7.23.2016

All of the above

© 2014 Oliver TackeFlickr | CC-BY via Wylio
Police do a dangerous and important job, and have to protect themselves and can get shot or attacked out of nowhere. At the same time, people are sometimes shot needlessly and unjustifiably by police, and they are disproportionately black.

Police protect us, strive to keep our communities safe, do truly heroic things every day, and experience trauma that others cannot fathom. At the same time, police statistically arrest black people far more often for lower level crimes that they commit at the same rates as their white counterparts.

Within the last year, police officers have been targeted simply for being police officers, and have begun to be afraid to do the job we depend on them to do. At the same time, violent crime and police deaths are statistically at a decades-long low.

Black individuals, especially young black men, face prejudicial treatment and unfairly high levels of suspicion and scrutiny, and are 6 times more likely than white people to be the victims of violent crime. At the same time, black people also COMMIT violent crimes at a disproportionate rate, accounting for 52% of homicides but only 13% of the population.

*****

All of the above statements are true. They CAN all be true, and they ARE all true. Stop drinking the Kool-Aid of those trying to tell you that only one side of the narrative is true and turning you against your own fellow citizens as domestic enemies. The rage and division that these one-sided narratives produce help no one, other than the politicians who feed off of it.

6.09.2016

Facing the Worst in Ourselves, and Learning Grace [excerpt]

© 2006 Greg DunlapFlickr | CC-BY via Wylio
What would it take for us to stop playing this game, understand that Romans 3 is real, and be able to face the worst in ourselves and in others?

We perpetuate this lie that there is such a thing as a clean life, a closet without skeletons. Because we do that, we continue to be shocked every time we find out otherwise. We live our days in the midst of this fake drama of being self-assured and put together, and start to believe it’s our true narrative. We live with lists of “unforgivable sins,” but it just so happens that none of our own sins are on the list. When someone else gets exposed, we retreat to our positions of judgment and superiority — not to punish them but to protect ourselves.

Church, instead of being a place of freedom from this game, is too often a place for upping the ante, a place for advanced-level players of this game. Church can end up being a place where we are expected to hide from our brokenness rather than admitting it, working through it, and receiving the grace of God. Somehow, the church must become the place of refuge for the repentant tax collector (Luke 18:9-14) rather than where the adulterous woman, covering her head, waits for the first stone (John 7:53-8:11).

Most harmful behavior boils down to a hidden fear or unmet need. We really never know how we would respond in certain situations. It’s the circumstances we rarely take the time to understand, but it’s the circumstances that are key... [read the full article at Baptist News Global]

4.29.2016

Schedules, Sitcoms, and Parenting’s Important Moments [excerpt]

Parents Place from Flickr via Wylio
© 2009 Lasse ChristensenFlickr | CC-BY-SA via Wylio
Remember all those shows and movies we grew up watching? Whether it’s Danny having that important life talk with Stephanie or Uncle Phil having that teaching moment with Will, they always seem to happen when everyone at least has time for it. A child is sitting on their bed in tears when the parent happens to walk in, unflustered. Two people are alone in a car with no distractions and are not late to where they’re going. A teenager walks into a room after a break-up, and the parent just happens to be on the couch with a magazine and coffee.

Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but it never happens that way for me.

More often than not, those volatile or key life moments with my children tend to spring up when I’m late, flustered, grumpy, busy, or just trying to do 10 other things…which is more often than not. [read the rest at Practicing Families].