Soul-searching uncomfort

All “people of faith” should read this. Now.

My weekend habit since we had our deck rebuilt and expanded is to sit outside with coffee and read. I enjoy reading very much, and with the Goodreads app and yearly reading challenge, I’m trying to do more of it. This post is not sponsored by Goodreads in any way, I just wanted to mention them.

Since the killing of Trayvon Martin and the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement, I’ve been seeking to further understand and be a proponent for harmony and justice for ALL. With the senseless murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others, the racial tension within our country has reached boiling. I’m frightened of what’s next if we don’t find a sustainable path toward peace.

I am white. I know I’m privileged. I can drive anywhere and know that I won’t be pulled over because of the color of my skin….and even if I were, the end result would more than likely not end in violence and/or the loss of life. My family is multiracial. I’ve witnessed firsthand the racial bias displayed by certain law enforcement officers in my community. Read that again…CERTAIN….not all. I have good friends who are law enforcement officers. I have good friends who are black. I have good friends of all cultural backgrounds and races. Why? Because they are good people. Not because of the color of their skin, not because of their occupation, not because of their religious beliefs.

I’ve been involved with religion my entire life. American Christianity, mostly, although as I educate myself on the religions of the world, I find that I identify with certain aspects of other religions as well, so I’m not sure what to call myself… if I need to “call“ myself anything. The behavior that some so-called “Christians” exhibit is behavior I want nothing to do with and don’t want to be associated with. How, as an example, does a person profess to be staunchly “pro-life” and oppose abortion but support the death penalty? If we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty of it, the commandment is “Thou shalt not kill.” Notice, no asterisks, caveats, or exclusions. The same is true, in my mind, for what Jesus called the greatest commandment…Love thy neighbor as thyself. Again, no exceptions, exclusions, modifications.

I’m not writing this to get into a religious debate. I try, to the best of my ability, to be the best person I can be everyday. To be inclusive of all and show the love and grace I’ve been shown during my life. To stand for justice and equality for all because that’s what I’m called to do…and it’s the right thing to do. In the book I just finished, it boils down the concept in about the most perfect and succinct way I’ve seen….Black Lives Matter does NOT mean that other lives don’t. It means that Black Lives Matter in a society and culture that has been dismissive, passive, and treating black lives as though they matter LESS than anyone else.

My heart hurts. My soul cries daily for all the hatred in our country right now. For the hatred that has been a part of our country since its beginning. Especially the hatred hidden by the razor thin veil of religion.

Yes, I am proud. I’m proud of the person I am and what I’ve accomplished in my life. I’m proud of my family and my heritage. I am proud of my relationship with the Higher Power I worship. My pride, however, will NEVER result in my diminishment of another person.

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