on the ground are seared into my brain forever.  I couldn’t help but wonder if it had been me, a black man, a black cop, on TV, assassinated, laying on the ground dead … would my friends and family still think black lives mattered?  Would my life have mattered?  Would they make t-shirts in remembrance of me?  Would they go on tv and protest the violence?  Would they even make a Facebook post, or share a post in reference to my death?

All of my realizations came to this conclusion.  Black Lives do not matter to most black people.  Only the lives that make the national news matter to them.  Only the lives that are taken at the hands of cops or white people matter.  The other thousands of lives lost, the other black souls that I along with every cop, have seen taken at the hands of other blacks, do not matter.  Their deaths are unnoticed, accepted as the “norm,” and swept underneath the rug by the very people who claim and post “black lives matter.”

I realized that this country is full of ignorance, where an educated individual will watch the ratings-driven news media, and watch a couple YouTube video clips, and then come to the conclusion that they have all the knowledge they need to have in order to know what it feels like to have a bullet proof vest as part of your office equipment, “Stay Alive” as part of your daily to do list, and having insurance for your health insurance because of the high rate of death in your profession.  They watch a couple videos and then they magically know in two minutes 35 seconds how you are supposed to handle a violent encounter, which took you six months of Academy training, two to three months of field training, and countless years of blood, sweat, tears and broken bones experiencing violent encounters and fine tuning your execution of the Use of Force Continuum.

I realized that there are even cops, COPS, duly sworn law enforcement officers, who are supposed to be decent investigators, who will publicly go on the media and call other white cops racists and KKK.

I realized that most in the African-American community refuse to look at solving the bigger problem that I see and deal with every day, which is black-on-black crime taking hundreds of innocent black lives each year, and instead focus on the nine questionable deaths of black men, where some were in the act of committing crimes.  I realized that they value the life of a sex offender and convicted felon, (who was in the act of committing multiple felonies: felon in possession of a firearm – FELONY; brandishing and threatening a homeless man with a gun-Aggravated Assault in Florida – FELONY; who resisted officers who first tried to taze him, and WAS NOT RESTRAINED, who can be clearly seen in one of the videos raising his right shoulder, then shooting it down towards the right side of his body exactly where the firearm was located and recovered) more than the lives of the innocent cops who were assassinated in Dallas protecting the very people that hated them the most.

I realized that they refuse to believe that most cops acknowledge that there are bad cops who should have never been given a badge and gun, who are chicken s*** and will shoot a cockroach if it crawls at them too fast, who never worked in the hood and may be intimidated.  That most cops dread the thought of having to shoot someone, and never see the turmoil and mental anguish that a cop goes through after having to kill someone to save his own life.  Instead they believe that we are all blood thirsty killers, because the media says so, even though the numbers prove otherwise.

I realize that they truly feel as if the death of cops will help people realize the false narrative that Black Lives Matter, when all it will do is take their movement two steps backwards and label them domestic terrorists.  I realized that some of these people, who say Black Lives Matter, are full of hate and racism.  Hate for cops, because of the false narrative that more black people are targeted and killed.  Racism against white people, for a tragedy that began 100s of years ago, when most of the white people today weren’t even born yet.

I realized that for some in the African-American community, their idea of “justice” is the prosecution of ANY and EVERY cop or white man that kills or is believed to have killed a black man, no matter what the circumstances.  I realized the African-American community refuses to look within to solve its major issues, and instead makes excuses and looking outside for solutions.

I realized that a lot of people in the African-American community lead with hate, instead of love, division instead of unity, turmoil and rioting instead of peace.  I realized that they have become the very entity that they claim they are fighting against.

I realized that the very reasons I became a cop are the very reasons my own people hate me, and now in this toxic hateful racially charged political climate, I am now more likely to die … and it is still hard for me to understand … to this day.
_______________________________________________________________________
I wrote the above in 2016 after Dallas police officers were assassinated during a protest.

Do I still feel the same?  Yes.  Even more so now with current affairs.  Officer Chauvin is a piece of s***.  George Floyd did not deserve to die.  However, the media is painting all cops and white people with the same brush.  That is wrong.

The African American community has bigger problems that are ignored and swept under a rug.  It has become taboo to speak about, and my own people lash out at me as if I am against them.  I am not.  I want success and prosperity for the black community. However, no success in any aspect of life, comes without SELF-improvement and ACCOUNTABILITY for our own decisions.  This is fact and cannot be ignored.  We will not move forward as a community and experience the prosperity we deserve, until we improve and LOVE ourselves.

