Dear Susan, (10-28-16) race relations continued…

Dear Susan,

How can I hope to bridge the gap and promote meaningful conversation in regard to race?

How can I make my white brothers understand what a black mother fears these days?

I fully agree “All Lives Matter,” yet it is the blood of black people staining the streets.

I know you may be tired of hearing it.

Trust me, blacks are even more tired of living it.

My husband and two sons mean the world to me.

I pray they stay safe and unharmed every day.

Every day, the kind of day where your car breaking down leaves you slain in the street.

Hands up, but dead anyway.

Every day, the kind of day when a kid walking home wearing a hoodie dies because a madman thought he “looked” suspicious.

His killer walks free while yet another mother becomes imprisoned by grief.

©LilkaRaphael

©LilkaRaphael

When a man chooses to take a stand, or in this case, a knee, why is he ridiculed, threatened and viewed with disdain.

He is a brave voice for those long silenced, aware it may cost him everything with very little to gain.

Why can’t people see there is a difference between an “idol” and respect.

The God I serve commands we love one another, not reverence a song.

 

And of that song we sing, “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

If only everyone was allowed to walk free, pursue happiness and live as God created them to be.

The rockets’ red glare?

The bombs bursting in air?

Black veterans fought and still fight for those freedoms of which you sing.

I understand if you think it’s not “your problem.”

But the problem arises when you don’t object; you permit injustice to continue and entrench itself even further.

Hate is often disguised as patriotism.

It worked for Hitler.

Is that what America has become?

I know there are no easy answers.

It is not as simple as black or white.

 

I know this topic makes people nervous.

Defensive.

You don’t have to be.

I don’t blame you personally for the sins of our nation.

My prayer is that blacks and whites will do better.

Try harder.

And eventually become one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. Galatians 3:28 NKJV

 Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Mathew 22:37-39 NKJV

***Our journey continues. Join us as we discuss race relations. You can find our first conversation here. Comments Welcome!

22 comments

  1. The issues we face specifically as a country mired in racial injustices cannot be attributed to one or two issues. I believe the totality of race relations in America consist of many issues that continue to escalate over an extended period of time and events. However, I am more inclined to think that there is one factor that is a constant denominator to what plagues us as a nation and that is the issue of the heart.

    Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” This is especially true in context of the 24 hour news cycle’s motive of the bottom line and the command of as many eye balls as possible. We must guard our hearts against dangerous vitriol that seeks to divide, thus we are conquered. Differences are used to separate as oppose to using opposites to build up and compliment that which makes us unique.

    The list can go one and on to the point of becoming embarrassing. I do not profess to have the answers to all that defeats us as a nation, but I do realize as a Christian and Pastor that the blood of Jesus was shed for all. When this thing called life is over for each of us and it will be over, we must ask ourselves did I stand up and love others as Christ loved us or did I sit by too afraid to stand up for what my heart and conscience tells me is right and just. Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

    Before I forget, I want to address the issue of “Black Lives Matter vs All Lives Matter.” Yes, All lives matter and nothing is being taken away for that truth. However, dissing Black lives matter is painful and dismissive at best. Yes, your life and health matters, but right now I’m the one having the heart attack! I need the defibrillator now! African Americans are all to familiar with dismissive rhetoric and tic for tac to overshadow one offend to highlight another.

    As an African American father of two special needs African American boys my conversation with them is different from my white friends. I talk to them about coming home alive. I talk to and comfort them when they are called nigger from their 11 and 14 year old classmates. It breaks my heart to know as a parent that in addition to the birds and bees talk, we would one day sit down with our kids to talk about direct and indirect assaults on their identity.

    We teach them that they are the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus. Anything other then that is born out of ignorance of the individual not realizing who Christ called them to be. The sad fact is one day our sons will have this conversation with their children. However, I hold out hope that each generation will progress and be better than the previous.

    Finally, I will end with 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.

    4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

    8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

    13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

    Let love, truth and God’s amazing grace rule the day and our hearts.

    In His grace,

    Pastor Lionel
    http://www.lionelsneedministries.com

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    1. Pastor Lionel, your words have created a wide opening for edification, relationship and love. We can no longer turn our backs on cries of injustice from our brothers and sisters even though we may not understand it, even though we may not have personally experienced it, and even though – and perhaps especially though – it may be contrary to our current worldview.

      We must not only guard our hearts and minds from hate and divisiveness; we must seek God’s kingdom. Jesus made it abundantly clear to that end, we are not to judge but we are to love: Love God and our neighbors; love our enemies; love each other deeply and fully the way He has loved us; and if we truly love Him, obey these commands.

      I pray with you, Pastor Lionel that this truth, this grace, this Gospel, reigns in our hearts today forward.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Amen and amen!

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  2. Lilka, this was beyond beautiful, it was inspired and eloquent and spoke directly to my heart with words that pierce like arrows.

    I feel helpless myself in the face of what is going on. Imagine what it must be like to worry that an innocent person will be killed merely because they have some external feature that someone doesn’t understand or like, or rejects.

    To be honest, I am now afraid of the police myself. What our society has been reduced to is a handful of people dictating what is “good” or “acceptable”. Women may not be acceptable unless we act and look a certain way, keep our ideas to ourselves, are properly deferential. And what happens if we aren’t pretty or we get old, or we become ill? What then? We won’t be desirable, and thus we can be treated as “less than”.

