Why I Want Black Lives to Matter to Me

Another police shooting of a black man. This time in St. Paul, Minnesota. The string of these awful events is making me increasingly uncomfortable with myself.

I know, I haven’t blogged for months while building a custom kitchen for Dawn (it takes lot of time), and this post is an immediate departure from the usual Average Us theme. So, please excuse me if this post is unwelcome.

If you’re average like me, you try to keep your sanity by insulating yourself from the never ending drumbeat of violent news: shootings, bombings, beatings, rapes, enslavement, etc.  But, how can I ignore the string of high profile white-on-black killings (many by local police) being reported in the past year or so?

Whether the whole story is being told or not, whether news outlets have an agenda or not, it’s beginning to defy reason to not think that something truly awful is happening, or perhaps, has been happening for a long time.

This morning I wrote the question in my head out loud on facebook and it received a ton of debate and interaction from my facebook friends.

Another police shooting in St. Paul. Somebody please explain why we have so many questionable black deaths at the hands of local police. Something is clearly wrong in some places and it’s poisoning our broader culture.

Some friends’ comments were analytical, some compassionate, and others speculated about political agendas. I should note that most of the commenters were white. I confess that I haven’t made a Christian effort to cultivate friendships with black men and women.

For myself, the growing list of white-on-black killings makes it hard for me to cling to my idealistic imaginings of a non-racist America. Please forgive me my seeming naivity. I was raised in the north and and my earlist years were spent on an integrated Army base playing with Willie and Newt, both children of African American servicemen. Even in the ’60s, I had no idea what racism was.

But, my reason for writing about this now is that I don’t want my silence to be a de facto denial or approval of what is happening. Nor do I want the Christian Church to be a silent, compassionless witness.

“Love your neighbor as yourself,” Jesus commanded us. Surely, there’s a way I can obey that command in the current situation. I’m no activist. I don’t know what action I could or should take. But at the very least, I want to say to my white friends and neighbors who may be average like me:

Let’s not pretend nothing is wrong anymore.

Here’s the concluding comment I made on my facebook post:

My closing comment on my question/post: Regardless of who may or may not be pulling strings to exploit events, it is clear to me that a string of similar, horrible events are being reported. Whether they are new–or just new to the news–is not as important to me as this: I don’t want to be a silent white Christian “minding my own business” while there is apparent injustice being done to black Americans. I want to be able to look my black neighbors, colleagues, and churchmen in the eye and honestly say: “Your life matters to me.”

Since I am a Christian, I must believe that the only true hope for black and white individuals and communities is the gospel of Jesus Christ. Jesus, who gave himself as an offering to satisfy God’s justice against the sins of whites and blacks, grants eternal hope to all who trust in Him. And by doing so, He embraces His people with the unconditional love that can transform fear of the other, and hate toward the other, into love for my brother. So, since I count myself as one who through repentance and faith belongs to Christ, I now pray He will transform my indifferent heart, that I may love my black neighbor as myself. May I live as if his and her life truly matters to me.

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.—Jesus, (John 13:34)

Advertisements

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. — August 28, 1963

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.