I never knew this before, but apparently many African American families do. Some parents of black kids have this talk in order to increase the odds that their kids will get home safely if they encounter the police when they are away from home: “10 Rules of Survival if Stopped By Police.” I never had this talk with my kids; it never crossed my mind. I’m pretty sure none of my grandchildren will ever hear this talk from their parents. But it’s considered crucial parenting wisdom for black families. I had no idea; perhaps that’s the case for others of you who are white. You who are black may have heard this talk or given it. My friends, I’m sorry. I didn’t know that you live with that. One of my favorite authors, Richard Rohr, emphasizes the intellectual integrity of being able to hold two seemingly conflicting truths at the same time, and respecting the elements of truth in both. It’s the opposite of the “dualistic” or “binary” thinking we often see in our society that assumes that one position is 100% right, and a different perspective is 100% wrong. Dualistic thinking leads to the kind of broadly inflammatory statements we so often see in our politics. I hold two convictions regarding this video and the sad, hard truth behind it: I’m deeply grateful for the honest, courageous police officers who put their lives on the line on a daily basis in order to provide security for the rest of us; and, Something is horribly wrong when young children from one race in particular, are taught that, in addition to fearing gang predators down the street, they also need to fear their own police. Even when they are doing nothing wrong. Surely we can embrace the truth about both of these statements, without assuming either one is always/never true. And if we do accept the truth that many black children have learned that the practices and biases of some police officers pose a threat, what do we do about that? Here are three ideas: No matter what our ethnicity as parents or grandparents, we regularly remind our children to honor, respect, and be grateful for the police, firefighters and other first-responders who increasingly risk their lives while protecting ours. For those of us who aren’t African-American, let our children know in the right way, at the right time, that some of their friends might have a very different perspective based on the still-sensitive racial issues we face in American society. We constructively and respectfully support city, county and state-wide efforts to review and, when needed, improve the enormously challenging implementation of police enforcement and protection, especially to minorities in their communities. What constructive ideas do you...Read More
“I violated my values and it was wrong. I behaved shamefully.”
Those are the words of Christopher Correa, the former scouting director of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team, recently convicted of hacking into the player personnel system of another major league team. He has lost his dream job, faces 46 months in prison and has been ordered to pay a fine of nearly $280,000.
What he would do if he could only turn back time and make another choice when faced with temptation to further his reputation as a winner! Too late; the secret is out.
How sadly often it is that we read very similar stories in the news:
- Head football coach Art Briles, a man of faith, whose decision to ignore, hide or discredit the stories of numerous women who reported sexual assaults by his football players, cost him his job and has cast a dark shadow over the outstanding reputation of Baylor University. He is not an exception; he is only the most public and recent of coaches to betray their own beliefs, and those who trusted him, for the sake of success. Read More
Once again, I’m stunned at the video footage that confronts all of us:
- 49 patrons of an Orlando dance club are brutally slaughtered by a man who apparently hates gays, non-Muslims or both
- A black man in Louisiana shot twice in the chest as he’s wrestled to the ground by two officers
- A black man in Minnesota is shot four times after getting pulled over by an officer for a broken taillight, as his wife and 4 year-old daughter watch in horror
- A protest in Minneapolis turns into a virtual riot as firecrackers, Molotov Cocktails and bricks are thrown at police, who then response with smoke and tear-gas. Dozens on both sides are injured
- A peaceful protest in Dallas, in response to these shootings, turns into a sniper attack where a black man kills five police officers and wounds several others
I’m not much of a poet, but Psalm 124 provides a template that even I can follow in writing a personal expression of praise.
If the Lord had not been on our side—
let Israel say—
2 if the Lord had not been on our side
when people attacked us,
3 they would have swallowed us alive
when their anger flared against us;
4 the flood would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over us,
5 the raging waters
would have swept us away.
6 Praise be to the Lord,
who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
7 We have escaped like a bird
from the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the Name of the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
Have we seen a more circus-like political process in our lives? I haven’t. I doubt you have.
We are all familiar with the boorish, demeaning, literally below-the-belt accusations flying from one candidate to the other in the current marathon race for the U. S. presidency. Each day brings another series of bewildering headlines revealing head-scratching results and stomach-turning behavior that seem to represent the worst of American politics. I’m saddened by it and ashamed of it.
In a recent conversation with a group of friends we carefully shared our frustrations, as well as our hopes for how this might end. I say “carefully” because we’ve probably all learned that there is no telling which of your friends is going to launch into an angry rant about his favorite candidate, or against any that you might entertain. We’re walking on eggshells. And that’s with friends.
The depth of emotion in this caucus season reveals the long-simmering disappointment so many feel with our system and our leadership. OK, fine. That doesn’t excuse violent behavior or relationship-killing words.Read More