Life and Books and Everything
Life and Books and Everything

Episode 7 · 1 year ago

Season 1: Episode 6 - George Floyd and Books on Policing, Justice, and Civil Rights

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Originally released on June 2nd, 2020, Kevin DeYoung, Collin Hansen, and Justin Taylor discuss George Floyd, the need for leaders with character, and books they recommend related to policing, justice, and civil rights.

This is life and books and everythinghosted by Kevendy, Yon Justin Taylor in colinhanoreadings and salutations. Itis good to have you with us. After taking a week off over the holidayweekend, we are back here. Iam Kevin. Do Young and joined a s always with mygood friends, Justan Taylor and Colin handsom. Welcome back gentlemen good tohave you with us, and we are recording this on Monday June first, and we like to have a wide range of topicsthat we discuss here from the sublime to the borderline ridiculous at times,but always at some point resulting in some discussion of books, hence thename life and books and everything. And while we really don't want this to be acurrent events podcast at times there are events going on that. We would really be remiss if we didn'tsay something about, and so certainly we want to say something, andmaybe this will lead into a discussion of some books. But we want to spendsome time reflecting on the death of George Floyd, and we all agree that itis ' evil injustice you, you can hardly exaggerate the senselessinjustice of it and I certainly don't want to say there's there's any good inthat. That's not the right word, but perhaps something to be thankful for isthat it does seem like at least on. In thisoccasion, almost everyone in the country agreesthat to put your knee on the neck of a man who is obviously not resistingarrest there and is just casually with your hands in yourpocket, putting your knee there for eight, nearly nine minutes. While hecries out for breath and bystandards around urge you to stop, and you seehe's then lying motionless h. At least I think we can all agree thatthat's wrong, that that's unjust and that the officer has rightly beenarrested and charged, and we will pray for justice in the ensuing weeks and,however long that process last. So there's a lot of things we could say,and we want to start by making that clear and by expressing empathy, sympathy and nothose are twodifferent things and I forget which one's supposed to be good or bad, but at least trying to express. Rightfully you know we alwayshave to guard our own hearts, and these discussions that were were not looking to virtue signal and trying tobe more outraged than Zou. But I think quite genuinely. There is a place when it's honestly felt an experienceto express solidarity, not only with African American brothers and sistersin Christ, but with fellow human beings and image bearersin this loss of life, and I do think there and then I'l I'll. Let you guysjust H, give some an initial opening thoughts, but I do think there is aword here, for you know what w were three thirty something forty something white men who are talking about this,and so we've had different experiences, and we don't want to pretend to haveexperiences that we haven't. I do think there is a place,...

...and perhaps one thing that we could sayto others like us without wanting to pretend we have any expertise is tosimply say the the anger, the pain that tha I'msickand, tired of being tired. All of that comes from a very real historicalplace for African Americans, and you know I it it's a shame that we live ina time where lots of people can h, manufacture,hurts anoffenses, and yet, with the history of slavery and Jim Crow, a it's,certainly not one of them ss Tis doesn't come from. Nowhere is whatsaying- and I think that's really important for for me just put myself inthe middle for me or someone like me to remember that to understand when itinevitably won't land on Hus, perhaps in in the same way, andwhen people are saying, do you see it pastor? Will you pray about it? Is thisgoing to show up? Does this even land on you in any meaningful way? Yes, there's a danger of just gettingunde twitter to say something immediately to prove your moral bone ofFedays, but there's also a very real place to want to recognize andacknowledge y. We do see it and it is wrong, and at least it's it's not an ending place,but it's a starting place to state those things just in in Coller I'llhave some more specific questions in a moment, maybe some categories to thinkof, but just on a kind of emotional viseral level. What have you beenthinking feeling over the last week? Justin Yeah? It's not been an easy week andit's a painful at so many different levels and there'sso many different issues involved it it shouldn't require a video for usto feel pain and to feel it. This early, weread about things in history, textbooks. Of course there was no video, I mean.Maybe I will see a black and white photograph, but the fact is that we didhave a video and there were were people pleading for a different outcome, seeing whatwas going on so there's something powerful aboutseeing it in living, color and Um to literally watch a man die t. It is painful, my wife and I, whenwe first moved to Minneapolis. It was a week after we were married in summer, On Nineuteen and ninety eight. I moved into a a little forplex apartment in powderhorn park and that'sabout five blocks from where Mister Floyd died. So to think about the hometown in some sense and to see the after me ave to see the pain Um. I I don't want to any of those things C, Comin that youwere saying that you know I'm. I have some deep connection there, but I thinkit's the humanity, the the civil rights posterboard that we see of of theAfrican American men standing there withplacards. That say, I am a man mbefore George Floyd was a black man, he's just he's a man created in theimage of got and to see him killed in that way. Is it takes your breath away? A is deeply painful and is th e father ofa African American teenage boy M Athomenaa special way there as well yeathanks, for that Collin mean we all have connections in differentways, specifically to to Minneapolis a place where I grew up visiting, oftenand visiting my family in the area, and...

