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“There’s an unfinished revolution waiting to be won.”

~ Michelle Alexander

A democratic republic such as ours, is always a work in progress. It is always striving to reach an ideal, but also continually falling short of our noblest truths. The secret we refuse to acknowledge is that ours is an unfinished revolution.

When Thomas Jefferson penned these words in The Declaration of Independence, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal…”, the reality is that our founding fathers didn’t really believe in the truth of those words. However, the truth of the ideal is in those words, and a democratic republic, if it is to succeed, must always strive for the truth of the ideal. We need prophetic voices, courageous people, and committed movements to make that happen. We need people willing to finish the revolution.

Yes, our Republic is a “Great Experiment,” but that means its history is littered with “Great Disappointment.” It is an unfinished revolution. Racism is evident in the foundational document of our nation, as it vilifies entire people groups by calling them, “… the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.”

As Jefferson penned these words, he obviously didn’t view Native Americans as created equal. Yet the ideal remains. Let the voices raise, calling the United States to strive for its founding ideals, but to abandon its founding and systemic racism. Let us truly be a nation where all people, all genders, all races, all ethnicities, etc….. are created equal. Let’s continue to strive to see our revolution completed! Let this be the generation that finishes the task!

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Something I wanted to share that relates to, but goes beyond McKinney. Sometimes, we are unaware of things that “lie beneath the surface of the waters,” that act as triggers in events like McKinney.

That’s why it is important to me as a theologically Conservative, socially Liberal, and politically Moderate white Christian (there, I think that I’ve managed to slightly offend everyone), that I learn from individuals who are “different” from me whether it is because of classifications (mine, society’s, and self-identifiied) such as race, ethnicity, religion, LGBTQ+, etc.

Because of my cultural, faith, and experiential background, I may not agree with everything that the “other” individual might say, believe, do, etc. However, I seek to understand them at the point of our commonalities, I seek to learn from them at the point of our shared humanity, and I seek to love them at the point of challenging my own personal theology.

I still may strongly disagree at times, and I will definitely fail much of the time, but I seek to greet them with open arms of love, rather than with rocks held in both my hands, and slurs rolling off my tongue.

And, to my fellow Christians (Progressive, Evangelical, Liberal, Conservative, Denominational, Nondenominational, etc), I would issue a challenge: The battlefield is not our country, nor should we issue a demand that the “world” be like us. We are simply ambassadors here.

We wage battle against principalities and powers in high (invisible) places (I’m aware that some of you will disagree with my interpretation. However, I believe history proves me right).

Our political ideologies should rightly be expressed, our moral views should be heard in the public square, our lives should impact the marketplace, but we are never going to change the hearts of men and women through these methods.

Jesus said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples” (John 13:35, NLT).

Jesus didn’t challenge us not to judge (Matthew 7:1 needs to be read in context), but He taught us how to judge:

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (Matthew 7:15-16, ESV); and Jesus taught us how to live:

Or which one of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets” (Matthew 7:9-12, ESV).

As Christians, the challenge is to wrestle with our faith, seek to understand the meaning of Jesus, and allow the culture of His kingdom to influence the “waters” we all live in together. There is never a call to build His kingdom on this earth. That, my brothers and sisters, is His responsibility. And He will build it as He chooses.

See: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/06/troubled-waters-in-mckinney-texas/395150/

 

Contested Waters: A Social History of Swimming Pools in America by Jeff Wiltse

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The Police Chief Greg Conley of McKinney, Texas has stated that the actions of officer Eric Casebolt at the recent pool party were “indefensible.”As a white American, I have been offended by many of the posts I have seen regarding this incident.

Too many people who look like me, have sought to justify the actions of this police officer on social media by building a case based on the bad behavior of the kids involved.

The issue isn’t about whether SOME of the kids were behaving badly. The issue is that the response from many of the adults in this situation was insulting, and included racial slurs when more than black kids were involved in this incident. The issue is that our black children (and they are all of ours) feel like they are under siege by our communities and our law enforcement. The issue is that these children are often not allowed to be children, because of the color of their skin, while the similar misbehavior of other children is often overlooked or downplayed.

The issue is an out of control police officer, who misused his authority. I’m so glad that some of his fellow officers kept a cool head and worked to deescalate this situation. The issue is that this has been happening far too often (and the statistics prove it), and too many are turning a blind eye to obvious racial oppression. The issue is a scared young woman, who didn’t deserve to be tossed around like a rag doll when we live in a society that already has a problem with male violence against women.

This is offensive on so many levels, and the actions of this police officer, who has reportedly served faithfully prior to this, can’t be justified based on his past service. He was wrong. His behavior needed to be challenged, and I am glad to see that the McKinney Police Chief has publicly stated that his actions are “indefensible.”

See: http://sojo.net/blogs/2015/06/10/mckinney-police-chief-officers-actions-pool-party-indefensible

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“It may be true that the law cannot change the heart but it can restrain the heartless.
It may be true that the law cannot make a man love me but it can keep him from lynching me and I think that is pretty important, also.
So there is a need for executive orders. There is a need for judicial decrees. There is a need for civil rights legislation on the local scale within states and on the national scale from the federal government.”

—Martin Luther King Jr.’s address at Western Michigan University, December 18, 1963.

 

 

 

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“For good reason, many people—especially poor people of color—fear police harassment, retaliation, and abuse. After having your car torn apart by the police in a futile search for drugs, or being forced to lie spread-eagled on the pavement while the police search you and interrogate your for no reason at all, how much confidence do you have in law enforcement? Do you expect to get a fair hearing?”

~ Michelle Alexander

The above quote is from a book that I wish every one of my Caucasian friends would read: The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander. In its pages, Alexander presents a case documenting the rise of a Police State enforcing a caste system against people of color, primarily young black men, through America’s “War on Drugs,” and our corporate commitment to felony convictions and mass incarceration as a key tool in this effort.

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