In the immediate aftermath of the tragic events at Emanuel AME Church and recent Supreme Court decisions, I’ve not been pressed to comment by those who know me – they understand I’m not one to trivialize monumental shifts by trying to capture them in soundbites or tweets. Rather I’m a ponderer, one who attempts to interpret happenings by placing them within the larger narrative of life. Pondering takes time; and while I suspect I‘ll never grasp the totality of what’s afoot in our society, the time has come to share my thoughts thus far. I will do so during services on the Historic Campus July 18th & 19th. . . I encourage all to attend and invite a friend.
As a way of highlighting the seriousness of this message, two of its opening paragraphs are excerpted below. Please prepare for this special offering by considering Luke 8: 26-39 and praying for the Lord’s palpable presence when we gather to consider His Word as it’s brought to bear on the challenging issues before us.
Since the tragedy in Charleston last month, time has been on my mind – not in a personal sense, though I’m surely aware that I have fewer days before me than behind me – but in a societal sense. After an hour of prayer, shots rang out; and we were confronted by the truth that time does not heal all wounds. The scars we had papered over suddenly erupted to reveal the gaps which continue to separate us generationally, racially, economically, legislatively, culturally and religiously. And sadly, the televised forgiving of the murderer by the families of his victims stood in sharp contrast to the no-holds-barred efforts of those seeking to use the circumstances as a catalyst to further various agendas, agendas sure to leave us even more polarized.
As I see it, the words Mick Jagger wailed fifty years ago are a lie today for indeed time is not on our side. With each passing day we seem more and more prone to demonize others with a degree of self-righteous hyperbole that would once have been considered uncivilized bigotry. Personal identities have become casualties to pejorative labels; and the value of human life is being cheapened in the process. It was out of collective guilt that we rightly paused to weep for a murdered few; but it’s the height of hypocrisy that we shed no tears for the unborn thousands being murdered daily . . . but then hypocrisy is a term rightly applied to much of what passes for civility these days. Day in and day out we’re quick to sing “Amazing Grace” while offering none to those we deem to be different or inconveniently in our way.