I think one of the first things thathit me was Oh, no not again in Minneapolis after Filando castile, andyou could see see how this was going to go m, uniqueconfluence of factors that make this crime, particularly Haitenous, andparticularly painful. I think the as you guys have already expressed the theseeing it and and watching it and watching it bear out just to the levelof which. How could you do that and I think Um. You know this isn't new for us.Unfortunately, it's not the first time this happens, F, Om the second time.It's not the third time. It's not the fourth time and wealso know that it'snot it's not a historical anomaly, but the UM when I keep coming back toagain and again and again is that I was raised in in a way to understandthe United States to be a basically good and just place and thatauthorities were we're basically on my side and Um we're going to do right byme and if I followed the rules, everything would turn out. Ok, but as I I've watch these videos overthe years and moved to the South and listened to other people's Experienceisit it's come to strike me that that's a a particular narrative that is notunique or exclusive necessarily to whites. But it's certainly not thedominant one that my African American neighbors here in Birmingham Alabamawould think- and I remember a friend of mine years ago, my pastor. He was talking about the the way that,in in a majority of black city, like Birmingham that white will can haveinstinctively respond to the threat of African Americans, and he said, isn't it interesting speaking about thehistory of Birmingham who's supposed to be afraid of whom here 'cause? It's? Obviously a city whereit's marked by the brutalization of white police officers toward AfricanAmericans? And so when you have a situation which we're kind of seeingnow within the riots where African Americans have a historical andunquestioned grievance there, and at the same time, then you have whites,responding and other people of other ethnicities responding and otherAfrican Americans responding with the fear of safety. You can see why it becomes such astruggle in this fallen world to be able to make any rogress and that's discouraging Um. You know I I I don't H, I like to fancy myself an answer personthat I have a way forward, but as I've often thought about the situation herelocally and then nationally, it's like Um pretty much. Every reasonyou want to give for the problem is a problem somewhere Um. You know the these things. I happened in a moment that changes theworld, but they don't happen in a vacuum. That e historical context ofinterpretation there and just by everybody's interpretation at somelevel, is valid. But of course, just in termsof all the problems that befall race relations in America, but the fact ofthe matter is we continued to see this afflicting African Americans and themessage is clear that it's horrible, that it needs to end and that it's notuncommon and that's Um t, I think, needs to guide whateversteps. I hope we take from here come. Let me just ask on that lastpoint: What do you? What do you think is not uncommon, you mean historically, youmean at present, you mean Um, being med, it's treated by police officers beingkilled because that that that's wo a little bit, but that's at the heart ofa lot of what divides us. Is it an anomily, or is this common? What whatdid you mean by that yeah? What I is...

...it's a great question, Kevin Um and themessage that I want to communicate here is the same message that I communicatewhenever I have a chance to be able to teach on history and civil rights, and and it's that Um, if you're African,American and whether you you live in the south orlive in one of those communities, African Americans migrated North intothere is a particular narrative related to the police and that's contemporaryin terms of interactions with police that that you're always fearful ofescalating and just speaking, especially at the south, because that'swhere most of my reading is Um, there's simply no way to avoid the plainreality that in many cases I'm not. I don't know if it's like Mo just in manycases the problem was the police. It's notlike the police were a goup of good guys who didn't step in the police werein cases like, for example, the three civil rice workers who were killed inMississippi. I mean they. They were the clan. They were the problem, they theywere complicit and, of course, that includesbolconor most famously here in Birmingham, and so what I mean is thatit's not uncommon in that. If you're, African, American, you don'ttrust the police, you have reasons to think that's an issue even regardlessof your experience, which I can't speak to, except for what I hear. We have areason to think that, historically, in a way that I do not have reason tothink about historically M, and that's what I mean there, so I just think it'simportant to understand that, if even if we don't understand that contextthat that that there's a different narrative, that's inhabited by AfricanAmericans and, of course, there's plenty of debate about data andexamples, and things like that and that's meaningful, but just if you're, if you're scared of theplice and you're African American, you have reasons so come back to some of that. I in afew moments. Let's, let's talk about this, I mean we could talk for weeksand H, maybe say a few helpful things and probably some unhelpful things hbecause anytime you, you start talking about race, H, it's difficult and I don't know aboutyou guys, but I feel the YOU Kno, I'm sure it's it's it's a partwisdom in its part, just fearfulness. You know we're gonna say something wrong, whether it's toofar to the right or to the left or missing some sensitivity. It's just it's a extremely difficultthing to talk about, and that's for the the three of us that have not had the experiences that all sorts ofpeople have had. But let's just look at a couple. A few categories and thinkingabout what's happened over the last week and Um you kn w across the spectrum, whetheryou got an arm by your name or a d by your name. You can find some examplesof of people acquitting themselves well and not well, and we do see howleadership matters and we're trying to think in this podcast how to helpChristians, how to help church leaders- and you know people ave said beforecharacter- is destiny, and I do think that's true. I mean it's, it's not thatyou can't have bad people. Do some good things. Idon't know if you watch th the Lance Armstrong documentary the last twoweeks, but one of the themes through that was you know, is lance a a goodguy who did bad things or a bad guy who did good things because he didgenuinely good things for the cancer community and ie sure seemed like a bigjerk to everyone and lied so...

