Dear Lilka, (10/21/2016)

Dear Lilka,

Last week, someone commented on the introduction that preceded our letters, “I can’t understand where these turmoils (sic) come from.”

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

How can I explain to my white brothers and sisters the importance educating ourselves about history, because remaining uneducated about it devalues the experience of those who went through it? How can I explain we have different worldviews that are rooted in this history? How can I explain, as we unpack it, we must all look at it through the eyes of those who felt the pain of it?

As a white woman, I can say categorically based on my experience in jobs, in health care, in the service industry, women are disadvantaged. Studies have shown we receive less pay for the same job, we receive fewer health care benefits, and we are charged more for many of the same services. If we are disadvantaged we can then say that white men hold an advantage or privilege.

At the same time I can say, based on first person testimony and my own research, people of color are disadvantaged and, correspondingly, white people are automatically privileged.

“In 2015, The Washington Post documented 990 fatal shootings by police, 93 of which involved people who were unarmed. Black men accounted for about 40 percent of the unarmed people fatally shot by police and, when adjusted by population, were seven times as likely as unarmed white men to die from police gunfire.” National study, Washington Post.com

For example, as a white person:

I can be certain when I move into a neighborhood, my neighbors will not judge me for my skin color.

I can walk into a store without having people follow me or watch me.

At work, my clothing, hair style or attitude will not be taken as a reflection on my race.

I can argue or lose my temper without someone being afraid of me or using it as a condemnation of my race.

If a police officer pulls me over for a traffic violation, I can be 100% certain I haven’t been singled out for my race. I can also be unafraid I will end up arrested or dead. This is also true for my husband and my sons.

There are white people who will shake their heads at these examples and not believe them. There are skeptics who insist there is no racism, no mass incarceration, no racial profiling, no inherent bias in our justice system whether on the streets or in our courts.

Lilka, how do we begin to help each other bridge these experiences, decrease this skepticism and increase our empathy toward each other? How do we begin to face each other rather than turn our backs, and listen to the pain behind the anger on both sides? How do we communicate with the intent to bridge the vast gap between us?

So I give you a new command: Love each other deeply and fully. Remember the ways that I have loved you, and demonstrate your love for others in those same ways. Everyone will know you as My followers if you demonstrate your love to others. (John 13:34-35)

50 comments

  1. […] journey continues. Join us as we discuss race relations. You can find our first conversation here. Comments […]

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  2. […] journey continues. Join us as we discuss race relations. You can find our first conversation here. Comments […]

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  3. Bishop TD Jakes once said “What you ignore today will be at your door
    steps tomorrow.” I believe race issues as it relates to the church dealing with this boils down to not wanting to offend and losing members. Both will result in the lost of the all mighty dollar….I’m just being honest. We have taken a timid approach to difficult topics instead of speaking the truth in love and letting God deal with the fallout for lack of a better word.

    Not dealing with issues of race in this country is much like an unresolved issue in a marriage in which the least bit of tension can set an argument off because the former was not resolved. Issues of race will only be dealt with when we as a nation are ready to rest in humility, empathy and the strength of what’s right not who’s right.

    Has I’ve often said, “The blood of Jesus must run thicker than our differences.” So, let’s find common ground to firmly stand on that which will and can be fortified with oneness of spirit by the one who is spirit and truth.

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    1. “Issues of race will only be dealt with when we as a nation are ready to rest in humility, empathy and the strength of what’s right not who’s right. ”
      There is truth and wisdom in what you’ve said here. We must trust in the Spirit to guide us into these conversation through His love and grace. I think you are right; the longer we let it go unresolved, the longer the irritation and lack of understanding sizzles below the surface. It’s so important to find that common ground to all of us: the common concerns and issues we all face.
      Thank you so much for your contribution to the conversation. I pray you continue to visit and add your loving words here.

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      1. In 1990, Bill McCartney, then the head football coach at the University of Colorado, started a group called Promise Keepers. One of the reasons he started it was that he saw the great hurt in the African American community, and knew the only way to address it was through racial reconciliation. This became one of the foundational building blocks of the Promise Keepers movement. I went to several Promise Keepers events back in the early 90’s and always heard a message on this subject, many times from Coach McCartney himself.

