This is has been an emotional few days for many of us. There is much to unpack, to understand, to invite in and keep out as conversations about the no-indictment swirl around us. While there are many myths, fallacies, and misunderstanding occurring within these dialogues (or lack thereof) there is one that has me all riled up.
What bothers me the most is the response, "Mike Brown deserved to die because...sin." It bothers me not because you ignore the pain that this has caused a number of people, not the least of which is Mike Browns family. It bothers me not because it ignores the systemic inequities in policing black bodies, of which Mike Brown is but one. Rather it bother me because if you this, you believe it only for black bodies.
Consider what you are really saying. Are you truly prepared to justify the death of Mike Brown in the street without trial because he sinned? Are you prepared to justify that for yourself? Should someone with a gun be allowed to pull the trigger when you lie? Or when you are disobedient? When you drink excessively? When you are gluttonous?
is this an okay standard to set for your own children? When they steal? When they commit a crime? When they disobey a teacher, an officer, a pastor, or you? Is immediate and violent death an acceptable result?
If this is not acceptable for your family, but is acceptable for Mike Brown, you are making an incredible assertion. Making this claim that Mike Brown "brought this on himself and therefore we cant cry out against it" suggests that there is something especially heinous, especially evil, especially criminal about blackness and all that can be expected is death- immediate, swift, violent and without repercussion. Stripping blackness of all dignity, of all humanity- sin is reason enough to be gunned down?
If if this is true, why did we not gun down the perpetrator of movie theater shooting? Why was there not a cry in the streets for his swift execution or the many others who didn't just steal property but stole lives? What is so especially wrong about Mike Brown that his actions warranted what these others did not. And though this assertion, this double standard has been employed to justify the death of Mike, even this doesn't compare to why I really wrote this post tonight.
I do not recognize this version of Christianity. I only know the Christ who died for the sins of all. I don't know this Jesus who forgives your sins, who offers you grace, who grants you mercy, but has none for black bodies. I don't know this Jesus who hung on the cross for you so that you would have life everlasting but must cannot offer the same to black bodies. I do not know this Jesus who only died for my white brothers and sisters, but whose arms could not stretch wide enough for black bodies, and therefore Mike Brown had to die because his sin was just too much for Christ to bare. No. I don't who this is. I don't know this God of a two tiered gospel.
I only know the Jesus who died that we all might live. I only know the Jesus who wants us to have life and more abundantly. I only know the Jesus who is takes away the sins of the world. I only know the Jesus who offers grace, mercy, peace, love. I only know the Jesus who reconciles all things unto Himself.
I serve a God who loves Mike Brown.
I serve a God who created black bodies in the Imago Dei.
I serve a God who died for all.
You can keep your cheap religion. You can keep this religion who exacts from black bodies but has mercy on white bodies. You can keep this religion that believes there is something innately wrong with blackness that requires our death. You can keep this religion that demands our perfection while your family daily receives forgiveness from sin. You can keep this religion. I don't want it. But you have to call it something else. And when this religion asks you to pay for sin or the sins of your son with a death in the street on a sunny afternoon, I'll be sure to ask if my God might grant you peace.
And to those who read these assertions and feel the weight of the words, the judgement, the condemnation, the carelessness. To you I speak love.
You are loved by God the Almighty who created heaven, earth and you. You are loved immensely by a God who is fully present. You are loved by a God who knows this is a season of lament and promises not to leave you lonely. You are loved by God who see you, who knows you. You are loved by a God who has not made you inferior, has not made you lower, has not made you more worse. You are loved by a God who is intimately familiar with you. You are loved by a God who first loved you, who died for you, who is coming back for you.
This first day of Advent, you may lament. You may cry out. You may mourn. There is much injustice, much darkness. But what we will not do is believe that we are too far for God to reach us, to bad for God to save us. Resist. #blacklivesmatter