...not saying that we're all mixed gay, weall have clay feet, but at some point you know a crisis doesn't make us intoheroic people. A crisis can reveal very ordinary people who do heroic things toyou know tell a looter to you know, get that brick out of your hand and allsorts of things, but we see in a crisis at some point, your character is goingto be how you lead and- and there there's there's nothing we'dlike to think that our whatever your favorite political philosophy is thatit ensures that those people are virtuous. But we just know from historyand in fact that's what our founders. Now that'sthe whole, you know emphasis in the federalist papers is we better, havechecks and balances, factions and factions and ambition, because we'renot going to be governed by angels, we're going to be governed by men, butwhen God gives us good men or Arche's, good men and women to lead in political,religious, other sorts of spheres? We see people who are honest, humble self,sacrificing disciplined and if we just pretend that we can set that aside inin looking at who our leaders should be at some point, their character is going to be revealedand in that moment of crisis are not suddenly going to be transformed, and Ithink you know, even if you're, not an expert on these matters, and the threeof US certainly aren't. I think if I you can get people of General Honesty, integrity, disciplinesacrifice, character, convic it's at least it's not it's not a sufficient, acause for for change or healing, but it is a necessary one and it's often inshort supply. How have you guys, just following your titter feed or the newsjust in how have you thought about what makes for good leadership in times likethis? I think the thing that happens whenthere is a crisis is two things, especially if you're in anyposition of leadership number one you have to speak, I mean to to not speak,is an abdication of leaderships, so you're required to saywords right, and secondly, they tend to be unscripted because by the verynature of being a crisis. So when you look at a political leader, it's onething for them to give the state of the Union, which is very upplanned manymonths in advance, and it goes through this incredible vetting process. Butit's quite another thing to to put a politician up. Let's say at a pressconference as the crisis is unfolding, all around them, there's a limit towhich that can be scripted and vetted, and so n from a biblical world viewit's hard, not to think about the sort of things. Jesus said when he, you knowsaid the good person on the good treasure of his heart produces good andthe evil person out of his evil. Treasure produces evil for out of thebundance of his heart. The mouse speaks, so it is a revealerof character. It is a revealer of the heart, the more that we speak, the morewe are showing what we are made of and what's inside of US- and this isperhaps a a different topic for a different time, but it is disconcerting.I feel conscious bound to say it that evangelicals have seemed to haveabandoned the character of criteria in terms of leadership. I I don't thinkthat's a a position or a mindset or a posturethat will end well to say what really matters is policy and effectiveness andcharacter, sort of take it or leave it. I think we're seeing in a crisis likethis, that character really does matter and what you say matters, and thatultimately comes, I think, from the...

...heart yeah, and I mean it's it's true. Iremember someone saying back in the nineties when looking at character-and you know even angelicals- were talking more about it- that what whatwhat a person does privately is is going no matter in what they dopublicly n. If you're cheat to people or your Philanderer, that you know that sayssomething about the way you interact with peopl. No, not talking about H,you know people who who come to a point of deep contrition and repentance? U Wthere'sthere's King David and man after God's own heart and w. We believe insecond chances- H, rightly construed in and forgiveness, but it is to say thatyou drop somebody into or a crisis arises around them and you are going tosee and it's going to matter this sort of person and that that's we're notjust talking politics but but in a church Com. And how have you thoughtabout this and what's necessary from a Christian perspective for leadership,ind, pandemics and riots and m all the mess that we have this year yeah? I think Um, couple of things thatstand out. I I'm increasingly of the belief within the corona virus, Umpandemic, that a lot of the reaction early on which I'll just go on therecord and think and say that my my belief is that it was an overreaction.I think the overreaction at the original outset of the pandemic owed alot to the fact that at some level, Americans didn'ttrust than trust their own leaders and thatthe world, if some level, did not trust, gobal leaders or at least also Americanleaders in that case- and I saw something really interesting this lastweek- Um I feel like I've been watching likehate watching Um just in and out Bill Mor for, like twenty years, do you guys,remember old, show he used to do you know like l at night it was before theHBO days and as a Young Christian, I would watch him and just get so furious.You'd always have like an abstinence advocate on there and they'd alwaysteam up and Um anyway, so I just remember getting so upset and so I'venever never enjoyed Billmar I've never like found common cause with him, butthoes. Something really interesting. I saw the other day as I was justflipping through channels. I saw him talking about the crn of Irus andVitamin D, and he said what we're saying all over the place is thatvitamin you know has some major health benefits. So why is it that you don'tsee a major push for people to get outdoors? Why is it that we keeptalking about lockdowns, and I mean in the sense that it just isn't good forpeople in general for their humanity, for their health, relationallyspiritually for them to be at home in front of their computers on socialmedia. Looking at all this stuff and eating in unhealthy ways- and he saidit's just very odd and then he said something interesting- he said Um, we all know- and this is coming fromBilmar's perspective. He says we all know that there's a problem withpresident trump, he said, but the problem is not is'snot less than president trump, but it's more. Where is the? Why is there this massiveleadership breakdown all over the place? And that's what's concerning to me? Ithink I've said it before here, but if not one of the reasons I love studyinghistory and I love reading about Histori is because you do see the waycharacter and the character of leaders makes a difference. The way that it can shape history underGod's providence in specific ways, and you can't just substitute anyindividual in and out and get the same...

