The weight of the world is on the shoulders of those who work for peace with justice today- thoughts of how, why, who, when…when will the violence end and the Kingdom come? There’s been a recurring image in my nightmares so far tonight: an ear of the guard who comes to claim Jesus is cut off by Peter who is outraged, hurt, and confused, understandably- rightfully- so. He bears the weight of centuries of oppression! The Messiah was to come on a stallion with a sword to lead the Israelites to victory! Yet here he is, vulnerable, taken into the hands of law enforcement, the innocent to be slain, and Jesus whispers “No, no, no,” to violence, healing the ear of the symbol of his Oppressor.
It always seems to happen this way. The Oppressors tell the Oppressed how to deal with their oppression (non- violently, non- disruptively, they say. Use the bureaucratic grievance systems we imposed on you, they say). Then when it doesn’t work and the Oppressed hit a breaking point the Oppressor suddenly sees systemic, root causes of their violence, when before the violence enacted by the Oppressor himself could be narrowed and explained away as “a few bad apples.”
Is violence justifiable, understandable, logical even, after the trauma our brothers and sisters face each day and have faced since we built this country on their backs and continue to do so today? Hell yes, it is.
Is violence the way of Jesus?
Can love be displayed with a bullet? The people at the #blacklivesmatter protest in #dallas and #NYC and countless other places didn’t seem to think so. The people working day in and out to dismantle our racist systems don’t seem to think so.
WHITE PEOPLE: don’t think we can absolve ourselves of centuries of sin because a handful of renegade people acted out in unspeakable violence. Don’t instantly see broad, sweeping societal issues that have bred violence when we have raped and pillaged and murdered and created this environment ourselves.
Those seeking vengeance for the murder, imprisonment, enslavement of your people at the hands of my people for so long: I get it. I can’t tell you what to do with your anger, I can only tell you that I want to come alongside you to heal this world, and I can’t believe that violence will ever beget anything but violence. Help me see what you see. Tell me I’m not doing enough. Tell me I’m part of the problem. Tell me I didn’t post about all the black men who have been murdered leading up to this because I was scared. You’re right. But becoming like Them will only rot us.
To you who spilled the innocent blood of people who were protecting a peaceful protest, you disgust me. You are a coward who chose easy targets, now martyrs. You have added fuel to the fire of those who propogate #alllivesmatter and #bluelivesmatter, followed by people who cannot understand privilege and power. You are preaching a false gospel of hate and violence and you have done nothing but give the racists who have necessitated #blacklivesmatter a twisted justification for their continued oppression.
To you agents of peace and steadfast justice: you inspire me. You’re tearing down the walls of this city that were built to marginalize and exclude. Blessed are you who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Blessed are you who protest, who disrupt, who call us out on our bullshit, who disobey. The Oppressor will tell you you’re inciting violence (though their rhetoric could never cause mass shootings, could it?) He’s wrong and he knows it. He will tell you not to get angry, but anger is not always opposite of peace. He’s scared of you, as he should be.Too few people are angry because too few refuse to see. What will we do with this holy, hot energy we are stewarding? Tell me what you want to do, I’m listening. Tell me how to do it. You’re driving.
Friends, I don’t have the answer, I’m just heartbroken.
I think you know what’s next.