August 20, 2014
God is perfectly just and perfectly merciful. That's what keeps coming to mind as I process what's happening right now in Ferguson, Mo.
Kimberly, thank you for writing this article and for sharing your heart. Many times have I found myself at a loss of words and the only prayer that comes to my lips are, "Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy upon me, a sinner"...and upon all involved (whatever the situation or case maybe). My prayer is the same as yours, that "all of us" would seek God's justice and mercy.
I am curious to know what might be/is behind your sentence, "As we waited to learn the identity of the police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, I prayed that things would change for us...."? And your use of "all of us"? After reading your article three or four times I did find myself wondering, "What about Officer Darren Wilson?" I'm left with wondering if you have already condemned him as guilty. And if so, this seems to me to contradict your "hold" on God's perfect mercy and justice.
I truly hope to hear back from you.
Peace & Grace,
neil in kzoo
Thanks so much for your comment. On the first part of my post, I wrote that God is completely just and completely merciful. With that in mind, I have my own thoughts and ideas about what I think happened--tied to history, stereotyping and implicit bias. But just as it is not my right to forgive Wilson because he did take another human's life (that is for The Lord and for Michael Brown's parents, family and friends), it is also not for me to judge. What I will say is that things would have been vastly different if the police department had been more transparent from the beginning. It is not merely a matter of condemning Wilson. I do not know what happened that day. What I do know is what led to this incident--history of seeing black bodies as dangerous, implicit bias, stereotyping--and that is what I hope will change.
Kimberly, you bring up an interesting aspect of this story: how its playing out on social media. I'm interested in your (and anyone else's) expanded thoughts on this.
-How do you choose when to engage a family member or friend who has posted something offensive about Michael Brown?
-Have any of your conversations with family or friends on social media resulted in changed minds or hearts?
-In your observation, does the dividing line on this debate run along political (liberal vs. conservative) lines?
-Have there been any friends or family members whose opinions on this topic have surprised you one way or the other?
-Have you un-friended or blocked anyone as a result of their posts?
To start, I have blocked people on Twitter over this--but they were people I didn't know, personally, trolls, if you will. Their sole focus is to try to incite, not engage in real discussion. I have not blocked or unfollowed anyone on Facebook over Michael Brown (Gaza is another story). For the most part, people who engage with me on Facebook have done so with an understanding of where I'm coming from. One friend said she goes to my page to get all her news on Ferguson. I also get other supportive private messages about it. My pastor and I had a pretty solid exchange about it when I posted this piece, where he expressed gladness for my being a part of the church community. I have had to moderate a discussion between two friends from two parts of my life, which I think was valuable.
Yes, the dividing line is liberal/conservative. Also, when it comes to faith conversations, the dividing line is about social justice.
There's a major difference between Twitter and Facebook. My twitter is public and I tend to curate ( post stories, RT) and interact with people I don't know, personally. Facebook is about friends and family. I honestly have not seen a ton of posts about Michael Brown in my Facebook feed. I have a lot of friends who just don't think much about race and social justice. They are generally not people of color.
I engage when my heart cries out for it--whether it comes from a point of trying to educate or inform or offer a perspective that I think is important. Or, when I simply can't let something stand. I'm pretty outspoken.
And no surprises, thus far.
Add your comment to join the discussion!