...results. At least on this side of that,and- and I look now and I see Um, I mean just a so many different levelsat at the police level, at the health official level at the nationallevel. At the state level. Um I mean I look from state to state and for myfriends up north by the way up north from here means Tennessee. So myfriends up north in Tennessee, I'm jealous you have better leaders than Ihave in Alabama Um and just it makes it diffeer for the ball coaches or no. No,not those leaders. I mean eatersneay matter, but even if Tennessee wants toclaim that they have better football coaches. Theirs, football coach camefrom Alabama and I think if we wanted him back, he'd come back some dayanyway. So thanks Jiamy Preett, good luck, so no Ijust it it makes it makes a big difference, and I I just I see amassive breakdown when people do not trust their leaders, they turn on eachother. I think that's what we're seeing rightnow. A good old word for us is magnanimity and a magnanimous person is someone whodoesn't bear grudges. Doesn't wallow and self pity does not demand penancefrom everyone does not advertise suffering does not stoop to settleevery score. You know someone who bears hardships with fortitude and patience and those sorts of public leaders seem tobe in short supply, and you look at history, and I think I would say that tha, the president,who did the best with is, was Abraham, Lincoln. You know with MAG and that'swhy Y W most people- and I know there's whole scholarship side that that thinksLincoln was a terrible president and expanded federal powers, and so when Iturns into a Lincoln pod cast, but we do that, though we coul when nothey'renot ready but but most most people would agree, there's a magnanimitythere in the way that he addressed both sides and was not was it seemedgenuinely seeking. Certainly the union H, but followingthat peace, I wonder, maybe a transition here is tothink we talked a lot in this potgast before about social media, and you knowone of the the positive things perhaps is you know I I don't. I follow a fewhundred people, but even own there. I see people to pretty far to the right and prettyfar to the left. So there is something perhaps good with seeing how a lot ofdifferent people are viewing these same actions in incredibly different ways,but I think what can be so divisive and so harmful nd. You knowtwo things come to mine. One is to say something you know just Han. You saidif you have a public platform thre, there is some responsibility at somelevel, but so often it's you need to say it. You need say it right now. Yousay it loudest. You need to say at first, if you don't, your silencespeaks volumes get on now and I was going to tweat something on Saturday,but I thought that's going to look ironically self defeating if I tweet it,but I was going to say pastors Yo. You ought to be spending more time,crafting your pastoral prayer and what to say to your flock, then craftingyour social media statement, and I was really speaking to myself, because Icould find my own self think what what am I going to say- and I think far moreimportant is what I need to say to my my people and how I need to lead themin prayer in thinking about this. But social media can just twist what reallymatters and then the other danger there's many is. It is so easy to thinkthat is...

...reality when especially twitter, allsorts of studies have shown this. You know it's, it may be influencers socalled, but it's a very small what ten percent of people are on twitter. Imean it's a very small slice and it tends to be angry. That's what it does and you canthink that is reality. Now it's not. I mean they're real people, well, some ofaren't their bots, but a lot of them are mose ere, real people tweedingthings, so it's not disconnected from all reality and yet, if you thinkthat's what America is my twitter feed that that is Goin to be depressing andit's going to produce in us a lot of anger and fear, and you know I just find for myown sanity. You know I wanto follow the news, and so often I do it through toit, but I I need to I need to step away. I need to step out- and I don't know how some of our friends getin there and mix it up and they may have a different calling- and I can'tyou know, judge their motives on that. Ey May do some good, but for me I knowit becomes very unhealthy. Very quickly, perhaps one helpful thing we could dofor just a few minutes is to talk about some books and some books that may help us try to have some betterunderstanding of what do you want to call it interactions with police or racialreconciliation and there's a lot of of books here? So I'm not I'm not askingfor your top ten books about the civil rights era, though maybe that's onethat you think is helpful or books on th, the broad state of race in America,but perhaps just thinking about the issue of policing and African Americancommunities and what we've seen with George Floyd and now what we see withprotests N in and riots, which are two different things and it seems likemaybe not even the same people doing those so books and here's a couple that come to mind forme. One- and this was I wrote about this onmy y blog a few years ago, and it was a book recommended by Ed Coplan Whos, afriend of mine and probably of yours too, a African American pastor inRockford Illinois. I serve on the board of TTC with him. Ah He's a friend andI've learned a lot from from him on these issues and he he invited meseveral years ago to to read. It's called, don't shoot and it is by a Kennedy: What's IT David Kennedy andhe's white and he's self described liberal, it's not a Christian book, buthe writes about race relations, an the police, and he has one particular aboutfifteen page section, which is very powerful and just a few lines fromit. He says the real issue was the police thought the community wascompletely corrupt from top to bottom. The real issue was the communitythought the police were predators, deliberately doing them herundhis harm.The real issue was the way the relationship between the police and thecommunity was being poisoned by toxic racial narratives, hear things get realugly and ED recommended this book. To me,Anett actually is is mentioned in the book. Is One of the people who's WHO's,helped to try to bridge some of these gaps between the community and lawenforcement? And what I found th helpful in the book is, you know, he's not David Kinnedy, it'scoming from someone who has an experience with both communities over along time and he's really trying to give both communities. I think thebenefit of the doubt to say: M I've not encountered racist police officers. I've been in these communities, theyreally do want safe communities,...

