This post contains within it a two-fold purpose.
First, I have decided to end 2020’s Five Question Interview series early. As successful, fun and engaging as it’s been to continue on from last year, I didn’t feel right moving forward as though everything’s normal. As such, I’ve contacted the remaining interviewees to inform them of this decision. I hope you understand, and I’m grateful to all of you who’ve read or participate this year.
The second purpose of this post, and the main reason for the series’ cancellation is encapsulated in the following:
I’ve put off making known my opinions, thoughts and feelings on COVID19 and the Black Lives Matter movement for one very simple reason: I needed to, first, take the time think things through.
When all this (lock down for COVID), and the events leading up to the tragedy that is Mr. Floyd’s death, I hated reading phrases on Twitter from folks saying, “Your white is showing,” or “You idiots, all lives matter.”
Immediately I was thrown back several years to when the movement first took mainstream media by storm. The protests were more peaceful then – no major rioting, theft, flames, and the level of brutality on both sides we’re seeing today – but absolutely everyone I encountered had an opinion. The worst was going through the McDonald’s drive through and one of the window workers unabashedly proclaimed “ALL LIVES MATTER” to every customer he waited on. I didn’t go back to that location for months after because of his arrogance. Nobody needs that when they’re just trying to get in and get out of the line.
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus.”Philippians 2:1-3, NIV – source
While I agree with him to an extent – I’ve always tried keeping an open mind and treating everyone how I’d like to be treated. The complete opposite has occurred in my country. More and more I hear “What can the government do for me and mine?” instead of “What can I do for my neighbor?”
It’s not the government’s responsibility to take care of us as though we’re infants. Our forefathers saw America’s need for a government that manages matters of state, foreign affairs and freedom from America’s involvement with England’s rule. In many, many ways, America still needs to grow up. To paraphrase a line from an old film, D2: The Mighty Ducks, “America’s still young. Still a teenager. Awkward at times, but always on the verge of greatness.”
The world is watching us, my fellow Americans. They’re watching how we treat one another, love one another, and love to hate one another. The world is watching how our media spins the narrative, how neighbors goes after neighbors with zero remorse, and how dying people were just trying to do the right thing.
America has regressed and is now facing a time of great economic and mental health depression. Since Martin Luther King Jr. we’ve only “patched” the problems rather than change or fix them. While I recognize my white privilege. My family unit’s complete. A local non-profit I volunteer with helps people find jobs and holds food drives. And I am (for the first time in my own life, mind you) financially stable and able to pay my rent.
I am a Christian. Loving others, aforementioned in the passage from Philippians, should come easily, right? Wrong. America’s “Me First” and “Us vs Them (whomever them may be)” cultures have divided our nation. My whole life I’ve tried seeing everyone as equal, as its our differences and experiences that make us uniquely human rather than “just another mammal.”
“One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked of them, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.Mark 12:28-31, NIV – source
The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”
Love your neighbors better than yourself.
I’ll not deny there’s a LOT of good still in the world. For some reason a lot of it isn’t highlighted. Or, when it is, people think those involved are doing so just for clout. This narrative’s leaked into our hearts, our souls, our minds. We’re kidding ourselves if we believe America’s the most perfect and strongest country in the world. We are not. And I recognize my privileges.
Not making statements on social media is a personal choice, as I’ve always felt it’s not my place. I also haven’t because I didn’t want to say something out of anger or disappointment and later regret it. And I didn’t want to post something without using my own words, thinking it through, and “just because everyone else is.”
If you don’t see family members, friends, coworkers, constantly sharing news articles, changing their profile pics to black, or sharing all those links, that doesn’t mean they aren’t taking the time they need to check their hearts and their own actions. It also doesn’t automatically mean they’re part of the problem.
Social media now seems to be the place to express pent up anger and perpetuate “cancel culture” on each other. History isn’t repeating itself. It’s barreling forward at the speed of light towards something none of us want.
Love your neighbor. Listen to your heart. Check your facts. Know that everyone matters. Believe change can happen for the better. See and try to understand the perspectives of others. At the end of the day, we’re all struggling to understand the finely woven lines between what’s actually racism and what’s perceived as racism.
Because of my faith, and how I was raised, I will love you, help you, pray with you and for you. Act with you? I don’t see myself in the middle of some protest or “newsworthy” rioting, or donating funds to a charity I’ve never heard of. But I will do my best to keep the hatred from invading my own heart to love yours.