Again, just to be clear … Officer Chauvin is indeed a piece of s*** and is not a reflection of most cops.  Most of us hate what he did and feel torn inside for what happened.  As a cop, I am sorry for what happened.  It never should have.  There is no excuse.  At the same time, I will not do what most are doing, which is painting this as THE issue, and ignore the bigger issues within our community.

2020-06-20 Black Lives Matter
Officers who paid the ultimate price for protecting their community.

2020-06-20 Guest Blog - Black Lives Matter

Gentleness In An Angry World

2020-06-15 Gentleness In An Angry World
This guest blog was what was intended for posting last Saturday, June 13, 2020, but was delayed because of WordPress’s frustratingly opaque system of sites added on top of each other that resulted in my losing control of THIS site when I deleted ‘dummy sites’ on which I was trying to practice.  Talk about an object lesson!  So I need to read this over a few times to relearn its lessons that Ms. Laura presents.

The context for this blog is the current outrage in our nation, the intention to “defund the police” in various cities and threats of violence to resolve the tragic murder by police officers of an unarmed black man, George Floyd.  This is compounded by the tension that has been building up under “stay-at-home” orders from the Wuhan Virus restrictions that have messed up so many incomes and family structures.

Laura H. calls us to rediscover the aspect of the fruit of the Spirit, gentleness.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, GENTLENESS, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.” (Galatians 5:22-24)

___________________________________________________
by Laura H. of Christar; https://www.christar.org/
Our world is angry, fed up and disgusted about so much right now. It aches for renewal and restoration. Everyone’s got an opinion on everything. On social media, we scream at each other and into echo chambers, furious about racial injustice, police brutality, wearing masks, not wearing masks, economic relief, overcoming the pandemic, all while we wade through a political madness thick with derision.

These things must matter to us who follow Christ. I want you to care and fight for what is right. I want you to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. But, pick a current event and you and I will certainly find something we disagree about.

Let’s complicate matters and layer our global and national turmoil onto our personal piles of struggle. What cracks in your peace become harsh footholds for erosion and brokenness to take hold? For me, it’s my depression, my stress about my café surviving a pandemic, my deep sadness about my family’s current grief, my unfulfilled career goals. What is keeping you up at night that has little to do with the rest of the world’s issues: your panic attacks, your financial worry, your unfulfilled dreams, your craving for approval?

Under all of this, how can you and I demonstrate gentleness in this world? How can we humbly co-exist with differing viewpoints? Even within our churches and mission organizations, how do we settle on an agreement to keep from arguing with each other because our theology differs? Is it even possible?

If you, my African-American sister in Christ, do not sense that I care about your black life, will you ever feel comfortable serving beside me? If you see no point in wearing masks, but I do, will I not resent you for your ignorance and won’t you in turn resent me for my naiveté? If, in five years, you, a Republican, find yourself on the field on the same team with me, a Democrat, will we irritate each other?

Life on the field has just as much conflict and dissension. If our societal and personal conflicts continue to muddle the waters of our teams and our relationships, how can we ever move past pain and distrust on the field? And if we can’t do that, how will we show the world what reconciliation even is? And if we aren’t willing to humbly reduce our tendencies to badger one another, reducing His message of hope to screaming our truth and retreating to our like-minded safety nets, how will Christ’s name be glorified? But it is also not enough to plug our ears and do nothing. So what can we do?

There are a million steps to get to a place in life where these questions reach resolution, but gentleness, manifested as a humble, uninhibited effort toward “bearing with one another” (Ephesians 4:2), is a good place to start.

Gentleness shows up in a heart-felt apology when you realize you have wronged a sibling, a boss or a teammate.
It is in the patience for a neighbor who puts up political signs you plan to vote against.
It shows up in a peaceful protest for justice.
It is asking grieving friends how you can help, sitting with them as they weep.
It is humbly considering if your worldview needs to be realigned after years of assumptions that you are right and others are wrong.
It is listening more than you talk.
It is speaking up when silence sends the wrong message.

We feel the heaviness of our world. So does our Lord. During His years on this earth, Jesus was tired. He was grieved. He was moved with compassion. He wept. It is right to wrestle with the weightiness of a world awaiting renewal as we prepare for cross-cultural ministry right here, right now. We are permitted to struggle as we work to reconcile our view of the world with a life modeling Christ. Jesus was “gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29). He is the calm, the peace and the rest for the weary.