...and yet there are these narrativeswhich make things so difficult for for for anyone to come to some commonground, and so I found that very helpful on listening to the police and theirperspective listening to these communities in their perspective and inwhat role? It's certainly racialized, but it's a more complicated picturethan simply there's racism and there's good guys and there's bad guys. So thatwas a very helpful book for me. You cangoogle it. I wrote an article on my blog across the race divide about thatabout four years ago and interestingly, another book- that's n,W, not a Christian book, but just for maybe information for some people. Ididn't grow up around police officers. I grew upround, mostly white people, but I probably grew uparound more African Americans than police officers. It's just a very smallnumber for both, and so I'm you know new to even understanding the world oflaw enforcement. And now I have probably a dozen law enforcementofficers in my church. But I read that when Ferguson happened, this booked byLee Loflin called police procedure and investigation a guide for writers. It'san interesting book for people who are trying to write crime stories about how policingactually works and for somebody WHO's. A novice like me just to read throughit and talk about typical policing procedures was just eye opening. Againit's not a book hit's not trying to take any sides on any of theseparticular issues, but I found those two helpful and and there's other onesbut I'll. Let you guys jump in Colin Yeah. A few books Kevin come to mind Um,then, and from a variety of different perspectives related to that issue ofpolicing and minorities. But one of them is that, overall, I would justcommand for a lot of people. The book factfulness by Hans Rostling and a epretty popular book Bill Gates Hat picked up on it and tothe people likedit, and you wonder how was that exactly connected to this issue? Well: KevinYouand I and and just nd, we've all talked quite a bit online and offlineabout how people would size up this state of racism. Today. How serious isthis? How much progress have we been made? Think Ron Rosaling gives people acategory to be able to say things can be better and not good, and I think that'll help people to beable to have better conversations with each other to say somebody over heremight be saying, but hey, don't you see how things are better and somebody elsecan respond and say yeah, but they're still not good, and they can both becorrect, and so I think that mentality would help a lot of people. Another book, a New Book kind of areissued book, came out last year called consumed by hate redeemed bylove an Thomas Terence. This is a Christian book about there's no otherway to say he was one of the most notorious White supremicist terroristsof the south in the civil rights era and went on to become president ofthinking. He Cs Lewis Institute and a born again Christian and one of thethings that's remarkablout this booause, I'm so grateful that the Lord preservedtarence life through what he went. What he had done, Um m again we're talkingabout a an actual terrorist. Here I mean assassination attempts. Prisonbreaks all kinds of different stuff, but I think it's kind of interesting inthis context, because it makes you think how in the world I mean, would theyever have allowed a man who had done things like this in Mississippi who wasblack to ever survive any of this. You...

...know you'll often hear about even howhorrible criminals are treated differently if they're, white orthey're black M, that's just a subtext within terence book, but more thananything else, it's the story of God's transforming grace in his life. Thelast one I'd mentioned just briefly, is Um one that I recommend most commonlycalled carry me home by Dianmic warder s about the civil right struggle ofBirmaham in nineteen sixty three on apulit surprise, one of the reasons Irecommend this one so often Um. I don't know how you guys feel about thisexactly but im, I'm goingto go down, I'm going togo down swinging on the premise that a re one, major reason: We don't. We haveso many problems, heres, because people don't know they they either choose not to know outof iberate ignorance or they've, never been taught or they've been taught badhistory or something. But if, if somebody were trying tounderstand my own cities problems, then they wouldn't just go back andpick? U Nineteen Sixty three! They would go back to nineteen twenty threeand they would look at e the relations between the police and labor unions inBirmingham, and so I mean that's, I'm just I'm going to stick to thepremise that one reason a lot of people don't see eye to Ey is because theyjust don't know, and so my my inclination as a teacher who loves toto read the stuff and love to talk about it. Is that I'm just going toassume that when we do talk about it, that people do change. I know that'snaive. It doesn't always happen that way, but I mn assume that if you getthe Rightha rigtbooks in the right hands of people that Lord uses, thatmeans to change lives. I've seen it happen, my own life and anothers, just in the few books that come to mine for myend, not so much along the policing route,but just more generally about race things that I've found helpful over theyears M. I know, divided by faith, is kind of the one O one level Bible for a lot ofpeople on these sort of issues. I wasn't as big afan of that book, but George Ansi Who's, a black sociologist beyond racialgredlock, I think, is helpful in a lot of ways, especially if you think colorblindness is th. The key to moving forward he's just a very thoughtfulclear writer from a fiction standpoint, meals fromMars. culd. You see highlighted that a few years ago did a nice review theauthor's name, I'm not sure how pronnounce a last name, something aana,Shoc Shockomember, I member at my church, Al Rit, a fictional narrative and a young blackman who gets into trouble. I think it's a great entry level bookjust on empathizing and trying to look at things from different people'spoints of view. All right. Let me grap up this pod CASS with a I a fewmiscelladious thoughts on everything. That's going on right now and just tolet everyone know we were having all sorts of technological gliches inrecording this pod cast, and so things may fell a little patchy at times andunfortunately, when Justin was talking, things started going, hey wire, so youmay have less justin tailor than we would all like, and in fact we couldn'tquite finish. The whole discussion that we wanted to have, and so I'm flying solow now for these last few minutes. But given this state of everything going onin our world in our country didn't want to end it abruptly, so wejust try to offer maybe a smattering of thoughts. I've beenthinking a lot about, what's wh t what's making this sodifficult tha this in that statement refers to racial issues in this country. Makingsense of...