        Oh, that we had taken this to heart back then! I believe many men did, but the society did not, and we are suffering today because we missed the clarion call that Coach had been commissioned to give. He was one of the first white men to call out his own race for their neglect of the subject. Two decades later, the message is as relevant as it was then, and we still have trouble understanding it. Lord help us!

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      2. Wow, Pete, I didn’t know that. Thank you for this bit of hidden history. Yes, there are many, “if only’s,” aren’t there. And now, again, we have another opportunity to make sure this day doesn’t go down in history as another “if only.”

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  4. Thank you so much for initiating this letter writing project. I wish i could put a picture in my reply. I was a reporter for the Selma Times-Journal and worked in the building on the South edge of the Edmund Pettus Bridge (just to the left in this picture). I could look out my office window and see the bridge and traffic. I arrived in Selma in the early 70’s and got my introduction to racism and prejudice. There were still “Whites only” and “Blacks only” (Some signs were not as kind) signs in restaurants, restrooms and shops in and around town. And there were plenty of places in that part of Alabama then where Blacks did not go. Ever. Being born and raised in a small Southwest Iowa farming town, I was not exposed to African Americans unless we traveled to Omaha, Nebraska, 60 miles away, to go shopping. I didn’t understand racism and the names some White folks called Black folks.
    We’ve made strides it seems towards a more civil society; however prejudice, bigotry and racism still exists. It seems the radical left and right polarize into hate groups, e.g. White Aryan Race, Black Panthers and dozens more.
    We may never break down those concrete walls they have erected between their deeply-rooted, ingrained ideologies.
    I think what you two are doing with your letters to each other is a shining example of the way we chip away and racial prejudice and discrimination. I look forward to writing letters to and with you. At some point I will share how an atheist transformed my approach to evangelism. And I think that might walk along side your efforts to bring relationship and peace to a hurting society. Jesus summed up His entire Gospel, in my view, in two words. “Love one another.” I believe that’s where you are headed. I’m right there with you.

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    1. Thank you, Steve. Certainly, being at the center of where this occurred back then gives you an eye opening perspective of the history of this time. And you’re right, Jesus’ Gospel is exactly the end goal of this journey.

      We must take each step forward with the idea of taking one person’s hand at a time, looking into his or her heart and forming a relationship – the kind of relationship where we can tell the truth and honestly hear one another, and offer each other His unconditional love.

      We have been too quick in the past to point fingers and put up walls – this bridge to me was a metaphor for what we now need to do – bridge the gap between us through compassion and peaceful conversation.

      Thank you so much for adding your words to ours today. Indeed we are a hurting society on so many levels; you are welcome to walk beside us to be the vessels for God to heal the hurts. ❤

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      1. Susan, Thanks. I’m sure I’ll be participating in some way

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    2. Thank you Steven for joining us. I grew up in the Northeast, and now reside in Northern Iowa, so have also had little exposure to the lack community and he struggles they faced and still face. I hope you will add thoughts from your days in Selma. That kind of experience is priceless to this conversation. I have a lot to learn, and that’s one of the reasons I joined in.

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    3. Steven, Thanks so much for coming along for the ride. You are so correct that polarizing extremes are indeed an issue and show little hope for common ground. However I do think that one conversation at a time by the vast majority of people offers potential for constructive discussion and allows and respect for the other person’s point of view. We need to look deeper and love one another. There is more instant and reactionary talking at each other instead of with each other.

      I’m sure you have seen a LOT during your time in Alabama. I have no doubt as a reporter, you have a unique perspective and stories to share.

      Funny you should mention you are from Iowa. I deposited my first born there this summer as a Freshman at Iowa State. I was initially unsure about sending him a thousand miles from home especially with the current political climate but I must say the people were so nice and friendly I was able to return home without any reservations. He LOVES it there. He has already said he is not returning to Georgia.

      Join us Friday when I post my letter to Susan. Comments welcome!

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  5. Carl, you are correct! I am a Florida native and Miami-Dade is not alone. Intimidation by the police is nothing new for blacks or whites, though I suspect those on the fringes of society receive the brunt of their oppression. Again, it is often a few who make the whole look bad. Certain police districts with their outdated training, dangerous mindsets and our nation’s anxiety as a whole creates a volatile combination. Thanks so much for taking part in this discussion.

