I've written and deleted numerous openings sentences this morning. I am still nearly speechless over what has happened in Charlottesville. In case you don't know, Charlottesville is a liberal, democratic college city. Local officials there are in the process of removing Confederate statutes and changing the names of two parks with "Confederate" names.
White supremacists have converged on the city for a "rally" to protest removing the statutes. As you can well imagine, it has not gone well, and deaths and injuries have resulted.
To avoid going into a tirade, I've decided to make some comments without saying everything on my mind.
First of all, the civil war that divided this country and resulted in incredible death and destruction was not our finest hour. I know all the "reasons" from either side, so please don't belabor the point by arguing.
I grew up in Mississippi and I still live here. I get it.
I understand that a big cotton field in full bloom is beautiful. A war is not.
An antebellum home with towering white columns is beautiful. A slave shack is not. It's mighty hard to celebrate the plantation home without seeing the slave shack. Just saying.
A little reality might be in order here. There are some very serious things about the pre-civil-war South that do not need to be revered nor celebrated.
Now, on to Charlottesville.
If you plan to go to a rally and think, "I better pack a helmet and a shield," it's clear you are going with the expectation of violence.
If you plan to go to a rally and think, "I should pack swat gear and assault rifles," it's clear your intentions are for death and mayhem.
If those plans are even going through your head, you need to stop and reconsider what you're about to do.
You also need to stay home.
If you know of a rally with an opposing view from yours, and you think, "I should carry some spray cans and a lighter to make a flame thrower while I'm protesting at the rally," it's clear your intentions are for death and mayhem and you, too, should reconsider and stay home.
The freedom of assembly is a right guaranteed by our bill of rights, and I support that right, because I support the constitution. In fact, for twelve years, I served as a local elected official and vowed before God to preserve and protect our Constitution.
However, if you've packed helmets, shields, and guns, you're aren't planning to attend a non-violent assembly. You're planning to attend a riot. That's not a right guaranteed by the Constitution.
I have one thing to say to White Supremacists: If you somehow think the color of your skin makes you "better" than anyone else, think again. If you want the "best" skin color that's ever existed, you need the same color of skin Jesus had, and that wasn't white.
Jesus wasn't Anglo-Saxon/Caucasian. Neither was Peter, Paul, James, or John. For that matter, none of the other disciples were Anglo-Saxon/Caucasian either. They were Middle-Eastern, because that's where they lived.
In fact, heaven is going to be full of "every nation and every tribe," which means lots of different skin colors and tones, and we won't be separated based on the color of our skin.
If we're talking left and right, I love the people on both sides, but there are quite a few badly misguided people on both sides.
Which side am I on? Jesus' side.
He had two rules and I think we should all follow them. Love God with your entire being and love your neighbor as (in the same way) you love yourself. We'd have a lot less trouble getting along if we all did this.
Frankly, it's long past time to quit worrying about our "rights" and start worrying about what is right. It's time to quit protesting for "rights" and start doing what is right. Love God. Love others.
It's that simple. It's that hard.
Thank you, clergy in Charlottesville for linking arms to separate the protestors from the rest of the people. That's putting your life where you mouth is.
To the rest of us...enough is enough.
I don't suppose any White Supremacists are reading this blog, but if you know one, please let them in on a fact they've missed: What happened in Charlottesville wasn't the way of Christ.
I don't guess the people in Charlottesville are reading this either, but if you know any people there, please let them know, too. What happened in that city wasn't the way of Christ.
We've associated "the right" with Jesus for far too long. He wasn't the one with rocks in His holy hands, ready to pummel the woman caught in adultery. He was the one who wrote powerful words in the dirt, then said, "If you are without sin, you can cast the first stone." That day, everyone examined their hearts, dropped their stones, and went home.
That lady caught in adultery? She got up and did what Jesus said. "Stop sinning."
We need a good bit more of that today. So let's do it. Examine our hearts. Drop our stones. Do what Jesus said. Sinners, stop it. And that means all of us.
Love God. Love others.
"After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands." Revelation 7:9 niv
In case you missed it, here's the link to yesterday's post: Caregiver Chronicles: When a Community Cares
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