It's been a difficult few weeks to live in America. There are invisible dividing lines causing more hurt and brokenness than ever before. Senior Pastor, Dave Rod', reached out to long-time Grace attender, Marc Williams to get his perspective on the situation. Over the last few weeks, they've been having an authentic and public conversation on the tragedies happening not only in the U.S., but all over the world. Catch up on Part 1 and Part 2 of the conversation.
Dave: Starting a new line of conversation...
Just a few moments ago on Twitter, in response to another shooting of police officers (in Baton Rouge this time), you said you envy people who are surprised by it. Why do you envy them? Do you feel jaded? Resigned? Am I putting words in your mouth?
Marc: I feel any one of those things depending on the day. Being surprised, to me, means you're not used to it. I was surprised the first time I ever heard Miles Davis play and still am sometimes because it's new and engaging and has some "wow" to it. But with gun violence, it's kind of common. Somebody gets shot in Indianapolis almost daily it seems. And that's been going on for years now. If you pay attention to it, I don't know how you can be too surprised. Maybe the details are surprising but the end result, more people dead from gun violence, is old hat. And I hate that I even typed that. It seems wrong to be unsurprised. But I'm just not. I don't like these moments, I think it's awful but I've kinda decided to be more interested in a solution if there is one within reach. I ask God all the time what to do and why and all that. It's a circle prayer thing though at this point right?
Dave: Yeah, circle praying is crucial because it’s time we hit the panic button on prayer. So…other solutions... Did you happen to see the info on that cookout held with Black Lives Matter supporters and police in Wichita, KS? It hit me as more than reasonable to get people “in the room” with each other. Feels like part of the solution. Now I’m wondering about ways to get people more face to face.
Marc: So panic button prayer is a must. If folks weren't already doing that! People gotta get in the room together. Honestly, it's a terrible time to work on relationships when you're protesting and the police show up dressed like a war is happening. In Dallas I think the protesters and police were cordial before the dude started shooting people. I don't know why I don't see police departments inviting people to talk. I honestly think police departments and government are the thumbscrew here because they hold the keys to change things institutionally. Churches can and should be talking to the people though. I'm past attacking the oppressive forces in America with simple attacks like name calling and so on.
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12 NIV
That's a life verse for me to keep me from really losing patience with people. Without excusing people and their roles in things, including myself, I know this is bigger than earthly beings and so on. I know that the talk of the spiritual realm loses some people but that's what I truly believe. So in the churches, maybe we have to go back to the Sunday school lesson about the armor! But we can get people together to listen to each other and we should.
Dave: I have to agree with you about the spiritual battle this boils down to. Isn’t it just like the evil one to get us as twisted up as he has? Yet, I believe that with the armor of God and carrying the Spirit of God we possess unimaginable authority. We simply don’t imagine it nor do we exercise it. We cede ground to the loudest, crudest voices who, under the influence of evil, rabble rouse us to hate. I wonder about this quote from Dr. King: He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it. Martin Luther King, Jr. I gotta believe that we, who possess the authority and power of the Holy Spirit, need to stand up and use our prophetic voices.
Read Part 4 of the conversation.