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  6. Oh, Wow! So glad to come off of working the weekend and find the dialogue here.

    Tom, the intent isn’t to put you on the defensive. The intent of our letters is to get the dialogue flowing. Thanks for taking part and speaking frankly.

    I think there is often misunderstanding and miscommunication on both sides, and many times it is intensified by media snippets we see that only give a glimpse into the lives of others. I don’t categorize all people of the same race or make mass assumptions. All white people, black people or whoever are not terrible people. There are, however, entrenched systems that deny equality in the justice system which has become even more evident with this year’s many shootings of unarmed persons by the police.

    I agree “love for self only” by both black and whites has allowed a silence that allows injustices to continue. I actually work with a guy who has truthfully stated he is tired of hearing about “black lives matter.” It doesn’t impact him so he is tired of hearing about it. The flip side to that is black people like myself are tired of worrying if our husbands and sons are going to return home safe after a common traffic stop. We are tired of seeing needless blood shed.

    A lot of people don’t like looking at history because they personally did not commit atrocities but there is a younger generation that has not seen first hand the atrocities man can inflict on his fellow man.

    The benefit of working in healthcare for over twenty years is it has taught me that “crazy comes in all colors.” Our intent with these letters is not to point fingers but to instead open our hearts and ears to another point of view. Thanks for sharing yours.

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  7. There is not a ounce of defense in my words. I don’t see a need to defend myself. I am simply sharing with the forum my thoughts. Surely they matter? Or is this forum about getting white people to say they are terrible people that have done black people wrong for many years?

    I have offered my heartfelt opinion on what I thought, right upfront. Lilia since you are black and the topic is black folks. Would you like to share with me your thinking on this topic? I am very much open to hear from you.

    Blessings to you all

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    1. Tom, that is not what I was aiming for at all. You know me, and I appreciate your honesty here, as I always do. I was simply doing a heart check.
      As I said in the intro, it is not about individuals, but about systems and history. I simply think we need to be conscious of the roots of our pain, hurt, anger and fear so we can all understand each other better.

      Lilka, do you want to chime in here as Tom requested?

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    2. Tom, thanks so much for taking part in our discussions. I just realized I didn’t “reply” correctly to your comment but my thoughts are on the page. I look forward to hearing more from you.

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      1. Lilka I haven’t had the time to set down and respond to the latest comment. Sorry for the slow response. I will say this, just as a matter of record. I am very much concerned about people of any color being shot by the police when unarmed. My heart goes out to their families. Also I might add, I am 63 and white, the police scare me. I am sure all of them are not bad. However the laws the way they are written and the amount of killings of unarmed people causes me great alarm and makes me uncomfortable. I say again police scare me.

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      2. Tom, no worries about time to comment. We are all busy these days.

        The fact that the police are intimidating at all is a concern for many because that should not be the case in a democratic society where people should be held accountable for their actions. Too many times the police who should be looked upon as a community resource only arrive to make a bad situation worse or in some instances arrest and attack people for no reason whatsoever.
        One such incidence was a gentleman in Carolina, I believe, simply sitting on his mother’s front porch only to be confronted and assaulted by police for resisting arrest. He was sitting there waiting for his mom to get home. She’d lived in the house for over ten years. But because someone reported a suspicious man in the area, police assumed it was him, roughed him up and arrested him. Police did not bother to check with neighbors who would have corroborated his story.
        Eventually, he was released and given an apology but it never should have happened in the first place.All of this was actually documented by the body camera on one of the officers. It is perceptions such as these that a black man on the front porch must be there only to burglarize that cause such angst.
        I can’t say police abuses are increasing but with cell phones and cameras everywhere instances are more and more well documented. A very ugly truth from probably a smaller subset of officers is finally coming to light. And it is indeed scary for all of us.
        I live in Georgia were open carry is legal. If a white male comes into the grocery store where I work he is demonstrating his right to bear arms. If a black male does the same, he is a suspect. Honestly, open carry scares the heck out me because the main people interested in doing so tend to lean to ward the fanatical. But that’s an entirely different issue! Regardless, thanks for joining the conversation. I look forward to your continued comments!

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      3. Lilka I have had a firearm and permit to carry it for protection for many years. I don’t see the point of openly carrying mine brochure then everyone knows I have it. In a bad situation there is no element of surprise. I am allowed dedicated 2 amendment believer. There again because of a few bad instances of irresponsible people the right to carry gets a bad wrap.