...what's happened in the last week in thelast five years in the last generation, but in particular thinking about thislast week, as we are now on Niht. Seven of I mean just mind: Boggling destructionin some of our cities and so w w. How did we get here? What what isgoing on, I don't know the answer to that, but here's just some thoughts, h, wha, what's making it worse, maybethat's the way. What is making this worse number one, there's a tremendous amountof a just Calli, my side, ism that happens on on both sides on allsides that every time we have, I mean it's corona virus, it'sthe economy, it's politics, and now it's literal life and death and thougheveryone virtually everyone can agree that the death of George Floyd was wasa murder and it was an injustice after that everything becomes a talking point for one side or theother, and I saw Philip hoems very thoughtful andappreciate what he says he he he pointed out that something I'msummarizing now something your perverse starts to happen in our hearts that youyou root for the other team to to do something evil, and he wassaying O if you find in your heart that you want the officer to have turned outto be the worst possible white supremisist. You find that inyour heart. You want that to be true, or you find in your heart. You want itt that George Floyd was was on drugs and he had a police record and he wasyou find that in your heart, an and the human heart wants to find those orbecause then it can feel like. Okay, our Ur, our side doesn't have eggon its face, and I mean this has been happening for a long time. It's justbeen made worse in the last number of yearsthat you know, there's there's certain sides, and you know you Y, so you wantto show that the real people doing all the bad stuff are h, the Anti fashes or it's the whitesupremacist, and yet those things do do matter. But all we're trying to do isprove that your side is the one that makes everything wrong and that's notgoing to help th. That's one thing, just a constant,my side, ISM, and so we just feel like we're just we're wearing these jerseys,whatever they even represent anymore, and we're just trying to find a waythat our side, whatever that is our side, are the ones being victimized ourside are the ones who are being put out your side. A is the one that's wrong. Second, obvious reason why this is sohard is just personal history. I mean any time you talk about race and, andI'm not going to pretend to certainly ha, have that history or or understand that history, except Iwant to listen and I want to understand and want ta actappropriately. Based on what I hear and understand, I know that there comes apoint when African, American friends and neighbors say: okay, we want you tolisten and want you to sympathize. Then we want you to be with us. So there's apersonal history to it. That is y. You can't do away with and youwouldn't someime you don't want to do away with it. You want to do away with you know, injustice and then, with thatwe have to you, know, there's a tremendous amount of Gilt, there'sguilt that that white people feel- and...

...we have to be honest with that, anddoes that mean that every you know, white person who is really adamantabout the cause of justice is doing it to a Suay's White Gilt. Well, no, ofcourse we're not impuning people's motives, but it does mean there there'sa personal side to it, whether you are black or whether you are white that webring to it. These intense emotions, an experiences and in some sense tryingto prove who we are or who we aren't nd.So it's it's never never just ou know I dispassionate intellectualdiscussion about facts. We're always interpreting them. So it's it'sintensely personal. U, you know third, we're in this lockdown and we'll see in two weeks. I guess whether the lockdown, hownecessary it was, or whether all these crowds are super spreaders or whether we were locked down inside and didn't,really need to be, but certainly that's something y. You have all this stress.You have all this economic, UHEVAL and you're not supposed to go anywhere, doanything and now the weather's nice and it's summer and y pent up and certainlythat's something for we are in the fog of war. No, I D T,I don't use war. Hopefully this doesn't escuclate any further, but it's reallyscary, but I just use that as an expression. Ind Justin has said that anumber of times that in the fog of war, you get all sorts of misinformation andit may be intentional misinformation, butoftentimes it's just things are happening quickly. You don't know it's outsiders, it's it's people fromMinnesota. Well, what's the truth there what's going on what? What are thereports happening Y, just there's just a big fog, and so we're bound to wantto believe what our narrative already says is taking place and there's somuch information. We just don't know H A fifth thing. This is really. This is a scary time. Iknow it's H. I was talking to an African American friend T at said. Ni'mscared. I'm scared to go. I'm I'm scared. What this means. I know.Hearing from friends in Minneapolis they're, I mean scared, notirrationally, but but but very understandably in so many ofour cities, and it's scary to think that, what's going to happen when- and we pray very soon that thatthese are quelled and and they calm down, you know, will the citiesevacuate will? Will people go out? WERL will crime run rampant? You see justwhat he, what a gift civilization is and that it's notsomething that comes naturally it's something that has to be worked for and defended and preserved,and it only takes a small handful of people and perhaps leaders who are notup to the challenge to see all of this unravel very quickly, and I don't meanthe whole nation, but I mean a lot of really hard things. So these are scarytimes and when you get that and thr and people are angry, we understand whythey're in they're and they're frightened this and everything is onvideo and you have instant communication with everyone. This is arecipe for a very difficult time. I don't know what what number I'm I'mon here. That was maybe five or I just got two other things here: a bit more intellectual Um. Just thinking more broadly about why race in this country and thinking,hereabout people of goodwill, thinking...

