I almost didn’t write this post.
I’ve always kept my Blog posts, Facebook, Twitter, and everything else in the safe awkward nerdy corner, where I’m free to make a cutting commentary on the casting rumors about the latest Marvel comics film.
But sometimes we’re called to speak on things bigger than ourselves. Things we don’t understand. Things that scare us and open us up to ridicule.
“[Satan] always sends errors into the world in pairs – pairs of opposites And he always encourages us to spend a lot of time thinking which is the worse.”
C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
It was one of those scary things we learned about in history class. We learned about the Emancipation Proclamation and Martin Luther King and I generally took all that to mean that racial discrimination was a thing of the past.
Sitting there surrounded by a classroom full of kids who looked just like me, why should I have thought any different?
Going to college shoved me out of my little white bubble into a new wide world with people from all corners of the country and the world. Between classes, the dorms, and my church, I met more black people in that first semester than I had my entire life up to that point.
I got used to my new environment, forming lots of good friendships with people across all races. But I tended wall up when topics about race came up in conversation. Partly because I didn’t hold particularly strong opinions on the matter, but my silence was motivated by fear as much as anything. My rural conservative opinions didn’t always line up with those of my inner city black friends and, not wanting to sound like the judgmental white guy, I erred on the side of keeping my mouth shut…for years.
But the events of the last three years, the racial upheaval that’s come after the deaths of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and too many others, have pushed my heart in a different direction. Those tragedies, along with the continued call on my church to pray for racial reconciliation, have forced me to recognize the need to take further steps in my understanding of what racism in America really looks like.
Those steps don’t involve getting online to see the fallout of the latest protest or counter protest. Nor do they involve getting in arguments over Facebook over whether or not police officers are really trustworthy.
My first step on this journey involved my friend Cornelius, some high quality breakfast foods, and a big pot of coffee.
I talked with my friend, who grew up on the south side of Chicago and lived in St. Louis for a spell, and asked him what racism looked like for him where he grew up. I asked him where he saw racism in his daily life here in Southern Illinois. We talked about Ferguson and institutional racism and the American church’s failure to promote unity among brothers and sisters in Christ. (And at one point we talked about women too, but that’s a topic for another time.)
We sat on my front porch and talked for hours, barely scratching the surface, but giving me plenty to talk about.
My default reaction to one of these tragedies is still to come out on the side of the police, but I’m can’t help empathizing with the families who’ve lost loved ones either through police shootings, gang violence, or other violent acts.
I still believe that a man or woman needs to work for a living, but it’s plain to see that there are literally millions of families in genuine need of a helping hand.
And while I know that racism is not nearly as rampant as it was fifty years ago, it’s clear that our journey toward Dr. King’s mountain top is far from over.
I hope these words have challenged you. Please comment if you want, but leave the hate at the door.
A better option would be to find an open Saturday morning and sit down for a meal with someone you know who doesn’t share your politics. Break bread together and take time to ask some really difficult questions. It’s doubtful you’ll come up with the answer to world peace over sausage links and ranch potatoes, but honest talk spoken with love is far more effective than hate speech and far better than silence.
[So…awkward transition here, but this post is part of a Blog Hop promoting Nadine Brandes new novel A Time To Speak. I highly recommend you keep scrolling to read more about the book. I’m not getting paid to promote anything, I just really enjoy Nadine’s books and think you would to.]
Parvin Blackwater wanted to die, but now she’s being called to be a leader. The only problem is, no one wants to follow.
The Council uses Jude’s Clock-matching invention to force “new-and-improved” Clocks on the public. Those who can’t afford one are packed into boxcars like cattle and used for the Council’s purposes.
Parvin and Hawke find themselves on a cargo ship of Radicals headed out to sea. What will the Council do to them? And why are people suddenly dying before their Clocks have zeroed-out?
Book Two in the “Out of Time” series.
Read about the first book, A Time to Die, here
You can learn more about Nadine and her Out of Time series here:
- Website: www.nadinebrandes.com
- About the book: http://nadinebrandes.com/series/out-of-time-series/
- Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/NadineBrandesAuthor
- Twitter: www.twitter.com/NadineBrandes
- Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/NadineBrandes
- Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/NadineBrandes
And if you’re looking for great Scifi/Fantasy stories, you need to check out Enclave Publishing. They’ve published Nadine’s books and a bunch of other great series that you’re sure to love.