Tuesday, August 19, 2014

When City Streets are Paved with War

For the last nine days, once G is asleep, I get on twitter and type in #ferguson and hit refresh over and over and over.

I don't know how to process what I'm seeing. The local police transformed into an army. Tear gas being flung at protestors. Journalists arrested without provocation. Pastors being shot with rubber bullets in mid-prayer.  The weeping mother of Mike Brown. The chanting crowds, crying over and over again: "Hands Up, Don't Shoot."

I don't know how to process when the lies of the PD get uncovered.
"He was suspected of robbery." Except he wasn't.
"He charged the police officer." Not according to 4 eye witnesses.

I don't know how to process the injustices piling up. Unprovoked escalation. Peace time officers refusing to wear identifying badges. Chemical weapons used on children.  Cameras and phones confiscated. Amnesty International being forced out. And the officer who began this all? Free. Not arrested.

I am haunted by the dead body of Mike Brown, laying prone on his neighborhood street, shot 6 times. I am haunted by the fact that he is not the first and probably not the last black man killed without provocation.  I am haunted that his community rose up and called for justice for their fallen child and were met with Tanks, were met with Force, were met with Derision.

I have a son. And if my son was shot down, by police, in the middle of the street for no reason, I would rend the world into pieces. I would be Shiva - "I am become death, the destroyer of worlds." I would scream until I tore apart, I would scream until a chorus of voices, of mothers screamed alongside me.  Curfew would mean nothing to the blackness of my grief and pain.

Scripture tells me that Mike Brown was my son too. In Christ we are supposed to be family - siblings, parents made by the Spirit. Scripture tells me that injustice for any is injustice for all. Scripture tells me that God burns against the abuse of his precious children. The God burns against the trauma of the poor.  That Christ died in solidarity with the despised and forgotten.   I imagine that Christ, living today, would have crouched down and willingly died for Mike Brown. I imagine that Christ was with Mike Brown in those last terrible moments - that the boy was not alone.

I don't know how to process this.

All I know is that Ferguson is not what justice looks like. Ferguson is not what Equality looks like. Ferguson is not what America is supposed to look like. And perhaps most importantly, Ferguson is not what Christianity looks like.

In Christ, our hostilities are supposed to be put to death. The barriers between us are supposed to crumble. Christ should be our peace. But Ferguson is a tableau of the gods we have chosen to worship instead - violence, division, injustice, greed.

Lord have mercy.
Christ have mercy.
Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon us.

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