        I agree if a black man is setting on a porch and know one in the neighborhood recognized him after his mother had lived there 10 years strikes me as odd. You would think people in the neighborhood would have known him. Not call the law on him.. Regardless he should have cooperated with the law. They will hurt you if you don’t and have laws to protect while they do it.

        If a police officer engages me a older respectable white man. I do every thing he says. One because I don’t want him whipping on me and don’t want to go to jail. Two its the law and the three I almost always have a gun on me.
        Lilka If a person doesn’t cooperate with the law they are asking for trouble. The honest truth is they need to change some laws and put in place some procedures that protect citizens. Not beat them up and kill them.

        Frankly in my circles and I have both white and black friends, although we don’t see color only God child. We ask agree that you do not want to engage the police or court system. For the most part it is a mess. Guilty until proven innocent. I don’t believe in my area that the largest part of people don’t believe police single blacks out. I believe they will mess with you white, black, male or female. Excpessialy if you are out doing drugs, drinking or somewhere they think you have no business. Is it right to mess with folks in a aggressive or negative way when they are minding their own business? The law says they can. They can come in our house now if they think they have reasons.

        We caused this because of the laws we have allowed in our country and states. They no longer protect us. The ones that we voted on to protect us from criminals now prosecutes us and allowed them to write laws to protect them. It is a mess.

        We are a society that thinks about self instead of the whole body. If a person does not know God then they will almost always think of self first. Many so called Christians today vote for abortion yet want to take firearms away from us. Killing millions of babies is genocide yet these Christians have other more important topics to discuss. I don’t get it. I truly believe we are seeing a sin filled world having birth pains as it becomes more and more about self instead of having a eternal perspective. That is the only way we will ever change this terrible thinking we have today.
        Think about it. Your not black no more than I am white. That’s not who Lilka and her family are. You are first and foremost a creation of God. Made in his image. That defines abs validates who we are.
        Now go try to explain that to a cop that is within his rights to beat you about the head if you don’t cooperate. He want care unless he is truly a disciple of Christ. More laws want change these hate issues or unlawful acts against man. I believe one of the greatest strongholds the enemy has on us today is he wants us to talk about black and whites. It’s not and never has been a worthwhile topic. Instead let’s talk about who we really are. Then teach people the truth. Every time I hear at someone identify with the color of their skin, I think we’ll they are in trouble. They don’t even know who they are. Every right one man has its the same right another has. No man should be given something he has not earned. It want help him. Every man has a right to be treated equally because they are God’s creation and he created that way. Yet in this world no one wants to see God as the answer. That is going to be a problem getting this world straightened out without God and knowing and acknowledgeing who we really are, then asking the question why not an I not a child of God also. Not am white or black. That puts the ball in man’s court. God does not see you as black nor does he identify you that way. Try that with God and let me know how far you get. No my lovley sister the answer is Good always had been always will be. Thanks for letting me share. By the way, I came up in little Rock Ark. In the sixties.

        Much love Tom

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      4. Tom, I am sure Lilka will respond to this as well, but I would invite you to sit with one of your black friends and watch the documentary film “13th.” It’s on Netflix if you get it. Then have this same discussion with your friend.

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      5. Thanks, Tom. You are right. Nothing will be rectified without God. That is the only way. Will we ever get a resolution? I don’t know that I will live to see that on this earth. I do agree the enemy tries to divide and conquer based on race fears.
        As a society we have taken God out (or in some cases never let him in) of our schools and government and we have generations of people who never learn that they were created in God’s image and have a hope and a future as his child.
        Trust me, my husband and kids know to be respectful and cooperate with police at all times. The times my husband has been pulled over, thankfully, he has never had an issue. But I do know there are bad cops out there who do not value a human life. Thanks so much for sharing. Hopefully, you will continue along with us when my letter to Susan posts Friday. Peace and love! Lilka

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      6. Peace and love yes Lilka to you and your family. One day we will all be together in heaven.

