Thoughts from an Ordinary Guy

This journey through life is never boring......

A Guy Named Colin and A Guy Named Dwayne

Two guys, two stories

Both play games for a living

One uses a round ball, the other one is “odd shaped.”

Both make way more money than 99% of us ever will.

Both are black.

Colin is bi-racial, Dwayne is not. 

Both are black.

Colin is part of a white family – adopted.

Dwayne’s cousin was shot in a driveby shooting this week.

She was pushing her child in a stroller.

She leaves behind four kids.

Both men have been deeply affected and impacted by the events of late.

By Ferguson.

By Baltimore.

By Baton Rouge.

By Tamir, Travyon and the list could go on.

Enough is enough, they both said.

The violence has been too much.   Too much loss, too much pain, too much suffering.

I heard a sermon this morning on “Grace and Race.”   A couple of things that Pastor Dave said that stuck with me……

His family (Dutch, white) came over to the United States in the early 1900s.   They didn’t create white privilege but there were many ways and many opportunities where they benefited from it.   Education, the GI Bill, many other ways they benefited from something that they didn’t create.

Since they didn’t create it, they shouldn’t feel guilty about it.  When people feel guilty about white privilege, they shut down and don’t talk about what they feel guilty about.  

Instead of feeling guilty, we should feel bad about it and feel motivated to do something about it.

Motivated to say, it’s not okay that violence has been increasingly the answer for everything.

Motivated to say, it’s not okay to dismiss movements that affirm the value of black lives when thousands of lives are being lost to the slaughter of abortion.   All lives don’t matter the same and we need to acknowledge that and then we need to change that.

Many people all over the United States are waking up and saying, “This is not right.”   “Enough is enough, this has to stop.”

Some of them say it in ways that seem disrespectful.

Some of them say it in ways that might be offensive to you.

But guess what.  Enough is enough.   There’s too much violence, too much racism and too much hate.

Enough is enough and whether you agree with how Colin protested or not.

Enough is enough, it’s time to do something about it.

Tom

Justice

We’re blessed by being able to attend a church that is passionate about justice amid diversity.

We’re blessed by youth group leaders who instill and nurture that passion in our kids.

Their summer bible study was on justice – the video below is them.   Two of them are mine but I’m proud of all of them……

 

Main 6:8 Madison PSA from Marcus T

The Juxtaposition of Politics and the Olympics

I couldn’t help but notice both on my Facebook feed and also on the national news the disparity between politics and the Olympics.

On the one hand, we have people like Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky, Simone Biles, Ryan Lochte and a host of others who have devoted themselves to a goal and have pursued that goal relentlessly.   For years.  With the knowledge that there are no easy answers and no easy routes to obtaining their goals.   The early morning practices, the aches, the pains, the challenges, the injuries to overcome.   It’s truly inspiring to hear their stories and to see the elation when they achieve the goals and the frustration when they come up short of what they planned.

I love watching the Olympics, not because I’m a huge gymnastics or swimming fan, but because of what it shows about the human spirit and the determination to achieve goals.   The human quotient behind the Olympics is what makes it special for me.

On the other hand, we have politics.  What is the main theme behind a vast majority of political campaigns?   “The other guy is a jerk, vote for me.”    That could summarize most political campaigns and it’s a sad commentary on our society.

I graduated from college with an English Major and a History Minor, so I’ve studied a good bit of history over the years.  I’m not sure I could say this is the lowest our political discussions and political campaigns have ever sunk.

But if it isn’t, it’s definitely close to the bottom.   

And every time we (people of the world) have sunk this low in our politics, it has not ended well for that country.   Whether it be France during the time of Napoleon, Italy or Germany in WWII, I could list many many other governments and political “realms” that have struggled, it’s all ended badly.

On the one hand, we have people who have quietly (okay maybe Michael isn’t so quiet) and relentlessly pursued their goals.   

On the other hand, we have people who do run our government and want to run our government who spend more time telling us how stupid the other person is,  how awful it is going to be if that person wins and that it’s really okay to support their candidate because it helps their party even if that candidate says things that are directly contradictory to your own personal beliefs.

Isn’t the country and your principles more important than your party?   I guess not for many of them.

Say what you mean and mean what you say.  

And to quote Winston Churchill at one of the shortest commencement speeches in history,  “Never, never, never, never give up.”

TV

The Benefit of Blogs…..

I’ve been a small part of a conversation on Facebook about a blog post that someone else wrote.   Let’s just say it’s dealing with some racial challenges and many of the comments are not positive towards the writer’s viewpoint.

The writer attempts to wrestle with the issues but the majority of the comments suggest that she is coming at the issue from the standpoint of white privilege and not really doing the issue or the people involved in this issue any good.   But that got me thinking……

This blog post, thought I disagree with it, got me thinking.   While anyone can write a blog (even I do) and I wouldn’t believe much of the stuff that’s on them, they still all serve a purpose.   

If you read blogs, or if your friend reads a blog and tells you about it and you read it, it makes you think.

And if you think about an issue – whether it be about the price of houses in Ann Arbor or the implications of police violence or what it’s like to be pulled over by the police as a black man or why Simone’ Biles adoptive parents really are her parents, it makes you think.

I hope it makes you think.   And if it makes you think then hopefully you will do something with those thoughts.   

Hopefully you will either support or protest what the writer is saying.

Hopefully you will be more educated the next time someone discusses that topic.

Think of blogs as like a great big coffee shop.    There’s a whole bunch of people sharing their opinions on issues and thoughts and recipes and sports and you can wander around the coffee shop and listen in and take part in conversations.

That’s a good thing.   Or at least it can be.

TV

God’s More Than Enough…..

Psalm 4:6 talks about how “the people” are always wanting more.  More of this, bigger, faster, higher, more more more!

And then David stops that cold with one simple sentence,  “I have God’s more than enough.”

Think about the enormity of that statement and the minutiae of our lives.

Think about the enormity of the world and the greed of the world and what this says about how Christians should live.

Does this mean we shouldn’t want more “stuff?”   No, it doesn’t say that.

It says that the “stuff” of life isn’t what is important.   The stuff of life isn’t what brings true happiness.

Leaning on God, claiming Him and choosing Him.

That’s more than enough.

Whether you’re battling disease, injury, broken relationships, struggles with government directions, or things way worse like persecution, terrorism, racism and hunger.  God gives more than enough.

Claim it for yourself and your family.

And then work toward leading others to God’s more than enough and helping them claim that too.

Because often, for others to have God’s more than enough, they need us to help them claim it.

But that’s for another day.   Today, “I have God’s more than enough.”

I hope you do too.

TJV

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