Tom's Turn—My Beloved SonRead More
Being a Disciple - Blog
Tom's Turn - Free Speech and Civil SpeechRead More
Tom's Turn - Mother of the Year?
The Mother of the Year? That’s what a whole lot of folks are calling her. All of us, I’m sure, have sat this past week in front of the television watching the troubles in Baltimore, Maryland. We’ve rubbed our brows, shaken our heads, maybe even cried hot tears, as we’ve watched frustration and fear, anger and hatred, but then also boldness and courage, even love and reconciliation—all of these—play out on streets that could well be our own, in a sister city, in part of our great nation.
In the wake of the funeral of yet another African American man who died in police custody young people roared out onto the streets. Peaceful protest morphed into destruction of businesses that were trying to serve the neighborhood and injury to police officers who were trying to keep things calm. Churches opened their doors, gathered children inside, seeking to re-direct so much of what had gotten misdirected. Church people then came out of the churches and into the streets to stand between haters and hated, praying with their bodies for the peace of the city.
In the middle of the ebb and flow of grief and pain, opportunism and legitimate complaint, in the swirl of
hopelessness of a generation born to the hopelessness of five or six or seven generations of neglect being poured out all around, a woman appeared. Sixty or so seconds of her life and that of her son are now played millions of times around the world. She had come to see what she could do about what was happening to her neighborhood, the only home she knows. And she had seen her son.
There was her baby, on the wrong side of the police line. His face was covered in his own shame and cowardice. Still she knew her boy. And, well, you’ve seen the video. My friend Othal Lakey, a bishop in the CME Church, told me, “Every black man in America knows exactly what that boy felt like.” She went after him.
She went after him with a ferocity only explained, I imagine, by her own frustration and grief, by decades of biting her own lip, repressing her own desires to strike out at the injustice and poverty. For she drank the same gray water her son drinks. She knew in her own heart the same emptiness of a life of meager fortune. Yet she knew this child of hers, this son she loved, was wrong to be among the looters, very wrong, extremely mistaken. There’s a difference between calling attention to an injustice and becoming part of a new injustice. Some have said she was embarrassed. I think it was that in spades! Some have said she was wrong to have beaten him. Probably so. But better momma than somebody wielding a police baton and handcuffs, a stun gun, or worse. And who among us, seeing our children in the middle of such an enormous mistake, might not have reacted with similar intensity?
The prophet Jeremiah, among the Jews captive in Babylon, lived with the same sort of emotions as that Baltimore mom and the same emotions as her son. He too was poorly treated and had no real prospects for sharing in any prosperity his home city might experience. Yet he spoke to his fellow exiles, those similarly and outrageously thesubjects of injustice. He spoke for God, “But seek the peace of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its peace you will find your peace.” [Jer. 29.7] And he was less well-received than that mom in Baltimore. Right behavior, virtue, restraint, civility, in the face of generational poverty and injustice – that’s a hard message, whether received from the mouth of a prophet of God or from the back of a mother’s hand.
Tags: Tom's Turn
How Can We Join Your Journey?Read More
The Kansas City radio station I used to listen to as a kid broadcast
regular commercials for a local auto racetrack. The announcer was always
very excited as he read through the various races coming up for the next
weekend. The ads always ended with the sound of roaring motors and squealing
tires and the voice-over screaming, “Kansas City Raceways! Sunday!
Sunday! Be There! Be There!” It's one of those tapes that plays in my head to
this day. I have thought many times since that it would be nice for us to be
that excited about coming to church—not the noisy engines roaring, but
maybe just a little bit of the voice – the “Sunday! Be There!”
Tags: Tom's Turn
How do we talk about our church? It is important, you know, to do so. We didn't gain 34 new members in 2012 by sitting on our hands, service-wise, or by stifling our tongues about who we are and why we choose to worship God among this special group of people called First Christian Church of Fort Worth.
Tags: Tom's Turn
As a congregation and as a whole church, the Christian Church (Disciples of
Christ), we have been quite blessed during this year by the attention the women of our church are paying to human trafficking. Gradually, over several years, this modern
plague of slavery has been brought more and more into the open. I wrote in this spot
about it some three years ago, I think. But now, with more attention from outside the
church, and with trafficking being the study focus of Disciple Women internationally,
all the horrifying statistics are becoming well known, and consciences are being
moved to action among us.
Tags: Tom's Turn
Learning basic financial concepts and God's way of handling money… then applying these concepts, brings big success!
So last night was the end of the 9 week class of Financial Peace University (FPU). I thought the newly revised class was amazing and seemed easier for the class to take action and start applying these concepts to their lives. Although the concepts are basic (7 steps), it is the habits of actually applying these steps that can be hard. They are all easy to do, but they are just as easy not to do. This is where having a fire in the belly comes in. Without the fire it is easy to get overwhelmed by all the credit card advertising and society's thoughts on instant gratification.
The Second Commandment (not to be confused with the Second Amendment,
which it supersedes – and perhaps even countermands)--the Second Commandment,
of the big Ten from that tablet Moses brought down from Sinai way back when,
says, “You shall not make any graven image, in the form of anything in heaven or on
the earth, and you shall not bow down to such things and worship them.” (Exodus
20.4-5, Plumbley translation). Pretty strong. Pretty direct in ordering our relationship
to all created things. Right? Well, it's not so easily kept!