Monday, July 15, 2013

The Gun Thing, The Race Thing, And The Broken World Thing {3 Thoughts On Trayvon and Zimmerman}

We expected the court to sort this out?

Yeah, I most definitely believe in the court, but riding so much on a verdict has me thinking we might've believed too much in the court this time.

Because the court can sort out charges and evidence and jail time.

But it can't sort out years of racial tensions and pain deeper than one teenager dead.

The pain here runs deep - deep into blood-soaked, hard-worked soil and unforgiving, bitter hearts. 

And the court deals with law. And let's agree on one thing - there's no laws when it comes to pain this deep.

We can say all we want about the verdict given to George Zimmerman.

But really, this is messier than anything guilty or not guilty can clean up.

And with that said, my twitter stayed silent on Saturday night.

Not because I didn't care, but because I wasn't sure how a series of 140 character statements could sort out the mess any more than that Florida court could, nor did I trust myself to say anything worthwhile.

But you know me, I can't stay silent.

This blog post isn't going to sort anything out either. This is just a teenage girl picking out bits from the messiness and trying to at least come up with something.

Here it goes.

The Gun Thing
And it's as simple as that.

There might've been a fist fight. And the whole thing would've ended in a night at a hospital (at worst), not in a court, a morgue and international news.

Everyone's speaking out about race (and yes, definitely - more on that in a sec), but what about the gun thing?

Here's the thing - 6,198 gun deaths have occurred in America since Sandy Hook. In just 7 short months. [That link is a must see - it very clearly paints the grim picture.]

I feel like society should be more disturbed by this. 

The fact of the matter is, it was legal for Zimmerman to have that gun, and from the picture presented to the court, it was legal for him to use it.

Don't be angry that Zimmerman got acquitted for shooting and killing Trayvon, be angry that the law allowed it.

Perhaps the jury thought the same as me and you - it shouldn't be ok for someone to kill another someone. But the laws don't agree and that's what I think we're all really angry about here.

The laws of America love the right to bear arms. Don't be upset that Zimmerman got acquitted if you're also in love with the right to bear arms.

It's contradictory.

Mr. Piers Morgan tweeted some brilliance yesterday, and allow me to share a bit more of that with you as I close out this gun talk:
The Race Thing

Let me tell you a story.

I was once shooting hoops out on the driveway by myself, when our next-door neighbour stepped outside, preparing to leave in his car. We small talked for a bit then he stepped in his car and started the engine, me assuming he was going to drive off. I turned back to the basketball net, only to spot a friend of mine walking up the street with a group of his friends.

I waved, chatted with him for a bit, let him take a few shots, and then he continued his walk down the street. Only when he left did I notice my neighbour still sitting there in his running car. He'd watched the whole 2 or 3 minute exchange. "Do you know those guys?" He asked, once they were out of earshot.

"Yeah," I said, "We go to school together."

"Oh, good." He said, and drove away.

Here's what I left out of my story: race. 

My neighbour is white, living in a primarily white community. My friend and his whole group? They're all black.

Now, my neighbour is good person. A normal person. He has a toddling daughter and I appreciate him looking out for me. I know he didn't mean to racially profile my friend. But he did. It happens, in real life, to everyone. 

But what if this - what if we were all part of the Jesus-culture first, then race was just one of the many things that makes us the diverse Body of Christ?

That, to me, is the ideal. Not for everyone to be treated the same, but for everyone to be able to bring their different gifts, personalities and traits, race being one of those beautiful things, to the Body of Christ and use those things to advance his Kingdom.

And that's all great stuff, and it starts with stuff like this -

for whites to stop assuming that black people are criminals;

for blacks to stop assuming that white people are out to get them;

for every race - red, yellow, black, brown, white - to stop defending the colour of their skin, and start defending who they are in Jesus.

I'm not calling for colour blind here - I am the biggest believer in embracing your race and all the beauty that comes from that part of your identity.

I'm calling for a safe place where everyone gets to do just that - embrace the beauty of their race without feeling that they have to defend it or have it rise above another.

The We-Live-In-A-Broken-World Thing

We could say gun laws killed Trayvon Martin. We could say racism killed him.

But in the end brokenness killed him. Humans' sinful nature killed him.

We lived in a broken, screwed up world where injustice happens. Everyday.

And all Christ-followers can do is try as spread as much light into the world as possible - despite our own human nature.

We sang it at church yesterday - Your light will shine when all else fades.

But a lot of that depends on us, because we are His image-bearers on this earth.

Through us is where His light will shine through when all else fades.

And we have a choice in how we respond to all this mess. We can respond in anger, or we can respond in love. 

We can burn in anger or we can overflow with love.

Yeah, not only the Zimmerman case, but the whole wide world is filled with deep pain and a whole lot of messiness.

But if there's one thing I know for sure, it's this -

Love can cover a multitude of pain, hurts, and messiness.


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