I am a Presbyterian Minister, and I serve a purple church in a purple denomination. What I mean by that is that we have red and blue, Republican and Democrat in our congregation and in the PCUSA. In normal times that is a gift, and I have marveled and been grateful for the way people who have different opinions have been able to gather together around what they hold in common, the love of Jesus.
Holding that in tension over the last year has proven difficult. For some, I have spoken too much, for others, not enough. Therefore, I need to reiterate in this post the disclaimer that is at the bottom of my site. The thoughts shared here are mine and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts of the people in my congregation.
I heard a story on the news yesterday that middle school students in my town are being threatened with racist taunts, that all black people should be lynched, burned, skinned alive. MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS. Read that again. MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS.
Perhaps we as people of faith can claim with integrity that all lives SHOULD matter, but I do not believe we can say that all lives DO matter. They don’t. Black lives SHOULD matter. Right now, they don’t.
I have heard again and again variations of the following: He should have listened to the police; he shouldn’t have run; he had a record; he shouldn’t have resisted.
What shall we say now? They should not have come to school? They should not have dared to get an education? How can we look at this and claim everything is okay?
Saying “Black Lives Matter” right now is aspirational, because the reality of so many would indicate this is not true.
I love this country. I had the honor of serving in my 20’s, and worked for nearly two years to get commissioned again at the age of 50. But like anyone I love dearly, I don’t ignore the unhealthy parts of the relationship, but instead call them out, so that we might grow into something better, healthy. We have problems, and we have work to do. Hard, serious work.
In order for us to make sure that ALL LIVES MATTER, we need to acknowledge that right now some don’t (Did I mention MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS?). We need to do the hard work of understanding why and build something better, so that some day that statement might actually be true.
And you know what? That work’s going to suck. It’s going to hurt. And in the end it’s going to be good for all of us. Think peroxide or isopropyl on a wound. Hurts like Hell, but it’s what fights off infection.
All lives SHOULD matter.
May we have the courage to do the hard work to make sure that one day all lives DO matter.
Love will win.