Tag Archives: Racism

Times Change…..But do they?

28276382_10155314382716966_3287178305439075791_nThanks to our “friend” (and I use that term very loosely), Mr. Zuckerberg, we get quite often reminded of things that happened it in the past.   Some of it is hilarious – I was going to throw some examples in – but I don’t think my kids would like that.

Some of them are just, “Oh I remember when we did that!”   Some of them are not so fun – “Wow, it’s been 5 years since I broke my finger?’  (I think it’s actually closer to 9 years.)  Or “man, did you see how much hair I had 11 years ago?”

And then there are the thoughtful pieces.   If we’ve been hanging out on here for a while, you know what I’m talking about – the pieces that are designed to make you think.   There are people out there who get a lot of attention – way more than I do.   Jen Hatmaker  Bob Goff, John Pavlowvitz, Benjamin Watson, Brandon at Hony, Nicholas Kristoff, just to mention a few.   They write and people pay attention. 

Recently, due to Facebook’s “memories” I came across some writing that I did about this time of year in 2014.  6 years ago – has anything changed?  So I read through what I wrote and oh my…….

There’s a lot of changes and looking back on it, I think there’s a lot more we can learn from what has transpired since then.   I’ve spent a number of hours this morning reading through what I wrote then and there’s a lot more big and small issues that need to be given a closer look to hopefully better understand what’s going on since then and now.

I’m working on rewriting, updating and refocusing those pieces based on what changes have happened since then.

I hope you’ll join me for the walk through these times.   I think we will all understand what is happening right now.   So, join me.

Hope to hear from you on it as well.

 

Thanks,

 

Tom V

The Church and Donald Trump

The following is a quote from an article in Politico magazine. In it, they summarize some things but they also quote the current President a number of times.

On Tuesday, President Donald Trump refused to condemn white supremacists. On Wednesday, he blamed suburban, low-income people of color for “ruining this American dream.”  The comments represent a feature — not a bug — of Trump’s presidency and campaign that are ramping up in the final month of the election.
A day after he told the far-right Proud Boys, to “stand by,” igniting outrage from Democrats and concern from Republicans, the president equated having a low income to being a minority. He also claimed — falsely — that Joe Biden wants to turn Minnesota into a refugee state.
Speaking to a mostly white crowd in Duluth, Minn., on Wednesday, Trump gave a shout-out to the suburbs, particularly “women in the suburbs.” He boasted he was the person to end an Obama-era fair housing rule, which he said brought “low-income housing” to suburbia.
“By the way, just so we can get this straight, 30 percent of the people in the suburbs are low-income people. Thirty percent of the people in the suburbs are minorities. And so we’re ruining this American dream for everybody,” Trump said.” From the Politico News

Can someone do me a favor?

Answer this question – “As a Christian, meaning you believe in Jesus, and you believe that what the Bible says is true, can you please explain to me how that works?

How does what Donald Trump does and says line up with the Bible calls Christians to do and to believe in and to support?

I’m not talking about the stuff he did and said in the 2016 campaign or the way that he verbally abused people (one handicapped reporter comes to mind). I’m not talking about those, I’m talking about the last couple of weeks.

If you feel you can answer that question in a calm well thought thorough manner and would like to share it with me and the rest of my readers, write it up and send it to me. But a couple of guidelines:
1. No name calling or blaming anyone else for anything (no words that I have to blank out either.) This has to be about you and Donald Trump. Why can you, a professing believer in Jesus Christ support him for president.
2. If it’s going to be more than 500 words, it needs to be split into parts so that each piece is no more than 500 words (give or take 20).
3. No using the term, “if only” or “but when” or “he tried” or “the Democrats wouldn’t allow him.” I don’t want you to make excuses for “the Donald.” I think that after four years, we pretty much know what we’re getting with (though it might be worse than we think based on hints dropped lately).
4. Pretty much what I’m asking for is for someone to attempt to explain to me how a Christian can vote for another 4 years and can at the same time acknowledge the ways that he has violated what God tells us in the Bible.

If anyone would like to take a stab at answering that, I would be happy to share my relatively small stage with you.

I will report back with brief updates if anyone says they are putting one together or anything like that. My hope is that all of us, Christians, non-Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and any other religious groups out there look at their beliefs and attempt to match it with our current president’s behaviors.

