Hey all, sorry about no notification yesterday. I guess I never scheduled the post! I came back to laptop and saw a fully typed out blog post waiting for me but I never hit the publish button. Well done Nick, well done. Today's scripture comes with a trigger warning of extreme violence and sexual violence. This is one of the hardest scripture passages to digest, in my opinion. So if you are sensitive to these triggers, please skip today's reading and return tomorrow. Further, please know that my heart is wounded if you are a victim of something like this, and myself or Rev. Joyce Lawson, our senior pastor, are here for you however we can support. With that - let's read.
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What does this teach me about God?
What does this teach me about humanity?
What does this teach me about the relationship between the two?
Where would Jesus be in this? Why?
- My Thoughts -
Alright this one is surely going to get me in some REALLY hot water, but honestly, this is the first thing that came to mind when I read this. Police Unions and the protection of the bad eggs.
The part that really stuck out to me was how Benjamin refused to turn over the people that abused the concubine when they were offered the chance. I'm sure there is something in here about loyalty and what not, but I'd like to believe honor and justice should trump loyalty. But then I thought about my black friends whom I've called after every shooting to check in on them and I realized pretty dang quick - loyalty trumps honor and justice every. single. time.
Last month I went to TedxKingLicolnBronzeville to support a dear friend of mine who was speaking. While there a woman shared her story of how her only son was shot and killed by police when he was 18. She shared how she worked with a team of lawyers (or agents - I don't recall the specifics, sorry) to try to get justice for him but eventually the lawyers looked to her and said to her "end of the road. There's nothing more we can do." She was shocked - what do you mean there is nothing more you can do? What am I paying you for? They explained that federal law states that federal or state agents cannot investigate a local cities police department unless the police department invites them in and there is no way around that. The police department denied their request for investigation citing "we're doing an internal investigation." With anger she demanded how can anything ever be accomplished with a system like this and they simply shared with her. "I'm sorry ma'am, there is nothing that can be done." 8 years later she still grieves her son everyday and no justice ever came about this.
I'm with pretty much every American when they say that 99.9% of the time the officers are doing their job the best they can. Just tonight we had the police show up to our house because I wasn't feeling safe about our neighbors (long story) and I was incredibly thankful for them. I poured out my thanks and I immediately ran up to Dunkin for a gift card and dropped off it off in the mail. But what about those .01% that succumb to the psychological thrill of being given power and authority? Why is that our own culture looks more like the tribe of Benjamin refusing to give up the bad eggs. What happens? War, hatred, and more needless blood in the streets.
In this story we have two choices of who to stand behind - the concubine or the men of the tribe of Benjamin. I think it's easy which one all of us would pick. Why can't we do the same thing for the "concubines" dying on the streets today and the frateneral order of Benjamin today?
As always, I welcome your thoughts and dialogue on this. I'm sure many of you want to see me dead for writing this and that's fine. As I (tried) to keep my comments civil I hope that you will share yours with me in a civil manner. Argue the other side but do so with love, please. We never say our best things on a knee jerk reaction (the amount of times I've rewritten this is evidence of it.)
Or, check out a few books from black authors on this subject and check out some books from police officers on this subject and gather both sides. OORRRR - if you're a podcast person I think the episode from Malcolm Gladwell's Revisionist History titled "Descend into the Particular" is one the absolute best on this subject.
Eternal God, You created us in Your own image and likeness, but sin has warped the minds of people and throughout the world there is much injustice and much carelessness of the rights of other people and personal responsibility.
Lord when You are excluded from the hearts and consciences of people, the inevitable result is that people suffer and Lord, there is much injustice and corruption taking place in our world today, not only in the lives of individuals but also in the corridors of power and the council rooms of many nations.
We pray Lord that You will right all the wrongs that are taking place in our world and vindicate those that are being treated unjustly. Keep us God from trying to take matters into our own hands for vengeance is your and You will repay - but Lord in your grace and mercy we pray that you would give justice and peace to all those that have been cruelly and unfairly treated by their fellow person and may injustice and carelessness that they have had to endure be the means to draw them into Your saving arms of grace - we ask this in the precious name of the Lord, Jesus.
- Author Unknown