Monday, July 6, 2020

What Else is History Hiding?

No doubt, history is written by the winners. Who knows how many cultures have been eliminated or exterminated, without even a footnote in history? I suppose we will never know.

Winners write the history, but sometimes the other story gets told, even if it takes hundreds of years. In some cases, zealots want to rewrite history to support a specific bias. Other times, sincere students of history take a second look at the facts and find that important truths have been conveniently overlooked. 

  • The end of World War II looks much different from a Russian vs. American perspective. 
  • I wonder if anyone really knows what happened at the First Thanksgiving.
  • The great explorer Christopher Columbus had both noble and savage motives in his exploration.
  • The causes of the American Civil War included states' rights, but the rights in question were directly and indirectly tied to slavery.
  • The contributions of African Americans to the progress and culture of our nation are much more significant than I ever knew.
  • The treatment of Native Americans by the U.S. government has been horrifying and abusive: from taking land to massacres to forced exile.

These and other shameful episodes in American history don't need to be the lens through which we see America. But they also don't need to be entirely ignored or dismissed. Only when we acknowledge our mistakes can we begin to strive for real justice. We don't need to wallow in the muck of the past, but we dare not excuse it or ignore it.

I do wonder what else history is hiding. I have so much to learn.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

A Fourth to Remember

Our celebrations of freedom today will be remembered.

We have the freedom to assemble, but need to stay apart.

We remember our American heritage, but realize that some experience more freedom than others.

We have had weeks now to learn the history that we never knew: the coup in Wilmington, the massacre in Tulsa, the unfairness of red-lining, the countless stories of the justice system gone wrong. Actually the history has always been there, but we white Americans never wanted to look. I'm sorry that I waited so long to look and listen.

Last night my family watched the musical "Hamilton." It was an amazing blend of uncomfortable history, political drama, and enthusiasm for the American promise of freedom. This show gives me hope that there really are some ideals that all American share and that we can pursue together.

Our nation needs healing, but only after we face truth and care about justice.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal and are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Welcome to the Second Half of 2020

I don't need to tell you how bizarre 2020 has been so far. 

So, here are some hopes for the next six months.

I hope there is a football season.
I hope public schools can operate without traumatizing children.
I hope an effective vaccine for COVID-19 is developed by year's end.
I hope that people can gather at concerts, even indoors.
I hope that public places will stop feeling like pathogen breeding grounds.
I hope that families hold onto a greater sense of closeness.
I hope that we can leave behind some of the distractions that we have done without.

And, I hope that we can see better now what really matters.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Anti-Racist Education

Sometimes I'm a slow learner. I can't afford to be now. I've got so much to learn.

I want to thank my black friends for talking to me openly about this issue. I want to thank my daughter for posting a video by Nicole Walters that opened my eyes. I want to thank Chief for sending me videos that got through to my white mind. My friend Earnest opened up about his experiences through life as a black man in America. I'm sorry that I had not really asked him about it until now.

I have also had friends share with me a podcast that offers a different point of view, and one that I need to hear, even if I disagree.

It is not enough not to be a racist. I need to be anti-racist. I need to speak up. I need to notice injustice and do something about it.

I'm learning how the justice system and laws have worked to marginalize African Americans.

I have prayed and cried a lot this week.

I want to thank my black friends for being patient with me and loving me, even though I have no clue what they experience every single day.

I am so blessed with friends. They remind me that Jesus loves me, even when I'm ignorant, even when I am blind and deaf. It's Jesus in them that allows them to love me.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Riots and Power

Some say that power solves all problems. 

A heavy hand of brute force can bring the masses into submission. Just ask Stalin, Mao, or Pol Pot. Their power came from brute force. Millions were executed in pursuit of their totalitarian visions.

I want to contrast the American experience with that. In our Declaration of Independence, we acknowledge that life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are gifts from God. They are not rights bestowed by an all-powerful government. We cannot sustain American ideals at the point of a gun.

The unrest of today, although polluted with violence and looting, began in protest for justice. George Floyd became only the latest of black men to be murdered by law enforcement. This pattern must stop. Justice is the rallying point.

To point guns at American protestors is asking for trouble. The threat only escalates the tension and possibility for violence.

Please, let's not stop the fight for justice. Please, let us tone down the rhetoric. Let us vow to love and listen. Let us unite behind the truth that all men are created equal. 

Force is not the answer. Not the violence of riots. Not the fire power of the military. 

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Investment or Future Regrets?

The longer this pandemic goes, the more we miss doing normal things. We are waiting for the time to travel, shop, get haircuts, have reunions, and have funerals.

We want to eat out, go swimming, play sports, enjoy concerts.

The normal things of life bring comfort, hope, encouragement, balance, and joy. We miss these touchstones. In their absence, we must find other things to keep us sane.

We lean so much now on family, neighbors, phone calls, and faith. We are reading, walking, praying, resting.

Let's try to think of these months as a time of investment, not a season to be endured.

What are you investing in? In 12 months, you may find yourself thinking: "I wish I had spent that quarantine time doing ___________." Let's try to think of those things now, and really invest. This time is hard enough without creating future regrets.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Zooming by Me

I really miss meeting people in person. I have been Zooming up a storm lately, for all kinds of meetings. But I have to say that I get distracted so easily with that computer screen.

Oooh, I wonder if I have a new email.

Was that my phone vibrating?

Why not have a quick look at Facebook?

What's the stock market doing?

I'll have a look at the news headlines.

Wait...what were you saying? I was paying attention...mostly. I just missed one key thought. Or did I? I'm not sure. I think I can chime in with something appropriate. At least I can make you think I was paying attention.

I need to get a lot more disciplined with this virtual connecting stuff.

Let's get together when we can. When will that be?