Hard Conversations

shutterstock_572076700Tonight I was listening to a Rob Bell podcast that was recorded in 2016 after the Pulse Night Club shooting.  The title of the podcast is “Orlando”.  I recommend everyone go and listen to it.  He addresses several hard topics we need to start talking about now.  I am going to write this post, and then take a break for a bit.  My soul is getting weary again.  I need to follow the advice of my Preparing for Worship piece this morning, Contemplation, and take a Sabbath.  My soul needs renewal.

I believe in humanity.  I believe the spirit within us that is telling us this isn’t right is of God. I am needing time to believe this truly again in my heart. Listening to Rob’s podcast about Pulse was so heartbreaking to relive once again.  Fifty people were killed in a night club – a gay night club, a place these beautiful souls could feel safe, because the rest of the world isn’t safe for them.  Then evil happens.  The worst US mass shooting in history-at that point.  There is no other word but evil for the gun violence in America. People will be quick to say ISIS was responsible, but seem to bear no responsibility that assault rifle was bought legally int the US.  No other country has this problem.  The people standing in the way of gun reform are part of a cult, and they don’t know it.  The NRA is well funded, and devilishly got in the system and grabbed the attention of the white church by preying on fears. How many more tragic events have happened in this country since Pulse?  My heart can’t even bear to look it up and give you the stat, but lets remember Pulse is no longer the worst massacre – Las Vegas.  There are so many school shootings elementary, middle school, high school, college – no one is exempt.

Guns, Police, Black Lives, LGBT, women’s rights, religious freedom for more than just christians, etc are all conversations we need to start having now.  When Jake and I sat down with one of our friends who is part of the police department- he told me he loves Trump because he calls them when every officer dies.  I told him that is great.  He isn’t calling the schools when every child or teacher dies.  He is even demonizing kids who have survived a massacre who want gun reform.

The demonizing of Colin Kaepernick is so disturbing on so many levels.  He is lamenting the loss of lives of black lives at the hands of police, and our society won’t listen to it.  Instead we are waving an oppressive police flag, and saying All lives matter.  They do, but we aren’t acting like all lives matter.  Black lives have a case.  Why aren’t lives lost at the hands of police as sad as losing our police?  White supremacy is a tough beast.  The US needs an exorcism of White supremacy.  I don’t use words like this often.  I know I have been listening to pentecostals, but I agree with Rob Bell when he says there are words we try to avoid because they were used in a painful way from our past, but there comes a time when we need those loaded powerful words launched into the air.

It is time to stop being afraid of hard conversations.  I realize people are mean when you bring up guns and the police.  They need to understand their hellish behavior will no longer intimidate us.  Our children, black lives, police, and so many more due to mass shootings are dying at a rate we can no longer sit back in fear and not speak to and fight.

Several things I want the police to understand: 1) I support them when they serve as humble public servants 2) They need to speak to their violence 3) They need to address the police flags people wave.  Not trying to stop people, but those flags represent oppression, not support for the police.  There is a serious abuse of power, and the police must address it 4) When they kill, and I will say there is never a just killing, but especially those you can’t even pretend to justify – it is MURDER, not manslaughter!  You don’t get a special pass being police 5) This is to our police and our politicians – you serve all of us.  You don’t just serve your perceived base-we are all your base.  6) You need to say Black lives matter loudly.   That will be a step towards healing, and work on your own fears of black lives.  Even if you are not actively participating in the behavior, the fact you are part of the police system requires you to speak.  I say the same for the church all the time.  We have to take responsibility for being a part of a system that is abusing even if we are not- think Joe Paterno at Penn State.  In the end he protected Penn State vs the children, and many people were fine he did the bare minimum because he did enough to say he followed the rules.  He knew he was wrong.  Rules are the minimum – we go beyond the rules, and sometimes break the rules for justice.

I am not comfortable saying any of this.  Honestly, I feel like the prophet Jeremiah all the time when he is breaking down emotionally when people are not liking him anymore.  But the word of God is a fire in my belly.  I have seen Heaven on earth.  It is open and beautiful, and available to all.  I will not accept this violence and aggression from anyone anymore.  Let’s come to the table and talk.  Let the one who is hurt speak first, and BELIEVE THEM.

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