“The Race”…

File this under confused, saddened, ramblings…

I woke up early Thursday morning, as part of a group of men who were prepping to head to the Boundary Waters for the weekend (If you do not know what the BWCA is, you must look it up.  Amazing!  But that is for another post).

I checked my phone for what I though was one last time.  What I saw, kept me “connected” to the interwebs much longer than I anticipated, or wanted.  See, just days after Alton Sterling was killed by a police officer, Philando Castille, a fellow Minnesotan, was killed as I slept soundly.  Tragic.  Unnecessary.  And I’m left heartbroken and confused…

I know I’m not alone here.  Everyone is reeling, or raging, or taking sides, or – SOMETHING.  Because it’s happening so much!  Or – at least it’s being reported now (probably has been happening so much for so long, and I just did not know about it).

Now – I will confess – and I DO NOT SAY THIS TO TRY AND DEFEND OR INDICT ANYONE INVOLVED – I don’t know details.  I confess all I’ve seen are headlines really.  But even without details, nobody can argue that the killing of a man is OK.  EVEN IF it were necessary – and I don’t know that, even now – at the core, it’s unnecessary.  It’s tragic.  It’s ending one life, and impacting so many others.  It’s heartbreaking…  I did not watch the video of Philando Castille’s shooting, but I heard the officer was yelling expletives right after, in a panic voice?  If so, that makes me think he’s not OK with what he did,  whether he was right or wrong.  He killed someone.  How does one live with that?  Have we stopped to think about that?  About Philando’s girlfriend, who recorded this?  How is she doing?  About that little girl in the back seat?  HOW WILL SHE LIVE WITH THIS?  How has her life story been changed so drastically in one moment?  Or the rest of Philando’s family?  Or the community, who is still reeling from the shooting in New Orleans, and the one before that, and a lifetime of being treated as less than human in some way or another?  How are they affected?  It’s tragic, and unnecessary…

I’m a white man, grappling with what white privilege even means. “It’s not my fault”.   Or is it?  Has my apathy, my fear of offending with dumb questions, my laziness, in some way helped contribute to what is going on today in our world?  Am I racist?  Yeah, I think I am.  Blatant, in that I hate someone of another color or race?  No.  But low-level, in that I look at someone different, even if slightly?  Yeah, I do.  I need to acknowledge this, and be honest about it.  I need to repent of my apathy, my fear, my laziness, and reach out, however I can.  I need to be real.  Why?  Because YOU need to know Jesus, and if I show you apathy, fear, laziness, you don’t see Christ in me.  You see an ugly distortion of Him, the God who created you and loves you beyond all imagination.  And if I’m showing you a distortion of the lover of your soul, I’m doing you a disservice.  I’m so sorry…

So – I finally shut my phone off, as we neared the BWCA.  I was finally able to be in the moment with the men I went on this trip with (Including my amazing son).  I was able to shut out the ugliness of the world for four days, which I would suggest everyone do from time to time.  But four days came and went, and as I “tuned back in”, I read about protests, riots, cop killings in Dallas – WHAT IS GOING ON???  What are my kids, my grand kids going to face in this world?  Lord, have mercy…

I pray that my children, my grandchildren, will be bold and courageous.  Will show the love of Christ to a dark, fallen, broken world.  Will share the good news this world so desperately needs.  That they will be more bold, compassionate than I have been.  I pray for strength and grace to model that for them.

Why?  Because YOU need to know that God so loved YOU that He sent His Son to die for YOU.  So YOU can have eternal life.  So YOU can know that you were fearfully and wonderfully created by the God of the universe, and He knows you by name.  So YOU can know that you will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.  This is not the end.  This is only temporary.  There is so much more to LIFE than this.  I don’t pretend to think that this life does not matter – it DOES.  But it’s just the beginning, dear one.  Time does not have to be wasted.  God is calling you by name.  Please, do not resist…

Philando Castille.  Alton Sterling.  Lorne Ahrens.  Michael Krol.   Michael J. Smith.  Brent Thompson.  Patrick Zamarripa.  Like so many before them, like so many every single day – their lives  were unnecessarily taken, and families are shattered in the wake of these tragedies.  I don’t post their names to take sides, I post them to show these were human beings, created in the image of our Lord and Savior.  Just like you and me.  Let’s not look at each other in any other way.  Let’s draw together, in Jesus name, to live in unity as we were designed and created to live.

Let’s…

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2)

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