It seems anger is the best way to sum up what people are feeling. Susette Hackney's opening words in her article on the front page of the paper today capture it well: "I am so weary. I am so angry. I want to throw things. And scream. And cry."
If you aren't angry after watching video of what officers did in Louisiana and Minnesota, something is wrong. If you aren't angry learning that retaliatory attacks were made against police officers who weren't even responsible for these deaths, then something is wrong. If it all makes you want to stick your head in the sand and pretend this isn't really happening so we can get on with a happy life, something is wrong.
Enough is enough.
And yet, knowing how to stop it all is hardly clear. Let's begin with prayer. Clergy leaders in Dallas have called on all the churches there to gather in prayer at noon today. As an act of solidarity, let's do the same-if you get this in time. Even if you don't, designate a 15 minute period today to pray for peace in our nation.
Maybe another step is participating in tomorrow's bike ride with IMPD, Ten Point Coalition leaders, and church members and leaders from around the city. Our being there says we care, we are committed to standing up for the welfare of all people.
Maybe best yet, is taking a no tolerance stand on racism of any kind. To say with the majority of citizens in Sheridan that a float like one person had in a July 4 parade is not tolerable. To resist our own participation in jokes and racially biased comments in ANY setting. To confront such derogatory language whenever we hear it and to let people know this is not to be tolerated.
And, for certain, to look for ways to act. Some churches are calling on their people to do an act of kindness today. Of course, this should be a mindset no matter what, but especially now. Let's be mindful of little things we can do right now that show compassion, promote harmony, and let others know we are sick of the injustice and want the rights of every person protected. You never know how little things will bring hope.
In my own anger about all of this, even before learning about Dallas, I went to the Y to work out yesterday. Several young black men, who serve as camp leaders and volunteers, were going down the hallway with children. Young white kids were clamoring for their attention, jumping with arms in the air saying, "My turn, my turn!" And the men would grab them, spin them in the air, hug them, and set them back down.
Just to give you my honest thoughts, I walked past and said, "Okay, the whole world isn't going to hell. Thank you for that sight, God. I needed that!"
Let me close with these powerful words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.:
The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy.
Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it.
Through violence you may murder the liar,
but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth.
Through violence you may murder the hater,
but you do not murder hate.
In fact, violence merely increases hate.
So it goes.
Returning violence for violence multiplies violence,
adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.
Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
And now I'll offer this simple prayer right now for today:
Lord, we lift up the two victims and their families in Minnesota and Louisiana and the many family members of the slain officers in Dallas, and all who will feel the absence of their lives in a near and personal way. There is so much violence and division in our world. We want everyone to have the same peace, security, and opportunities for joy but how do we get there? Keep us from weak resignation and a cynicism that turns the world dark and an apathy that paints life grey. Lord Jesus you wept over Jerusalem because people did not know the things that make for peace. Well, where they stumbled help us stand. Give us a desire to learn and a willingness to obey. Hold us up by a faith that keeps believing that all people might one day live in harmony and your will is done on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.
See you at the Hope Center this Sunday,