...about people in your Church of adifferent color thing about people who agree on so many other things and yousing the same songs and you really love Jesus together and you read the sameBible and you really are together for the Gospel, so why? Why is it so? Why is it sodivisive? Well T ONE UM! This is number six. I guess we're not sure what our history is as acountry. I think everyone acknowledges that it'sour history, like any nation is, is filled with H, high spots and low spots. That's a nota controversial thing to say, and there are great accomplishments and there aregreat injustices. But beyond those sort of platitudes, is the history of America and I'm going to put this, as you know,neutrally as I can, but is the history of America?Basically, four hundred years of systemic oppression, the white people hhaving all of the benefits and black people being systematically oppressedand treated in inhuman ways such that the the founding statementsof this country were window dressing for a larger, more nefarious project and thoee. Certainly good things. We'rethankful about our country to tell the story of our country is to essentiallytell the story first and foremost, of bigotry in everyone who might becomplicit in that. That's one way to tell our national story there's another way to talk about.America is the land of hope and opportunity with many blind spots,grievous ones h that have oftentimes not lived up to our own ideals and thethings written down in our founding documents and nevertheless h prcan, say I'm proud to be an Americanand there are, on the whole believe the country hasbeen an exceptional country and one that is been used for good in the world N. Iknow lots of people wh say well, some people say I want to say both of thosethings are true. Well, yes, we all understand, there's goodand bad in the country. That's not controversial, but the basic story thatwe're telling. I don't think we agree on, and it's not the point of this potcastto try to say which is wich here and then related to that. This is atthe seventh big picture point in most Germain sowere going thers andagain I'm talking about Christians about like minded people of good willof good faith in the church. We don't agree on the current state of racism inAmerica. Put it very crudely suppose that the experience of slaveryin this country Ou get a scale zero to a hundred hundred is absolute horrible,racial injustice, bigotry, evil and zero. Is Heaven we're not going to Zearon earth but say Chattel Slavery in America wasexperience of ninety to a hundred and say Jim Crow was an experience ofeighty to ninety...

...now you're going to get almost everyoneto say that some things are better than they used to be and you're going to getalmost everybody to say. Yes, racism still exists in places. Those are big ideas. People can agree on, but ifwe were to put a number on it, I know we can't, but do we think that this state of racismin America, privileges accrued to Lhits, the the disadvantages and oppression personally or systemically againstblacks h if it was ninety to one hundred and then eighty to ninety withJim Crow H is the number now seventy five or is it twenty five? And if, if you're, depending on how we'rewalking around, if we have the number seventy five in our head, then all of th. You know that is offramework for interpreting all sorts of other events that happen. That H are events that are not standalone events,but are part of a broader narrative from slavery to the failure ofReconstructionto, Jim Crow to red lining to mass incarperation to thepolice Mrutality, and it fits in this. This narrative story, I'm not using anyof those terms pujoratively. Likewise, if somebody thinks well, racism stillexists, but you know it's it's it's going down overall and you KN, maybe Yowe're at a thirty or a twenty five or twenty. Then they will see theseincidences as stand alone. Incidents and bad cops, andten, mostly good, copsand Um, some bad experien tragedies and injustices, but not thestory. Rit Large, not mainly what's happening in America, now you're,saying, H, Kevin, okay, you're, just laying out theseoptions and you're not telling us what you think and I'll just be honest. I donot know. I don't know- and I know that I can't make my experiencein what I've seen to be the total some of the American experience. I know whatI hear from others. I know what I read and, to be honest, I want to learn and listen and try tomake sense of it, because I think at the heart of a lot in the church, atleast when these incidences come up, can agree on this. One thankfully I'swrong in in injustice, but the broader story of what's going on is one that you know we 'we're not sure about, and we really wedon't agree on and because the whole issue comes up inthese moments of great h, emotion and tragedy. It's never reallyfeels like okay. Now it's a good time to sort of. Let's, let's talk history,let's look at economics, Lioit Studies, an just all all of that then seems outof place, but I think we need to have the sort of trust and love and fellowship with one another that evenif we don't finally agree on well, the number is seventy five or the numbers,twenty five, that we we do at least look together and try to assess, as asbest a we can. So for all of those reasons, I think this is intractably difficult, so boy, I'mwrapping this up rather long windedly. Let me end with something perhaps just trying to be a little more positive, though we we need to stare atthe the negative before we can look at...