As you reflect on all the heavy issues our world and nation are working through, humbly allow God to help you grow in your ability to approach and respond to hard situations with gentleness.

Intermezzo: WordPress Aggravations

Angry emoticon  This is an intermezzo blog, i.e. one between my Saturday/Sunday blogs, just to express my frustration with my PAID site at WordPress.com.  I was trying to experiment with a homepage so that when someone comes here, they can look up a basic philosophy of life page, my bio, and then sorted blogs based on themes.

To attempt the experimental pages I opened “New Sites” on the Dashboard, but when everything new required a special block editor, “Gutenbooger,” I decided to quit trying.  Seems any new sites one opens now MUST use WP’s stupid block editor unless you have a Business or higher fee site, in which case you can upload a Classic Editor plugin.

So after deleting the ‘dummy sites’ I was locked out of this regular blog site (which has a grand-fathered-in access to the Classic Editor).  After four days of lousy advice from WP and sites online telling me how to do what I had already tried and a couple of angry sessions with someone else over how to do this, I finally got some good direction from one of the WP forums.

Instead of logging in with my email which would take me to a ‘dead’ dummy site which no longer existed, he suggested I log in with my user id, and THAT finally worked!

My aggravation is that whenever some company, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, Google, WP, etc., becomes too big for their britches they lose contact with the little guys they originally intended to serve.  Similar to government?

So I’ll probably stay here with WP as long as they allow the Classic Editor at my level of subscription.  They say until 2022.  But just in case, I’m saving all my blogs off line so that I can move everything to another smaller platform where you can call and speak to a human for less than $99 if you ever need help. (I did NOT pay for “concierge service”!)

Just venting today, but got my blog site back.  Maybe later, I’ll get some help from someone who knows how to set up a homepage without messing up this blog site and having to beg for help from a dehumanizing impersonal corporation. 😦

Intermezzo: Condoleeza Rice for President? 😉

2020-06-08 Rice for President

Somewhat tongue-in-cheek as the former Secretary of State acknowledges at the end of this CBS interview that she is not currently interested in the political arena.  However, her demeanor, her unifying words and gracious acknowledgement of individual responsibilities to make a difference in our society raises my esteem for her, and raises the question of who I would like to vote for in 2020.  She would definitely be at the top of my list as a woman of color who speaks with wisdom, compassion and forward-looking vision.

“I would ask the president to first and foremost speak in the language of unity, the language of empathy . . . I’ve heard the president talk about the resilience of Americans. I’d love to hear more of that.
“Twitter and tweeting are not great ways for complex thoughts, for complex messages.  When the president speaks, it needs to be from a place of thoughtfulness, from a place of having really honed the message so that it reaches all Americans.
“And by the way, not just the president.  I would love to hear this from our leaders in Congress on both sides of the aisle.  I would love to hear from mayors and from governors and from others.  Leaders at this particular point need to do everything that they can to overcome, not intensify our divisions.”

The interview with its transcription at the link here is worth your 13 minutes to hear.
https://news.yahoo.com/face-nation-condoleezza-rice-dr-162643202.html

Further, take a look at the excellent movie, Just Mercy, based on the true story of Bryan Stevenson’s search for justice for death row inmates in Alabama.

This movie does not condone those who are guilty of crimes, but addresses the reality that Ms. Rice spoke of growing up in Alabama during the era of Jim Crow:  “But I will tell you, as somebody who grew up in Birmingham, Alabama, Jim Crow Alabama, when if a black man was shot by a policeman, it wouldn’t have even been a footnote in the newspaper.”

These are complicated problems and require more than a Tweet or photo-op to resolve.  We need more leaders like Condoleeza Rice with desire to unify, heal and advance conservativism in American politics.

So, Condoleeza Rice for President?  We can dream. 🙂

How Long, Oh LORD, How Long?

