Back to Basics, Part 1

©SamanthaSophia

©SamanthaSophia

I don’t know about you, but I find the more I hear disparate (and angrily stated) points of view about politics, values or theology, the more I feel my heart and mind under spiritual attack.

The more I recall this country’s history, understand and see evidence of our division, the heavier my heart is. Still vivid in my memory from 24 years ago is the vicious beating of Rodney King, the subsequent, atrocious beating of Reginald Denny and the riots in Los Angeles. We have not come very far, and I cannot simply let go of the events of last week. I cannot simply forget and move on.

Speaking with a friend of mine early this week, I listened to stories of her upbringing in Mississippi. Her childhood memories still vivid of walking past black men swinging from trees on her way to school, she visits a different world when she travels back to see her mother who still lives there. She tells me,

“Signs on public bathrooms still say, ‘Colored’ and ‘Whites Only.’ And when you walk into a restaurant, it’s understood which section of the restaurant you can sit in. You might legislate integration, but you’ll never legislate the heart.”

This is when I must go back to basics. This is when I go back into the heart of the One who was lynched for all of us. This is when I reread the Gospels for the actual words of Jesus. As I do so, I keep in mind what I have learned in a wide variety of Bible interpretation classes, studies and books:

  • Recognize and appreciate the frame of reference – the history and the audience being addressed.
  • Understand the context; never read just a verse, read the entire paragraph or chapter.
  • Don’t rely on just one Bible version or translation; compare and read parallel versions.
  • Repeated statements are the significant principles requiring our attention.

I cannot read the Sermon on the Mount or the Parable of the Two Sons or the Allegory of the Sheep and the Goats without being reminded of the paradigm shift in thinking Jesus brought to us from our Father – the thinking we still seem hesitant to adopt.

Contained in these words are principles of humility, forgiveness, grace, generosity, compassion – and most of all love. This is the paradigm shift of which Jesus spoke, and He put His actions solidly behind His words. He did not raise a hand to anyone; He extended His hand in invitation and empathy.

I don’t know how long this series will span; I will follow where my heart leads and where the Spirit takes me. I just know I must lean in, dig in, and go all in; I must surround myself with His wisdom and surrender to His will. I must rediscover, not the whys, but the Who in all of this, and allow Him full access. I must acknowledge that I am His child, and so are we all.

“You, beloved, are worth so much more than a whole flock of sparrows. God knows everything about you, even the number of hairs on your head. So do not fear.” (Matthew 10:30-31)

Black parents across America have been having “the talk” with their children for quite a while. It’s a painful family discussion necessary to have about ways to act – and refrain from acting – if stopped by white police officers with a gun, about how to survive in America unlike Rodney King, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. Maybe we all need to hear this to understand the fear and pain Black parents feel every time their children walk outside their homes.

9 comments

  1. Susan, thank you for sharing the poignant video too. It really hits home how much pressure and fear black mothers and their families are under. Your post is spot on, dear sister.
    Blessings ~ Wendy

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    1. Thank you, Wendy. The video certainly gives a heart rending perspective, doesn’t it?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I cried. I’m still choked up. I shared your post on Twitter. ❤ I can't imagine worrying my son might get killed by a cop each time he goes out. I do believe most cops are good-willed. But there's obviously enough bad apples in some areas that are making life scary for people who don't deserve to be living in such fear.

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      2. I agree with you, which is why the system needs an overhaul. Along with our justice system. Praying soon mercy will outweigh sacrifice.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So very true Susan.it should be a lesson to all of us -no matter our color. I spent decades trucking and crossing the border from the US to Canada – and those rules are perfect. As a white man, I am conscious of the authority of officials and do all in my power to remain humble and submit.

    If you want the truth, I find that white and black both push back against authority and we all know that pride goeth before the fall. Granted the incidents with police escalate further – to deadly force – with blacks than whites, but I will end up in jail just as fast as a blackman if I disrespect the cops.

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    1. I think it’s more than disrespect, Paul. It’s about being conscious of de-escalating the fear and bias police sometimes have of black Americans. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; as a white woman, when I am stopped by police, the only thing I have to worry about is getting a ticket. I never, ever, have to worry about losing my life. It is never in my consciousness. There is a distinct difference in how some officers approach black and Latino men vs. white men/women.

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      1. I know many white men who tried to refuse a policeman’s authority and they ended up in jail.I know the effect is much more serous with racial divides but that is not the only place it exists. It is a symptom of a larger issue of refusing to submit to the Lord.

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      2. “I know many white men who tried to refuse a policeman’s authority and they ended up in jail.” I hear this, Paul – I’m simply trying to say as gently as possible, this isn’t a difference between jail and no jail; it’s a difference between life and death, even when you do everything you’re supposed to do.

        Jesus asked us for unity, and I think we all need to pray for that.

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      3. Thank You Susan.

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