If you’ve been watching the news this last week, then you should know about what’s going on in Ferguson.
A white police officer shot an unarmed black man 6 times and killed him.
So many opinions have been given about what happened. So many pieces written.
There’s not much I can add, except to admit these 9 things I’m ashamed of when it comes to Ferguson:
1. It took me 6 days to even hear about Ferguson.
I’m ashamed to admit that it took a Canadian blogger rebuking American Christians for their silence to get my attention to what happened in Ferguson. That was a full 6 days after Michael Brown was shot.
2. I made some pretty serious conclusions before getting all the facts.
Did you do this too? Did you form a strong opinion about who was guilty and who was not within minutes of hearing what happened? Yeah, me too. And I wish I hadn’t.
3. When I heard that Michael Brown had robbed a convenience store, I wasn’t surprised.
I’m not proud of it, but it’s true. My knee jerk response was “aha. that’s why he was shot”. Shame on me.
4. When I heard Al Sharpton’s name pop up in the news, I rolled my eyes.
Please understand that I’m trying to be as authentic as possible here to prove a point. We all bring so much baggage to the discussion of race, baggage that I’m ashamed to admit is more common than most of us are willing to admit.
5. “See? I always knew most cops were corrupt!” is a thought I’m ashamed to admit I had.
For a split second everything I ever thought about policemen seemed validated. Did that happen to you too? You always suspected policemen were corrupt, and they’ve just proven it to be true.
6. I am way more cynical than I am racist.
I have come to the prevailing realization that I believe everyone is basically evil and that given enough time everyone is going to disappoint you in one way or another. As a follower of Jesus, I’m ashamed to admit this because it leaves no room for the gospel. The gospel changes everything and everyone and leaves no room for cynicism. Turns out there’s still a lot of work God has to do on me.
7. I’m a tiny bit more racial baggage than I give myself credit for.
Look, we’re living in post modern America where no one under the age of 45 would ever admit to being racist. I mean, we’re the generation where everyone has at least 3 friends: a lesbian, a minority and a foreigner. But when push comes to shove, real stories like Ferguson unveil just another layer of racism that we’re still very guilty of.
8. Given enough time, I’m going to lose interest in the story.
The tragedy in Ferguson is that a few days from now most of us will have moved on to a bigger and better story. If you’re a follower of Jesus Christ, this is not a conversation that we can quickly move away from. Repentance takes time. Understanding requires patient listening. Don’t rush the process.
9. The Gospel wasn’t the immediate filter I ran Ferguson through.
Oh, there were many filters I used. There was the filter of my traditional beliefs and cultural background. There was the filter of the media, and other bloggers. I used more filters to try to figure out what I think about Ferguson except for the only filter that matters: The Gospel of Jesus Christ. For someone who believes in new life and redemption, I’m ashamed to admit I failed this test big time.
Hey, my goal is not to beat up on me or on you in this blog. I’ve just tried to be honest to help you see how easily we forget who we are and what we’re here for. What has your reaction been to Ferguson? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.