I ask Mr. T if he has lived in our town his whole life. He has. (I can’t guess his age. Late 70s?)
I push a little deeper. “So you’ve seen lots of changes through the years, yes?”
“Oh, yes. . . . but I don’t like to talk about it.”
So we don’t talk about it. It’s not what matters to him right now. Other things matter more.
This sweet black man has a new problem: lung cancer. This is what matters the most now.
Lots of things matter. But we can only focus on a few at a time. Our attention span is just that way. Life happens and diverts our attention here and there. Maybe to the most important thing; maybe not.
But here’s the thing:
If you matter to me (and God says you should), then what matters to you should also matter to me.
Right now, one of the things that matters in our country is improving race relations.
And that thing has picked up a name: #BlackLivesMatter.
That bothers some people. They counter with: #AllLivesMatter or #BlueLivesMatter.
Only or Too?
But what I’ve been reading and hearing for a few weeks now is the significance of one little word, unspoken, that can change your perspective.
And which one word you choose makes all the difference.
If you hear “ONLY black lives matter,” you might feel troubled.
“Only” is divisive. Only me. Only you. Am I the only one?
But if you choose “black lives matter TOO,” you become a partner.
“Too” is together. You, too? Me, too. This, too.
We’re made to live together. For community. When we come together, we accomplish more. When we separate, we tear apart.
Will we come together to show respect to our black brothers and sisters who are saying they matter, too?
Listen to this African proverb:
“If you want to run fast, run alone. But if you want to run far, run together.”
Here are a few voices to encourage us to run together, to go the distance, to make it to the finish line.
Listen to this episode of Pass the Mic with Jemar Tisby and Tyler Burns discussing the Black Lives Matter movement and the Christian response. You don’t have to agree with everything. But if you listen, you’ll come away more informed.
This article was written by a “listener” at the RNC. Again, agree or disagree, but let’s learn to listen better. “Life isn’t a Facebook feed. Our love, our listening, must bring in, not edit out.”
A black writer responds to this question from her white friend: “So that I may be enlightened, can you please share with me some examples of institutional racism that have made an indelible mark upon you?”
Personalize Your One
Many people around us have problems. We need to care about them all.
But let’s hear the one who is speaking now. Help the one in front of us.
The next time I see Mr. T, I hope I’ll give him my full attention (I often fail at that). I want to hear his updates. I want to pray for his healing.
I want to show him that his life matters.
Not only. But too.
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- Links, Books, and Other Things I Love – August 2016
- Do You Want to Be Happy?