My Prayer for 2017

My Prayer for 2017

  I pray that this New Year will be your best year ever. The New Year is largely a symbolic event that blows the breath of new possibilities into each of us. I hope that you will fill your lungs with dreams, adventure, marvel, light, and love. Love,  is both evasive and pervasive. I pray that the latter is true for you in this coming year. May you know success and the emotional rush of setting and accomplishing goals. I hope this is your year! Please may this be the year when saying “Black Lives Matter” provokes empathy and not controversy. And may those who believe “Black Lives Matter” accept that “Blue Lives” matter too…just as much. Let this be the year that we take long deliberate steps toward each other and not away. To be color blind is to deny much of the richness of God’s creation. May this be the year we not only accept but celebrate our diversity. The rainbow of our color and culture have been masterfully painted across our globe; I hope we can step back and enjoy the picture. I pray that 2017 will have numbers far better than these horrible statistics of 2016: 4,362 people were shot in Chicago for an average of 83 per week 957 Americans have been shot and killed by the police, many were unarmed 0 police officers have been convicted of murder or manslaughter 2.5 times is how much more likely you are to be shot and killed by the police if you are black EQUALLY IMPORTANT – 64 police officers were killed in the line of...
Birth of a Nation

Birth of a Nation

OK…I just saw the film “Birth of a Nation”.  It tells the story of Nat Turner who led a revolt against the evil men who kept them and his people in bondage right here in America.  If you’re not familiar with his story it’s an important American story that all of us should be familiar with.  When I walked into the theater I noticed only one other person, an elderly white man.  I also noticed that at some point during the film he was gone, so I watched most of the film by myself.  Hmmmmm… Briefly, the story is about Nat Turner who was a literate slave (which was exceptionally unusual).  As Nat grew older he began preaching to other slaves, and got a bit of a reputation among a number of slave owners as being a great speaker.  In fact he was so good that other slave owners (it hurts to even say those words) began to hire him to speak to their slaves.  The intention was for Nat to basically lie to the slaves that all was good, and calm any thoughts they might have about a rebellion.  Eventually Nat changed from being a lying surrogate for the slave owners to being a truth teller to the slaves. I won’t give any more of the story away. What always sticks with me when I see a movie about slavery is a couple of things.  One is the depth of how wicked and inhumane the institution of slavery was.  The other thing that hits me is the magnificence of those people who endured being stolen away from their...
Never Forget

Never Forget

“Never Forget”, is a political saying that was popularized by the Jews to commemorate the atrocities they suffered at the hands of the Nazis during World War II. Some Jews feel that if those tragedies are forgotten then perhaps they may be repeated. With that in mind, ceremonies are held regularly to remember those lost and how they were lost. There is power in saying ‘I will never forget’, and in effect say that ‘I will stand vigil over my people to insure that the evil that was done, will never happen again.’ I personally respect and honor the determination of the Jews to stand up for their people. Oddly enough, there is another tragedy connected to America that one rarely if ever hears the words “Never Forget” connected to, and that’s the American Slave Trade. Often times if slavery is brought up, that person is discouraged from continuing to talk about it, and sometimes even being told in so many words to just get over it. Many Americans would rather push aside the ugly history of these United States. These people will say, “We have come so far”. They’ll say that slavery is a thing of the past, and it’s best left right there in the past. It seems to me that it’s easy for some Americans to empathize with and embrace the determination of the Jews to “Never Forget”, because the Holocaust happened in another country, at the hands of non-Americans. It’s easy to see wrong doing when it’s not in your own backyard. Personally I respect the courage and determination of the Jewish people to honor...
Fathers Matter

Fathers Matter

Moms are awesome. There’s nothing like a mother’s love. A child should be with their mother. I’m sure you have seen sayings like these, and many more like them. All of these statements are true. The love and support of a mother are wonderful and even life affirming. What is also true, but less widely proclaimed is that fathers are awesome, wonderful, and necessary. In fact the presence and active participation of a capable and loving father are critically important to the development and success of a child. If you were to ask the average person if fathers were important, I think most would tend to say yes. However, for some peculiar reason the importance of the role of fathers is not discussed and recognized nearly as much as the importance of mothers is. It is a very unfortunate truth that many fathers are completely or partially absent from the lives of their children; and this has a profound effect on the quality of life for those children. In my mind this fact has got to change. To a large extent, fathers themselves are to blame for why their importance isn’t more widely recognized. For a long time men have been the primary income earners for their families. These men would go off to work, and leave raising the children to their wives. Mothers would stay home, building mental and emotional bonds with their children. Because of the bonds made, children naturally gravitate towards their mothers for nearly all their needs. Since the beginning of time men have been enculturated to be strong i.e. ‘emotion-less’, and this over time...
Protect and Serve

Protect and Serve

Fairly recently two police officers were killed in Brooklyn, NY by what reports have said was a mentally ill man, bent on avenging the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. This kind of mindless savagery is never acceptable or effective. I send prayers for healing in this horrible time to the families, friends, and colleagues of Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu. Unarmed men being killed by the police. I knew that one day I would write about this very serious matter, and here we are. This is an exceptionally sensitive topic; and it is very polarizing. I want to be as fair and respectful as I can to the victims of these incidents and to the police. I intentionally did not say “unarmed BLACK men” because the fact of the matter is unarmed white men have been killed by police officers as well. I knew that I had not heard of any cases of unarmed white men being killed by the police. So, in the interest of full disclosure and comprehensive coverage, I went to Google. I did a search for ‘unarmed white men killed by police’. Ironically most of the search results were about unarmed black men being killed by the police. So, I dug deeper and I found two cases of unarmed white men being killed by police. Once case involved the shooting death of Dillon Taylor (an unarmed white man) by officer Bron Cruz who was referred to as “non-white” in Salt Lake City, Utah. The second case involved the shooting death of James Whitehead who was also an unarmed white man, killed by black...