I suppose I should have instant opinions or insight about the current rioting in the U.S.A. and beyond. I do have a blog and that’s what blogging is all about. But …
I’m still back in the murder of George Floyd.
I’m still there …
With a grief that has yet to erupt in tears, but threatens to at any second.
I’ve been in constant, underlying grief for a week.
I want to move forward, I expected to, but it’s just not happened. Because I have noted that, with God, for every problem there is a solution, I prefer to hurry ahead to solutions. That stage pulls me out of agonizing problem-mode, and puts me in the more tolerable fixing-mode.
Yet, I’m still in problem mode.
I’m still in grief of white men murdering a black man. I don’t even have words for all that is embedded in that video.
- Layers of terrible.
- Layers of betrayal.
- Layers of injustice.
- Layers of evil.
My ear is still bent to God in that terrible video. With George Floyd.
I’m still at God’s feet waiting, listening. I’m still …
I’ve read on social media that I am supposed to be speaking out as a white person. If I don’t, I’m condoning the murder and racism. In my mind I agree, yet I’ve tried to make myself have the words to condemn racism and the words don’t come.
I’ve read antithetical posts that tell me to not speak up … as whites we should be listening now, not speaking.
Such is life. We’re damned if we do and damned if we don’t.
It doesn’t matter. I won’t let anyone pressure or guilt me into saying and doing according to their convictions. I wonder, though …
How do people already have certainty of what to say and do? Instantly, they took to their platforms to command us to say this, and do that. How did they already have such clarity on such a terrible, muddled, never-before-experienced, complicated mess?
I’ve been immersed in live news for a week, soaking, absorbing. It keeps coming. Transpiring every hour. What I see is:
- The whole spectrum of human behaviors being expressed individually and corporately. The whole spectrum.
- Unchanged social, political, judicial, law enforcement, educational, civil, housing, health, nutritional, and financial inequities.
- Centuries of racism. Centuries.
- Victimizers and victims.
- Aggressors and passivists.
- Advantaged people groups doubling down to maintain power over disadvantaged people groups.
- Perpetrators of injustice and violence insistent on retention of their rights to do as they do.
- Marginalized groups rising to push against the oppressors who keep breaking their backs and crushing their necks.
- Also in there: professional rioters, criminals, killers, destroyers, and haters exploiting opportunities to do what they’ve perfected.
- Generalizations of people groups as all good or all bad; all right or all wrong.
- Ignorance of the fact that each person on the planet is an individual, not a generalization; not a profile; not a stereotype.
- A nation already divided, set up at the poles of extremes, established in “us” versus “them”.
- A nation of masses who didn’t have to, but chose to, or were tricked into, seeing everything through lenses of politics: as if it is normal and only right to put on “liberal” or “conservative” glasses to view life; as if pandemics and racism and all issues cannot be assessed independent of politics.
- An overlay of a novel global pandemic that added a layer of dense oppression to disadvantaged people groups more-so than to advantaged groups. For months now, COVID-19 has been laid on hot embers of injustice. The heat has been building there while we who are not oppressed watched Netflix.
We’ve never had this set of conditions before. Ever. How do people note and understand all this and launch so immediately from their established opinions, when there is so much to digest, and it’s still transpiring?
Are people retaining their pre-existing opinions without listening to those immediately affected by that big list above? Are people gravitating to those who share their sets of beliefs and finding safety in numbers there, again? Are people looking for confirmation for their biases, again? Do we never learn, even when our choices of solutions haven’t solved anything? We just keep doing the same wrong things over and over again, and call it right?
People of faith profess to add God to all equations of their lives — they claim to seek God and represent God. Are they seeking God in this time of all things new, or are they launching their reactions from the cement pads of their old, established views? How did they instantly have directives to tell us what we should be doing and what we should be saying?
How did they “knee jerk” react as instantly as an intact patellar reflex to the tap of a doctor’s hammer?
When did they hear from God to know what to do and say? Maybe they did hear that quickly, but if they did I want them to tell me what he said and what he’s feeling and what he’s directing. I haven’t heard them even mention an encounter with God in their all-knowingness.
I must be slow, or I must not have the same God. Because I’m at God’s feet and I’m still back a full week in George Floyd’s murder …
Even for people who aren’t used to God as a living, active participant in their daily lives, how can anyone know what to say and do right now? — we’ve never ever had this set of conditions before. It seems to me to be presumptive to have the solutions for this unprecedented and complicated time without listening.
- Listening to people who have firsthand accounts.
- Listening to people in unedited videos.
- Watching live television, muting the journalists if their opinions are biased.
- Reading facts-only reports.
Listening. To people. All people.
And for those of us who profess to know God … listening to him. First and foremost, listening to him.
If you already claim to know God, but haven’t even put your pre-existing views in a holding pattern in this time of newness, then I don’t want you to tell me what to do and what to say. Certainly not in God’s name. You aren’t representing God, you are representing you.
It’s understandable that people who do not have a faith background would leap ahead to enact the views they hold, and project those views onto society; they don’t know what they do, as Jesus said. But for those who have our identities in God, why are we not practicing what we preach? — why are we not at the feet of God seeking his heart, mind, and direction?
I wrote the following, linked blog post years ago, and it has been picked up by many many readers globally since the onset of the pandemic. Recently, I republished it under a new title, and it, too, is being read by many globally. The rise in numbers this week has captured my attention. I took note. If so many people are reading it, it must be desired information. As it happens, it is a teaching article about how to pray, specifically, how to listen to God.
- I am listening.
- Waiting to hear.
- Determined to not launch from my own pre-existing views.
- Choosing to say and act only if he chooses to teach me and send me.
If you are interested, here is that link: https://cindigale.com/2018/10/04/if-my-people-who-are-called-by-my-name/