        Blessings to you Tom

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      7. i read through many of the comments just now, and really like some of the thoughts being shared here. We are all children of the same God, and until we learn to see with His vision, the problem of colored skin will be hard to overcome. God doesn’t look on what He sees and hears – He looks on the heart. I have long prayed to be able to do that myself – it is a daunting task. But with Christ’s strength, I do think it is possible.

        I believe things have actually gotten worse in these relationships over the last 4 years. I hate to get political, but the current administration, and the press, has put so much emphasis on one side of this issue that I believe the perception has been skewed. I think that is one of the reasons there is so much turmoil. There is no doubt there is a disparity, and we need to address that, but the media hyping certain cases does more harm then good. I hope we can get some sanity in the press, although that might be an oxymoron.

        As a Christian, I need to treat others with the utmost respect at al times, and have no right to separate people into groups. That includes race, but also stature, handicap, speech and so many other categories., We are all His children, and until the church grows up and can function in that truth, I don;t see how the world ever will.

        And I will try to catch that movie you mentioned. 13th, right?

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      8. You speak wisely here, Pete. I pray we can get there with the Spirit’s help to strive always to see each other through God’s eyes.

        Yes, the movie is 13th. It is a well done documentary about mass incarceration. I’d like to know what you think after you watch it.

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  8. “…because remaining uneducated about it devalues the experience of those who went through it?”

    This is so important to understand. We have no right to comment until we’ve actually heard a person’s story, not the sound bites on the news. Until we can feel what they feel, we have no knowledge of such things. It’s unjust and even wicked to form opinions based on what we hear on the news. We think we know something but, in reality, become uncaring ignorant hypocrites. We commodify a human life into stainless steel statistics, and something not a part of us. But we are all in this together. What we end up doing is exactly what you’re saying, Susan. We devalue them. We devalue all sides, but especially those we’re fearful of.

    But God’s perfect love casts out our fear. We need to seek to understand before we open our mouths, and let our words be tempered with the grace and other-centered love of Jesus.

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    1. Extremely well said, Mel. We need to hear one person’s story at a time rather than relying on news sound bites.

      We may think we know, may think we are “good soil,” but in reality, we are filled with misinformation which contributes to flawed analysis which then in turn becomes partly responsible for our biased opinions.

      We must make the commitment to meet each other face to face, heart to heart through the well-tempered grace and love of Jesus.

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    2. Mel, thanks so much for taking part. I think you hit it right on the head. “Fear” is a central part of why tensions are what they are. Fear of the unknown leads us to make assumptions and isolate ourselves in our tiny bubbles. Fear very seldom allows us to open up to another perspective because we want to be “safe.” Your words “we need to seek to understand before we open our mouths,” is awesome. What looks incomprehensible to one can be understood when you hear that person’s story and realize that what may appear crazy to you, when you learn the facts, you realize that person is really doing the best that they can. That applies across the board to all of us. We often speak of things we really know little about or have accepted media “sound bites” as truth. Thanks for taking part in these conversations. Please do continue to take part.

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  9. When we allow God’s love, His Spirit to guide us toward common ground. When we listen to His voice within us the answer is always love. Yet, to do this, we must push aside our experiences, our misconceptions, our biases and actively love our brothers the way God commands us to even when we don’t feel like it, even when we “think” we know everything about the issue.

    The Spirit prompts us to do things we wouldn’t do to teach us things we could never learn otherwise. Paul who blogs at “Just me being curious” gave me great revelation this week with these three words, “one at a time.”

    Sometimes change begins with one conversation. One kind deed. One smile. When we start, God can soften those areas of our heart that are hard and give us vision in those areas we are blind.

    But we must start. Is there anyone else willing to join us?

    Questions and comments are welcome.

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    1. “actively love our brothers the way God commands us to even when we don’t feel like it, even when we “think” we know everything about the issue.” Absolutely, Lilka, and as our friend Paul said, one at a time. It is never in real life about a group, but always getting to know one person at a time.

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  10. In my opinion the various police forces of Miami Dade County, Florida believe in equality. They terrorize everyone and have contempt for every one equally. And don’t carry an umbrella as in their eyes it looks EXACTLY like an AK47 and you’ll be shot 74 times.

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    1. It’s a sad state of affairs, Carl, although I think this is a minority (though I might be totally wrong). There are police forces in other counties who operate like this which is why we must find a way to adopt changes federally. I also think all officers must be evaluated psychologically before they become officers, and annually in order to remain on the force. Just MHO.

