Here's what we know: Michael Brown is dead. A cop shot him. A community is outraged. A city is in complete chaos, and our nation is split on how to feel about it.
Here are five thoughts that I have.
1. A teenager is dead. If our nation can not agree on any other particular point, I hope we can agree not to lose sight of the fact that Michael Brown's parents will be visiting their son's grave site instead of his dorm room. No matter where else you land on particular issues about the case, that's just incredibly sad.
2. We avoid the hard conversations that lead to progress. There are certain trigger phrases in cross-cultural relationships that are explosive. Here are a few:
- "Why do you always have to play the race card?"
- "You can only see that through the eyes of white privilege!"
- "Well, if he wasn't wearing a hoodie..."
- "What if that happened to your son?"
And because tensions can run so high on these cross-cultural discussions, we tend to avoid them altogether. The cost of avoiding these conversations is progress in race relations. And, sadly, it's a price that we all seem willing to pay.
3. The American church is forfeiting her right to lead in areas of racial reconcilation. Ideally, here's where the church should be able to lead the way in reconciliation by saying look at us. Instead, we must remain silent because we haven't made any more progress than the culture on this point.
4. Some writers are nailing the implications are Ferguson. I hope you take time to read Derwin Gray's piece called Why We Need More Multienthic Churches and Austin Channing Brown's piece called Black Bodies, White Souls
5. We can be part of the solution. Here's a starting point. Make an extended effort to make sure all of your friends aren't the same ethnicity as you. And then, don't settle for superficial relationships with your friends from other cultures. Nurture those relationships until they are strong enough that you discuss stories like Ferguson in a way that when you the discussions are over the relationships are still fully in tact.
I write these blogs as conversation starters. I would love to talk to you about the following two questions: 1. What is the hardest part about being part of the solution? What will you do to be part of the solution?
Chris Lassiter is a Christ-follower, a husband to Emily (read her blog here), a father to five kids and a freelance writer for Young Life Relationships, HipHopDX.com, JamTheHype.com and other publications. His first book, You're Grounded, was published by Moody Publications last year. You can order the book here.