I am disgusted, deeply saddened and troubled by what transpired in Charlottesville this past weekend.
I am not even sure I have words to describe what rumbled up in my soul as I watched people marching with torches and banners of hatred.
The darkness of spirit,
the ugly, arrogant, stupidity of racism,
the cancer-like spread of hate, all on the move.
And then to watch the leader of our country apparently unable to articulate any kind of appropriate moral response without being goaded to do so ...
it made me angry,
and profoundly sad.
And to think that - in ANY way - the teachings of Jesus, the teachings of Scripture, the message of Christianity, could be used to perpetuate this kind of racial bigotry ... well, this fueled the flame of indignation in my soul to the level of a raging bonfire.
A couple thoughts:
1. This whole episode caused me to ponder our relatively recent family trip to Cape Town, South Africa, where my daughter was studying African History. We saw the dark underbelly of the aftermath of church-generated Apartheid. Slums that stretched out further than our eyes could see, surrounded by wealth on every side; white wealth. What felt like stolen wealth. Wealth now fiercely proteced behind barbed wire and guns and multiple locked gates. This stunningly beautiful country - filled with so much hope, yes - ravaged and rent asunder by racial bigotry and hatred, too often fueled by a mutant strain of religion. To read of it is one thing, to see it quite another.
Lord, have mercy ...
2. I thought of my parents, over 50 years ago, during the height of the racial tensions of the late 1960's in this country, bravely moving their family of 5 - the two of them, and three young children - across our racially divided town, into the heart of what was then known as the "black side" of the river. They did this in an effort to show solidarity with their black brothers and sisters as they put their shoulders to the plow of the burgeoning Civil Rights movement. How proud I am of them for taking courageous action in the midst of strife, for throwing typical "white" caution to the wind, and doing what they felt they were called to do -- to move toward those who were suffering discrimination, rather than away. To move toward their neighbors, rather than away. To move toward the pain, rather than away. To move toward the marginalized, rather than away. To move toward solidarity, rather than blissful isolation. To move toward the good fight, rather than away.
Lord, give me this kind of courage ...
Those are my thoughts right now. I have no answers, no bow, no tidy little 3-step program to end racism.
I just know I am part of the problem.
But I can also be part of the solution.
And if the leader of our country will not speak what I know to be true, then I guess it is up to us, all of us, to do so.
And so that starts with me.
Lord, have mercy ...
Lord, give me courage ...