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  11. We pray and we become disciples of Christ. Both black and white do this. It is God’s commandment. Until we do grow up unto Christ we will have more of the same. I pray all grow up and the lost ones find Christ.

    Many converts today do not think they need to become anymore Christlike than they are. Unfortunately they have not been reading their bibles and having a relationship with God.

    The race issue is not a race issue that can be solved with politics or a apology. It really is not even a issue of race. No it is a issue of the soul. No Jesus no love for others only self.

    At this time this morning I will not write more in response to the article I have to head out the door Susan and Lilka. I will say more later. I feel compelled to have the discussion.

    In addition Lilka, I can not apologize to to you for something I do not feel like I have done. I will say to you there are many good people in the world today. That live for the Lord,not just wear it as a badge. They are Christlike. They are praying for peace and walking towards the savior in a effort to change and become like him. That is my hope for you, Susan myself and the other brother and sisters in Christ. This will be the only way man’s sins will change. Until later Peace.

    Much Love Tom

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    1. Tom, I agree it cannot be solved with politics or apology. This is not about individuals – it about systems, and educating ourselves about how we got here so we know how and what to change.

      I also agree with your statement, “No Jesus no love for others only self.” Yet we must be willing entertain the difficult conversations with each other to discover we all can carry out this love, how to change these systems so the “justice for all” truly matches the words. Part if it is no longer being silent when we see injustice, and that is biblical.

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      1. Yes amen I agree. We cannot be silent for any of our brothers and sisters. This no silence also includes telling our brothers and sisters the truth about their responsibilities as mothers and fathers

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      2. Tom, it is not our job to tell anyone his or job as a mother or father, unless you are a close friend of the individual and have gained his or her trust.

        Imagine this scenario, if you will:

        Can you imagine someone you don’t know having the audacity to tell you your responsibilities as a father? Can you imagine an entire racial group telling you how irresponsible you have been in raising your family? How do you think that might feel?

        That is what happens when we place ourselves above someone else, when we avoid getting to know individuals, when we do not stop to have empathy with others.

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      3. If we start “telling” instead of listening, we will close the door to understanding very quickly. I am not a student of history I admit. I can only go by what I have read and seen, and I know that there have been horrible things done in the past to bring reproach on various groups. These things have shaped a culture, and somehow must be addressed with a mutual respect for each other. I for one would love to seer that happen, but have no idea how to accomplish it.

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      4. “These things have shaped a culture…” You are right, Pete, and the way we address it is right here, right now, doing what we’re doing, one person at a time.

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      5. I disagree with you Susan. telling someone the truth can help them if done in love. Excpessialy if the one needing the truth is living in a way that is hurting those around them by their lack of responsibility. It’s part of a growing problem in this world today. Folks say hey it’s not my problem. Susan you think folks should get together and talk any the issues the blacks face today. Yet is not any of the ones business when it comes to speaking truth. It would make no difference to me what color you are. If you needed to hear the truth. I would share it with you given the opportunity. We in abel folks to continue down a slippery slope when we refuse to confront them when they are wrong.

        I believe it is empathy when you speak truth instead of staying silent and enabling someone to continue to live in such a way that is irresponsible. There is a Black friend of mine in Los Angeles who takes young people of the street and speaks the truth in their life’s. These fellows become responsible men.
        Trouble comes when folks don’t know who they are. What their identity is. It’s wrapped up in self and the world. That’s their measuring stick. What someone else had they don’t have. That’s not our identity. The scales the world uses is not balanced never will be. Use God’s scales and thinking and all of sudden you have more than you need. Your cup runs over.

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      6. “telling someone the truth can help them if done in love. Excpessialy if the one needing the truth is living in a way that is hurting those around them by their lack of responsibility.”

        Again, Tom, I agree with you if you are speaking with a close friend, one with whom you have already established trust. It is when an entire race is lumped together and condemned that I disagree with.

        Have you ever heard of “The Talk?”

        If not, take a look at this.

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      7. Personally I don’t feel like it is a ever issue as I said before. It’s a sin issue. In my opinion if you continue to approach it as such you will end up with the same topic 100 years from now. As for approaching a whole race of people with what they have done wrong. I don’t thing that it would be productive. However when given the opportunity in a group or one on one it can be life changing.

