Sisters and Brothers in Christ, and Our Dear Children--
When will it stop? As I heard of the two incidents in Louisiana and Missouri, my heart felt heavy and my acute anxiety level climbed. Here we go again? What can or should I do? What can or should we do? Then came the news of the murders in Dallas, Texas. In the words of Dallas Chief of Police David Brown (who happens to have skin of a darker color than mine) "This has to stop--We are better than that!"
Many clichés that we have heard so many times, come to mind: "There is no peace without justice, and no justice without peace!" "Black lives matter!" "Blue lives matter!" "All lives matter!" And how about these: "Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and love your neighbor as you love yourself!" "So, faith hope and love abide, these three--and the greatest of these is love!"
I write this "Confessions of..." using the order that the roles I've listed became my own. Most of them each become of primary importance in the moment, according to what I happen to be doing at the time, with the exception of the first one: Christian! First and foremost, I (and we) must be a person of faith--always hoping to mirror the life of Jesus Christ in all that I say and do--always!
Who is to blame for the tragedies, the loss of life, the hatred and bigotry, the wanton disregard of what every major world religion teaches? I think all of us bear at least a very small part of the responsibility for the atmosphere in which these murders occur. What we teach our children, more by our actions than our words, molds them into the adults they will become. Behavior that is permissible at home (make your own definitions here) is believed by our children to be permissible in society. That is not my opinion--that is fact. As Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young used to sing, "Teach your children well!"
Before writing this "Confession," I went out in my back yard to fill the four hanging bird feeders we have with seed. I needed to collect my thoughts, so that I would be able to "say what I mean, and mean what I say." Here they are...
- Violence, and the taking of innocent lives, is never an answer to anything. The murder in one city (or anywhere for that matter) will never avenge an alleged act of murder in another city.
- Each case of alleged misconduct by law enforcement, clergy, or any other profession must be decided in a court of law, not in the court of public opinion nor in the streets of our cities and towns.
- Law enforcement personnel put their lives in jeopardy each and every day, so that the freedoms for which many others have already given their lives, may endure for our generation and for generations to come. As in any other occupation or calling, including the clergy, there is a very small minority of those who should be in a completely different line of work. They must be rooted out by procedure, not by lawless disregard of the laws and statutes by which we live.
My prayers, and the prayers of our congregation and of all houses of worship go out to all those (which should include all of us) impacted and affected by these tragic, unfolding events. In this rapidly shrinking planet on which we live, what affects one of us, affects all of us. Let us truly "...Love one another, as God has loved us." And "...may the peace of Christ, which surpasses all our understanding, keep our hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God in Christ Jesus, our Lord!" Be a peacemaker today...
Together in Christ,
Ken, Dad, Pastor Ken and Grandpa