Today’s blog is mostly quotes of wiser men and women than me as they try to lift us out of the morass of hatred into which our nation and the world is falling.  My heart grieves for George Floyd, his family, the blacks of our nation; our churches, our cities, our political, religious and social leaders; our law enforcers, our country and the world that is being deceived by the Evil One.  Yes, Virginia, there really is a devil, and he comes to kill and destroy. (John 10:10

“O Lord, how long shall I cry for help,
    and you will not hear?
Or cry to you ‘Violence!’
    and you will not save?
Why do you make me see iniquity,
    and why do you idly look at wrong?
Destruction and violence are before me;
    strife and contention arise.
So the law is paralyzed,
    and justice never goes forth.
For the wicked surround the righteous;
    so justice goes forth perverted.”
  Habakkuk 1:2-4

In a Facebook post reflecting on the [George Floyd] case, Heritage Foundation President Kay C. James called herself “frustrated and exhausted.” 
“Black Americans like myself sit up at night with all the normal fears any parent would have when their kids are out, but have to add to that worry that they may not make it home just because they are black males.
“I was stunned years ago when I realized that my white friends did not have have ‘the talk’ with their sons.”  

A Prayer of Lament by: Mark Vroegop  
“O Lord, how long will your church be divided along racial lines?  How long will the lingering effects of animosity, injustice, and pride mark your blessed bride?  How long, O Lord, will my white brothers and sisters not understand the pain in those whose experience is different than ours?  How long, O Lord, will my minority brothers and sisters struggle with distrust and feel ostracized?”  (Mark Vroegop has been the Caucasian Lead Pastor of College Park Church in Indianapolis since 2008.)

“We must listen to each other, show compassion and empathy and never turn our backs on senseless brutality.  We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability.  Every one of us needs to be a part of the solution, and we must work together to ensure justice for all.  My heart goes out to the family of George Floyd and the countless others whose lives have been brutally and senselessly taken through acts of racism and injustice.” Michael Jordan

“As the nation’s capital we applaud the American spirit of protest, especially protest to the federal government.  However, we will not allow continued destruction of our hometown.  Every single American should be outraged by the murder of George Floyd.  However, smashed windows and looting are becoming a bigger story than the broken system that got us here.  I want to implore our residents to think of ways to help and be part of the solution and not be part of the destruction.  We want your voices to be heard, but we also want to protect the safety of everyone in our city.”  Muriel Bowser, the African-American mayor of Washington, D.C.

“I’m duty-bound to be here to simply say that it is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy.  It is your duty to fortify your own house so that you might be a house or refuge in times of organization, and now is the time to plot, plan, strategized, organize and mobilize. It is time to beat up prosecutors you don’t like at the voting booth.  It is time to hold mayoral offices accountable, chiefs and deputy chiefs.  Atlanta is not perfect, but we are a lot better than we ever were.” Michael Santiago Render, a rapper better known by his stage name, Killer Mike

“This shouldn’t be ‘normal’ in 2020 America. It can’t be ‘normal.’ If we want our children to grow up in a nation that lives up to its highest ideals, we can and must be better.  This can be a real turning point if we can channel our justifiable anger into peaceful, sustained, and effective action.
“The small minority of folks who’ve resorted to violence in various forms, whether out of genuine anger or mere opportunism, are putting innocent people at risk, compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment and detracting from the larger cause.  Let’s not excuse violence, or rationalize it, or participate in it.  If we want our criminal justice system, and American society at large, to operate on a higher ethical code, then we have to model that code ourselves.”
  Barack Obama, one of our most divisive presidents who did the least to benefit African-Americans since Richard Nixon.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.  Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction. The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.” Martin Luther King Jr, 1963

I am reminded of the Aesop’s fable, “The North Wind and the Sun.”
The North Wind and the Sun had a quarrel about which of them was the stronger. While they were disputing with much heat and bluster, a Traveler passed along the road wrapped in a cloak.
“Let us agree,” said the Sun, “that he is the stronger who can strip that Traveler of his cloak.”
“Very well,” growled the North Wind, and at once sent a cold, howling blast against the Traveler.
With the first gust of wind the ends of the cloak whipped about the Traveler’s body. But he immediately wrapped it closely around him, and the harder the Wind blew, the tighter he held it to him. The North Wind tore angrily at the cloak, but all his efforts were in vain.
Then the Sun began to shine. At first his beams were gentle, and in the pleasant warmth after the bitter cold of the North Wind, the Traveler unfastened his cloak and let it hang loosely from his shoulders. The Sun’s rays grew warmer and warmer. The man took off his cap and mopped his brow. At last he became so heated that he pulled off his cloak, and, to escape the blazing sunshine, threw himself down in the welcome shade of a tree by the roadside.
Gentleness and kind persuasion win where force and bluster fail.

And finally:
“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” (Apostle Paul to the Romans 15:5-7)

Keep praying and living for peace and justice.  Never stop until we see Him face to face.
We Shall Behold Him sung by Vickie Winans