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      8. It absolutely can, Tom. that is how the Spirit changes us too, one by one.
        And please don’t think I am devaluing your opinion, I am not. I always appreciate your opinion and am glad you have given it here.

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      9. For the record ladies. I am truly very proud that you two have allowed this conversation. Lord bless this discussion. Let there be peace and unity. Help us as your children to grow together as one as you have asked in your word that all would be one. Add other black brother and sisters to the discussion. Speak to brother Walter’s heart that he would share his Wisdom with us all. Forgive us for any sinful thinking we might have against other folks no matter their color. Guide us Father in finding the right answers to this division.

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      10. Thank you, Tom. I also welcome other points of view, and I absolutely thank you for your prayer here. And thank you as always for your willingness to be open and say what your heart feels.

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      11. Yes I agree it is wrong to be silent. I also don’t agree that it’s white peoples fault or that is any race of people’s fault. Blaming someone is not going to help anyone. I do think it is way over due for all to set down when the opportunity allows and be open and willing to listen to each other. I believe the enemies have kept God’s people divided to long.

        Blessings to you both Tom

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      12. Tom, I may be wrong, but beginning with, ” I also don’t agree that it’s white peoples fault” and adding your previous comment, “I won’t apologize,” seems to take a defensive stance at the outset.

        If you can let go of that, and trust we don’t want to point the finger or blame – we simply want to seek understanding and solutions – perhaps you can hear the hurt and pain behind the words.

        Personally, I think it’s important to revisit history to inform ourselves about the origins of the pain and hurt, anger and fear on both sides. And we all need to bring down the walls of defensiveness so we can hear each other – so we can open our hearts to each other and see ourselves and our families in each others’ families.

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  12. I am glad you have started this conversation, and I look forward to seeing future comments, so have linked up. I wish I had some insightful thing to say here, but I am afraid I am guilty of some of the prejudices you discuss.

    I was talking to a friend of mine the other day who works in the public schools, and he mentioned the gang problems that were present. I found my mind going right away to black gangs, but he corrected me quickly and said “all colors, black, white skin heads, latino, asian. They all have gangs, and they are all just as bad.” I realized then that I really have to take a hard look at my perceptions and biases, and ask the Lord to help me.

    I am also aware of the wage gap between men and women, and think it is deplorable. All people should be paid on the basis of the work they do and the quality of it, no exceptions. This is the basis of our economy, and it must be addressed.

    So I will be watching this closely as it develops, and hope to gain some insight into how to overcome these prejudices that are so ingrained not only in me, but in our society as a whole. It will be a good education.

    Again, thank you Susan, for your heart on this subject. We are called to love all people. If the church would just rise up and do that, think of the revival we would see in this country.

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    1. Pete – thank you so very much for your openness, your humility, your willingness to learn and look in the mirror.

      I think this is the state of being that invites the Spirit to transform our hearts and minds.

      May we all adopt your attitude of a peacemaker and disciple. Bless you, my brother.

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    2. There is no doubt underling all human frailty is the problem of sin. Jesus is the key answer. The question is how do we get the gospel message into those dark corners where there is such disillusionment with every thing and every one. Trust has to be build to do that.

      Tom, you mentioned your friend in Los Angeles who had success with some blacks out there. My guess is he had some type of relationship with them, or was known in the community. I believe if leaders in these communicates, especially church leaders, would be emboldened by the Holy Spirit, we could see change happen.

      But that still leaves me with my preconceived prejudices that I need to deal with. I can tell you it would take a real hard knock on the head by God for me to walk into a black or Latino neighborhood and start talking to them about Jesus. I’d be scared to death to even walk in there because of my own sin of bias. That is what needs to be dealt with. That is what I am hoping I can learn from this discussion – how to overcome that and see the beauty in everyone. I admit it’s hard for me to do.

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      1. Pete, thanks so much for taking part and thanks for your honesty. We all have prejudices we have to consciously push to the side. Society would tell our minds one thing but it is up to us to see and love as God commands. Doing this allows us to be receptive and hear what our “brothers” have to say. I agree with your words, “If the church would rise up.” If only God’s people would love as we are commanded great headway would be made in our nation packed with tensions. I look forward to your continued input, please join us on Friday!

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