I look forward to seeing your thoughts and I will share mine once there has been ample time for others to share there.

Sincerely,

Tom

It’s okay….

What’s okay? The news?

Nope

The crime figures?

Nope

The fact checker results when politicians give speeches?

Nope

The most recent Covid statistics and the grief and pain that they represent?

Not a chance

The anxiety ridden discussions that take place on places like Facebook as parents wrestle with big questions about this school year. At home? Online? What about work? My career? My high school and college aged kids – what will this do to their plans?

Last week I had a relative whose job changed drastically, a friend who had to go back to college to bring her daughter home – because she’ll be doing college from the basement rather than at college. Oh, and two families who decided that they were going to home school this coming year rather than send their kids to the local private school. That reduced the number of students at the school by 4.

One of the difficult things about churches, private schools, orphanages, missions is that often you are forced to make business-like decisions in the middle of a charity run organization – and often in very desperate times. So, that school I mentioned above, they removed 4 kids from the local private school – I don’t know, but I would be surprised if that didn’t cost the school $25,000 or more this year. How do they make that up?

And this week, one of the major political parties held their “virtual” convention. I know it’s necessary to finalize the candidate the delegates are supporting, but let’s be real…..

If you watched the speeches and listened to the talking heads analyzing it all 6 ways from everywhere, how much of it can you really believe it is true? I’m working on a very personal piece about that which I promise will be out before the election. It is hard to write because basically, I’m…….. (sorry, not going to give you a sneak peek.)

I’ve had conversations with some of you about the whole concept of righteous anger. If something truly crosses that “line in the sand” for you, then it is okay to be mad about it. It’s okay to be angry that _______ is happening. It’s okay to be upset that the President said _________. It’s okay to be angry at what those who are not following Covid guidelines are doing to the health of so many and frankly the health of our nation.

It’s okay to be angry.

It’s okay to be angry at God because He didn’t give you what you wanted.

It’s okay to be angry at politicians who you feel betrayed their word.

It’s okay to be angry about children who are caught in immigration struggles that POWs shouldn’t even have to face.

Get angry. But then don’t stop there. Don’t just walk around being angry.

It reminds me of the song by the Christian Music Artist, “Mike’s Chair.” It goes something like this:

“Then I shook my fist at heaven and I hollered, ‘God, why don’t you do something?”

And then God said, “I did……I CREATED YOU!!!!!”

We’re going to be talking a lot more about the “do something” part of it, for a number of reasons, but for now, just think about this thought…..

The world is messed up.

God’s okay with us being mad about it.

But he wants us to not be satisfied with being angry but to do something about it.

More to come,

Tom

Trayvon and George and ……

There’s not enough room to list them all on this page.

Trayvon has been dead for 8 years.

George has been dead since May 25 – not even 8 weeks.

Trayvon wasn’t the first.

George already isn’t the most recent.

Sharifa Stevens wrote about Trayvon and Joseph Kony 8 years at Why I Fear “Good” People: Trayvon Martin and Kony 2012

“What nauseates and scares me is the deafening silence from the masses concerning Trayvon Martin, our neighbor. It’s curious to me how easily 100 million people could see the Kony video, buying t-shirts and forwarding videos, and yet remain silent about the neighborhood watchman in their own backyard who shot an unarmed boy for carrying Skittles.”

Dr. Marin Luther King Jr. in his now famous, “Letters from a Birmingham Jail,” said,
• “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”
• “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”
• “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
• “Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.”

Sharifa is a good friend of a friend of ours from my time working for the kids in Haiti. If she has Tara’s seal of approval, that’s good enough for me.

Dr. King’s “Letters from a Birmingham Jail” is so packed full of wisdom and insights into the church and race and our country.

There’s a lot more to be said and a lot more to be done.

Think about it and I’ve got more to say as we attempt to move forward……

In the mean time, can we all try something?

Even in times of social distancing, I’m positive that all of us can realize two things:
1. That we’re all different. We all bring different experiences, stories and more to this thing called life.
2. That it’s possible to disagree with someone without hating that person or insulting them.

If we realize those things, the conversation about this could be a lot more productive and a lot less destructive.

TV