August 15, 2014

Ferguson | Not just in Ferguson

There is madness in our world.

We believe the threat lies in Iraq or other countries, not here in the United States. Not here where we send our young men and women to stand and fight for other countries, for their freedoms.

There is war among us. The racial war wages in our streets, as seen recently in Ferguson. Take off your blinders. It is everywhere. Do not be fooled in the illogical conception that fear does not live here in the United States among white and black people alike. To believe it does not exist is to believe in a largely factitious identity of our nation. It might not exist in you, but it exists nonetheless. When you live your life wholly extinct from any other culture but your own, surrounding yourself with nothing less than the familiarity of your own existence, you are bound to be afraid of the unknown.

Although I do not know the whole truth of the tragic incident in Ferguson, with the horrifying death of Michael Brown, I find my heart saddened by the upheaval of a city over the loss of one of it's treasured members. That teenager was somebody's son, friend, love. Michael Brown was a life. Life is valued and beautiful and now his is gone. There will be no more graduation smiles, football victory dances, exchanging of wedding vows, tears over his newborn baby. There is none of this for Michael Brown.

Why? Because of fear, anger, or blatant misunderstanding from behind the mask of the police officer(s) involved.

Now, after Michael Brown's death, Ferguson is a city in disarray. My heart melts for his mother, Lesley McSpadden, who spoke during a press conference, not only to mourn the tragic death of her beloved son but to appeal for justice without violence. She mourns for the loss of her son and the loss of many memories that will never come with him. I find myself grieving with her and at the violence that has sparked like a wildfire since then.

The horrific situation in Ferguson has turned into more than finding justice for Michael Brown. Looters are taking this opportunity to revolt against the authority and take advantage of the upheaval in the city. These looters are fighting fear with fear. They are provoking fear in the name of Michael Brown where those closest to Michael are speaking truth over the situation and promoting nonviolence. They are making it all about war in hopes of gaining from the situation. They are further preventing justice to Michael Brown and his family. My heart breaks for Brown's family.

My hope for the people of Ferguson is that light can be shed on racial conflict there and that they be an example across the country on how to proceed with dignity and healing. I pray that even the police officer responsible for ending Michael Brown's life will find healing in the truth and that he harbors no lies. I pray he confesses his crime at its full severity to Brown's family and I pray it brings a flickering hope of healing to them in the best way possible. I pray mostly that this sets an example for our children on the healing that binds itself to confession among the accused and the wronged.

"Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met."

This quote is engraved on a beautiful stone in Washington, DC at the Vietnam memorial. We stand for other countries in their times of great despair. We employ armies to fight on the behalf of the unjust and the wrongly accused. We pray for truth and we seek mercy. Throughout history this is what the United States has done.

My only question is who will stand up for the United States and demand truth among our own people? Who will employ their voice to seek out justice for those who cannot speak for themselves? Who will pray for their neighbors in such horrifying times as this?

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