    Where will it end? This whole year has brought it to the fore more than the past decade has done. This hatred is now out in the open again, blatant, fierce and defiant. It is beyond disturbing, it is intolerable. And it is completely at odds with Christ’s message to us.

    You don’t offend me — keep saying it until the whole world hears it. They need to.

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    1. Beth, you are so right. When one group’s rights are violated, we are all violated, and where does it end? To say, “It is not my problem,” is not only erroneous, it is ignorant.

      I have two movie recommendations for you, and they are both on Netflix:
      “13th” and “MissRepresentation.”
      Both are excellent documentaries of how far disregard, infringement and abuse of rights has come.

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    2. Beth, thanks so much to having an open heart and an ear to hear our message.

      I must say you are not alone in voicing your fears and concerns of our police who have sworn to serve and protect. I admit I am surprised by the number of participants in the discussion who aren’t black that share this concern.

      The political chatter of this horrid election season has also brought to light how women are easily dismissed, disrespected and in some cases discarded for the latest standard of what is “acceptable” today. Women are still held to a different standard in so many areas. Even the treatment of female correspondents/journalists in some of the interviews has been despicable.

      Fear is propelling hate (or vice versa) and causing “Christians” to dismiss God’s message all together for some fabricated moral code. Love can conquer hate when we allow it. My concern is that the continued silence to injustice will allow that hate to spread to a point there is no turning back.

      Our God does not have to diminish one person to promote another.

      This misconception and much misinformation has caused those who are angry and feeling marginalized themselves to need someone to “blame.” Women, minorities or whoever may become the target of those people who feel threatened and are upset that their version of the “American Dream” isn’t what they think it should be. A general lack of knowledge, prejudices passed through generations and personal failures prompt some to point fingers (instead of looking in the mirror) to find the root of their personal problems and our social ills in general.

      I truly believe there is more common ground than not. Speaking with my husband yesterday, he brought up how extremists on both sides may cause the majority to shut down and not listen to the other because of the continual chaos and crazy banter polluting the airwaves.

      Only the love of God working through each of us, one person at a time, can turn this tide. We do feel helpless until we remember our God can do miraculous things. It is time for the “Church” to make people a priority. We must love one another, but to do that effectively we must truly examine ourselves and face whatever biases we may have.

      Thanks so much for joining us. Susan is up next on Friday!

      Like

  3. Reblogged this on CELONA'S BLOG and commented:
    Nice Piece, I just had to share 😉

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    1. Lilka and I both thank you for the reblog. Her internet connection is down; she’ll be online soon to say, “Thanks” herself.

      Like

    2. Thanks so much for joining our conversation. Very much appreciated.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Good bible quote!

    The police are militarized and trained to shoot if they suspect they are even 1% in danger. Looking at statistics, white people are being killed as well in droves.

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    1. Lilka lost her internet connection this morning, but she will be back online soon to respond.

      Our police are supposed to protect and serve, not shoot the citizenry they serve. And if you look at the majority of statistics, they will tell you unarmed black folks are killed in disproportionate numbers.

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      1. Per capita you’re absolutely right. I don’t disagree but to paint it as only a racial issue isn’t entirely accurate either. It’s bigger than that. It’s not like white people are getting off free as birds. Twice as many have been shot and killed so far this year.

        I’m not arguing that per capita more black people have been shot, only that it’s broader than just a racial issue. It’s a militarized police issue and a training issue. I have no doubt prejudices and racism contribute to the higher per capita death count in the African American community.

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      2. “it’s broader than just a racial issue. It’s a militarized police issue and a training issue”

        I totally agree with you on that. Somehow, there needs to be a Federal training program AND mandatory, annual psychological testing for these folks. And we truly need to find communities where it’s working and find out how they’ve done it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Should talk to Canada. America has 51 times the amount of gun deaths.

        I think the violent gun culture is another contributor to police shootings in Amwrica.

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      4. Again, I’m 100% in agreement. It’s way past insanity. Hoping the results of our election will change that.

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    2. I am hearing again and again of white people also afraid of our cops. That isn’t supposed to be the kind of country we live in.

      When the kids were young, I’d always tell them find an officer. Now, I second guess that. And by all means, I am fully aware there are great cops out there, yet it is “those bad apples,” as my mother would say, that instill fear in the community they were called to serve.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Absolutely Lilka.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. My eighteen year old son and I were discussing this via text this morning. I agree with you about America’s violent gun cultures. Black and white.

        I also think nervous cops are going out fearful that they may be targeted and that only adds to escalating tensions.

        My son commented that the 24/7 media loop may not always contribute positively to matters serving to demonizing one side or the other dependent on which channel you watch. So many factors contribute to the chaos.

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  5. “My prayer is that blacks and whites will do better.
    Try harder.
    And eventually become one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

    Amen. Beautifully written letter. I, too, pray this happens in our lifetime.The answer is real, honest other-centered love and heart-felt understanding. That our allegiance to following Jesus would matter more than a patriotic song. Yes, Lord, let it begin with us!

    Like

    1. Mel, Lilka lost internet connection this morning. She’ll be back online soon to respond.
      Yes, our allegiance to Jesus needs to matter more than a song, a flag, a political party. Amen.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Yes, Mel let it begin with us, and spread! Thanks so much for partaking of our conversation. If we really look hard, I’m sure ALL of us kind find areas and common ground where we can do better. When we look closely, we will find we have more in common than our differences.

      Liked by 1 person

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