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Ferguson, John Perkins, Mockingjay and Race

Just prior to the recent Grand Jury announcement in Ferguson, we (the SOS Academy) wrapped up a collective reading of Let Justice Roll Down, a autobiographical memoir of pastor, civil rights leader and founding father of the Christian Community Development Association, John Perkins.

His book reminds me that we are not long in our tumultuous struggle of racial equality and reconciliation in this country; the wounds of the civil rights era remain tender in this nation. His story reminds me that we have very far to go in our sojourn towards reconciliation and justice in this nation which has witnessed a long history of one racial majority subjugating racial minorities. His testimony reminds me that both personal, moral accountability is a critical factor for all parties in the conversation, and his own experience tells me that simultaneously there are objective, systematic forms of racial oppression which must be confronted and dismantled, for all lovers of God are lovers of justice for the vulnerable and marginalized. Indifference is no option.

Lastly and most importantly, his story poignantly underscores the reality that there remains no hope for true racial reconciliation and justice apart from the scandalously good news of Jesus Christ. This good news comes to us in human flesh who emptied himself of the prerogative of his divine power and made himself a servant and sacrifice in order to bring about the end of the tyrannical rule of sin, evil and death - the worst form of oppression for humankind and all of creation.

Unfortunately, we as individuals, and as a nation, are far to adept at deceiving ourselves and taking a stance which serves to merely advance our own comforts. As I sat and watched the recent dystopian film, Mockingjay, my body pulsed with energy and elation as the impoverished districts fought the Capital (i.e. "the system"). The long oppressed citizens marched across a bridge towards the damn, arms filled with explosives by which they would decimate the very source of energy for the Capital. Every person in that room internally cheered for the end of the Captial's oppressive regime.

Stories like the Hunger Games simply highlight a common-grace thirst for justice for those who have long been weary under the thumb of the "system." The grand epic of The Exodus surely tells us this truth. When the credits of Mockingjay rolled, my mind immediately went to the events of Ferguson, and more recently to the #wecantbreathe tactics in NYC. Should we be surprised when those who've long received the short end of the stick rally together to cry for justice? Set your judgment of tactics aside and sympathize with those who have far too long seen the evidence in our nation that black lives matter far less than those of us who come from the privileged white majority.

In the aftermath of the untimely deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, we've all encountered a barrage of rhetoric on the tangled up subjects of racial inequality and excessive police force - this blog post included. In spite of the fact that we may have a non-white President in the oval office, we do NOT live in a post-racial society. Personally, as one who lives under the grace and authority of Jesus Christ and his revealed words of Scripture, I cannot sit idly by. God's heart aches for each life and for the racial wounds of our nation. I've posted several articles which I have found helpful as I reflect on the place we find ourselves in.

A very good, well-articulated, point-by-point critique of Vodie Baucham's "Thoughts on Ferguson" - http://christandpopculture.com/sins-part-system-vice-versa-thoughts-voddie-bauchams-thoughts-ferguson/

An organized response to Vodie Bachaum's "Thoughts on Ferguson" - http://www.christenacleveland.com/2014/12/black-on-black-violence-pastor-voddie-bauchams-assault-on-black-people/?utm_content=bufferd5475&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

African American pastor, Vodie Baucham's "Thoughts on Ferguson", deemed by many as simplistic and laden with internalized racism - http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/thoughts-on-ferguson

African American pastor, Thabiti Anyabwile's call to action in response to Ferguson - http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/thabitianyabwile/2014/11/25/the-ferguson-grand-jury-has-given-us-our-marching-orders/

Benjamin Watson, New Orleans Saints player, posted a thoughtful, honest, emotional reaction to the Ferguson Grand Jury's decision on his Facebook page which went viral - http://www.cnn.com/2014/11/28/us/benjamin-watson-viral-ferguson-post/

A look at several specific actions that those of us who are white can take in response to our present racial crisis - http://qz.com/250701/12-things-white-people-can-do-now-because-ferguson/

A provocative take from one African America who makes his case for why our nation does not value black lives - http://qz.com/251570/now-you-know-what-i-always-have-america-does-not-value-black-lives/

A survey of five international op-eds, each of which addresses her particular relationship to America's present racial crisis -  http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2014/12/09/blacklivesmatter-how-the-world-sees-eric-garner-michael-brown-cases/

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