The Chaos of Baltimore!
Wow! Here’s what I am struggling to grasp: Why in the world are we seeing so many of these types of ‘protests’ all over our country these days? Sure, a significant part of it is ginned up by political operatives and race-baiting profiteers who want to line their own pockets. But, let’s be honest, for this type of thing to happen multiple times in different locations across the nation there has to be something systemically wrong in our country and specifically in our urban communities.
Now, I am no politician (thank God!) nor am I a philosopher, but I am both a preacher of the truth and a student of the human condition. So, my thoughts on this are based in those two things, the truth of the Word of God brought to bear on hurt within the human condition. Here are the systemic problems I see:
Lack of leadership: John Maxwell wisely once said, “Everything rises and falls on leadership, everything.” It’s tempting to qualify that statement and say, “Well, almost everything, but not EVERYTHING!”. But, think about the course of human history, even in the midst of humanities darkest, most desperate moments, great leadership was transcendent. The problem is we have far to many people who want the power of ‘leadership’ but abandon the responsibility that it takes to be a real leader.
If a king is fair, he makes his country strong,
but if he takes gifts dishonestly, he tears his country down. – Prov 29:4 NCV
Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers. – Prov 11:14 NLT
Unclear Vision: Vision is a picture of what the future could be and should be. In far to many of our urban and even suburban areas there is no vision or at best cloudy vision of what the future holds. Vision provides hope, it gives a reason for working hard, it tells us that better days are ahead. Today we are being told by some of our ‘leaders’ that this is as good as it’s ever going to get, this is just reality. Many of our urban citizens (regardless of ethnicity) wake up everyday with no hope in their hearts, no dreams for the future. When the most lucrative future for young men is to join a gang, sell drugs, or simply become a thug of some sort…there is no hope!
Where there is no vision a people perish. – Prov 29:18 KJV
Rampant Abuse: In our world abuse has become as commonplace as fast-food restaurants. I know that many of these ‘protests’ are blamed on police abuse, and there may be some of that for sure, as authority unchecked is often authority abused. But, humanity as a whole has an unbelievable propensity for evil against other human beings. Just look at the amount of physically abused women, children, and elderly that we see all of the time. How about the rampant sexual abuse, don’t believe it? Ask yourself when was the last time you were ‘shocked’ to hear that a teacher had sex with one of her students. Exactly, something that was preposterous just a decade or so ago has become so common that when we hear it we shake our heads and roll our eyes, but that is about it. When the value of another human being is weighted only by the usefulness they provide to another we are in a dangerous place.
Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves – Phi 2:3 NIV
Familial Decay: When I saw this video today http://abc7news.com/video/embed/?pid=684859 (warning: it does have some ‘bleeped’ out language) I was both thankful and dismayed. Thankful because a mom cared for her son so much that she would go to any lengths to keep him from making a potentially life shattering decision. Dismayed because I saw no father alongside her. Now, it may have been that the dad was at work, but more often than not we see that adult males (I refuse to call them Men) simply refuse to live up to their responsibilities of being a husband and father, abandoning the mother of their children and their children. The only male role models they have are the adult males in their neighborhood who live off of others, profit from others addictions, or are held captive by their own demons. Fathers are just as essential as Mothers!
Listen, my son, to your father’s instruction
and do not forsake your mother’s teaching. – Prov 1:8 NIV
Maybe your initial reaction to all of this is anger, can I challenge you on that? Maybe instead of anger or disgust, you take a minute and ask God to give you some perspective. Now, don’t for a moment think that I condone or in some twisted way believe that the violence is in any way justified, it’s not. In fact, it’s sin. But as Paul says;
God’s law was given so that all people could see how sinful they were. But as people sinned more and more, God’s wonderful grace became more abundant. – Rom 5:20
Instead let’s ask ourselves some hard questions. How can we lead better, what can we do to give vision/hope, how can we help the abused heal and the abusers reform, and what can we do to rebuild the family? You see I believe that it’s easy to criticize, but it’s far harder to critically think about how you can make a difference.
Just my two cents,