It’s been one hell of a week. I am preparing to leave on a middle school mission trip, it’s VBS week here at the church, and yet again our news and social media feeds are filled with sadness, death, division, and hate. It’s been one hell of a week.
From tweets praising the death of “thugs” or police officers, to social media blasts arguing about whose life matters more than the other, it has been a dark week in our country.
Last Sunday, just a few days after the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philandro Castile, Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Lorne Ahren, and Michael Smith I joined in prayer with 2 newly minted sixth graders. I had the Sunday school lesson prepped before I knew which students would be joining me. When the newly minted sixth graders walked in I thought, “well crap!” In my mind I was not sure if these pre-middle school teenage stench sixth graders would understand what had happened in the days leading up to this class.
A few weeks ago, right around the middle of June, I had the opportunity to talk with Fleming Rutledge again. Fleming has quickly become a regular on the podcast and I think most listeners prefer to listen to her over me (even though I have a sexy radio voice). Our conversation was centered around the tragic and senseless shooting that occurred in June at a nightclub in Orlando. What I discovered while editing that episode was that I could remove the word Orlando and switch it with Dallas and the episode wouldn’t miss a beat.
I hope you’ll take sometime to listen to Fleming’s thoughts.
Walking away from the conversation I had with Fleming and then praying with students who at times are deemed too immature to understand, I am lost. During the “oh crap” prayer time I had with those middle school boys it dawned on me that they got it. Even from position of privilege as middle-class-white-suburbanites, they got it.
These boys understood that racial tensions in the United States are at an all-time high.
These boys understood that violence against African Americans at the hands of the police is a shameful disgrace that our country has been ignoring for too long.
These boys understood that their role as disciples of Christ thrusts them into the mix of the chaos and burning that our country is experiencing.
These boys understood that as disciples of Christ they cannot remain silent.
If these boys get it why then is it that others, mostly adults, do not get it?
If these boys get it why is it that some don’t see a problem with African American men being killed by police?
If these boys get it why is that some in the church don’t see death, any death, as a time for prayer and mourning?
I just don’t understand. If these boys got it, why can’t we? Why can’t I see it? Why have I been silent for too long?
I hope this conversation I had with Fleming & Jason helps you process the events of the last week. I do not have an answer but I know we need to start talking about it, and the very least learn something from my middle school boys.
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