...the positive. Just leave you with threequick thoughts that made maybe some some encouragement one we ought to consider- and here I know,there's people overseas, Tis, teing Thare's been thining about Americans.We ought to consider that we don't Ha. We don't know what is real America, and I say thatbecause I don't want to gloss over major flawsand faults, and yet it is so easy you know justover this past week. You know you look through sociamedia and you find storiesof black protesters, protecting a whitepolice officer, because they're protesting in good faith and they'reprotesting t to work for change and to be heard and not to seek violence. Youhear stories of you kN W A white sheriff who gets down and marches withthe protestors and says I love you, I'm listening to you. I want to change.What happened in Minneapolis is wrong. So is that America is that the state ofrace relations h get not saying that th, the bad stories aren't true, but butlet's not go o the other side and say well. None of the good stories are trueeither or they don't tell us anything about what it's like in America. It's so easyto take the worst of the stories and the worst injustice is in the worstincidents in the worst sorts of people and think. Well, that's what it's like and when they're you know we're notgoing to hear about the thousands of people from all over Minneapolis whogot up the next morning from churches and probably from synagogues and justfrom all walks of life. It's our cleaning up the streets, we're not GW, not going to know theirnames. So what is the Real America? We don'thave to settle that. It's just the worst pictures in the worst storiesthat we see. The other thing is to just come back to, let's not miss what we really do agreeon. So I went through a bunch of things. We may not agree and we may not. Youknow, tell the history of America n the same way. We may not assess the currentstate of racism in America in the same way, but don't miss that I mean it is something and it is achange from fifty sixty years ago, virtually everyone wans t. We want ad end to police brutality.WE WANT AD in to racism. We we want people to be valuedto be treated the same way. We don't wantpeople to be fearful for their lives. We don't wantthere to be unnecessarily harsh interactions withpolice officers. We don't want stores to be looted and destroyed. We don'twant police officers to be spat upon that. You can find. You know people inextremes, either direction who say I do want those things and that's part ofthe revolution, but look that's that's not where most everyoneis so, let's not miss what we do really agree on it. If coming out of this canbe a real heart felt effort to say w. We we don't want this to happenagain and we and you know, there's, there's thiry three hundred and thirtyhuman beings in this country. So bad things will happen again, but if we can do if there's ideas out there, if thereare ways to to make it, I think there's a great amount of will to see thesethings all sorts of things. We don't agreereso easily polarized and inpoliticized,...

...but there are a great number of themost important things that if we could get the Y sideism out of it, we reallydo want to see happen and then, finally, just for Christians. What what do we do? AndI know this is going to sound gain your being a piatist here, but Iwas seeing Caronellis tweat this today and I appreciate it. She sayin, don'tdon't let people tell you that prayer isn't doing something there. Maybe things to do after you,pray but but pray, and we know, as as Christians, t at to pray is not prayeris the work. Prayer is the wrestling against not just flesh and blood, but powersand principalities prayer is not just thoughts. It's not mindfulness. It istalking to the God of the universe. Who Cares about us and cares about hiscreation and cares about those made in his image. In yes, cares about theUnited States of America, and so we pray and we prayn Jesus name, believingthat God will listen and we pray for humility. U, before, we think of all the other sins thatsomeone else has to repent of and all the ways that they're benighted andthey're thinking what if we would start, we would prayfor a week. I've found that this is one prayer. The Lord always answers in mylife. Lord show me my sin wht. What have I missed expose my the dark places of my heart. Whi Ou,give me humility toward others and then what? But? What can I do?Knowing that we have different vocations? We have different spots inlife and you know someone who's on doing. Legislation on Capitol Hill hasa different calling than someone who's busy at home as a mom, but what might Ibe able to do and then boy this is going to soundlast thing I promise this is going to sound. Absolutely like I'm just doing a beatlesong. All you need is love, but look, don't don't let the world steal that from the church. So I know sometimes you know perhapsfairly chrisashe criticized for only thinking in a personal dilension, soI'm not suggesting that we just go out and hold hands withneighbors from six feet away and all problems go away. G again, there's culture, there'slegislate, there's all sorts of things, but look if we HAV Christians gets to a point where we're embarrassedto say: love is what we need to do. Then we we've missed what it means tobe a Christian Love God and love your neighbor, and we know as Christiansthat we know the definition of love and it's not unconditional affirmation.It's not. You know just warm squichy feelings. Love means you're, patient and youre kind. You do not envy others, you don't wantto take away blessings. They have you don't boast like the blessings that youhave her because you deserve them: You're, not arrogant, you're, not rudeto at other people. You won't insist on your own way y. You you want to list,and you want to learn. You want to understand. You come with a posture ofhumility, you're, not irritable, you're, not resentful. You don't rejoice, itwrong. Do you're not looking for the other side to screw up, because then itmakes your side look better and you want to rejoice with wrongdoing becauseha ha. Shame on you! That's a point for our side. You rejoice with the truth, whoeverwhoever tr where it comes from. Whoever says it you want the truth. Love bearsall things believes all things hopes...

...all things endures. All things, lovenever ends. So no faith. Hope and love abide thesethree, but the greatest of these is love. We know love because the Lord Jesusloved us first he gave his life as a propitiation, a wrath, atoningsacrifice when we deserved the fathers just anger against us. Wedeserve to be treated as criminals when we had nothing to our account that weshould be given a second chance or a millionth chance because of his great love with which heloved us. Well, we were yet sinners, grice, loved us, and he gave up hislife for us, and so we who have been loved surely ought to love one another. God bless, stay, safe, pray, read yourbibles and we hope to be with you again next week.

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