Monday, March 26, 2012

This i know ... for the Bible tells me so. A response to the Trayvon Martin Tragedy

Sometimes the stories that the media propels into national conversation strike me as odd.  Not odd because they are unimportant, but odd in that for some mysterious reason, they are the stories we pay attention to.   What I mean is that there are thousands, maybe even tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of stories that could make the news everyday.  But we consume the ones we are fed.  What makes them the winners?  To be fair to the media, a good bit of what is popularized is done so as much or more to the viral world as it does to the old six o’clock news hour.

To borrow a phrase from Malcolm Gladwell, this week Trayvon Martin’s story has tipped.  This is what captures the imagination American public this week.  Jesse Jackson will march.  Al Sharpton will speak.  Skinheads will blog ???.  Facebook memes that bear the evidence of 13 minutes of research will form public opinion. 

I don’t blog as much as I used to about matters of public interest, partly because I’m now more chicken, but mostly because I’ve come to believe that the truth is a lot harder to come by.  An opinion formed tonight could be overturned by a piece of evidence found tomorrow.  All of this to say that it does not surprise me that the public has an opinion about the Trayvon Martin tragedy, but the attitudes and certainty with which they express opinion do surprise me. 

Having said that here are ten things I am certain I can feel about Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman as a Christian.

1.    First and foremost: Jesus weeps with Trayvon Martin’s parents, family, friends and all who are touched by this death. (John 11:35)

2.    Before Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman are African American, Hispanic, educated, uneducated, adolescent, adult, American, Floridian etc, they are both humans and therefore created in the image of God (Gen 1:27)

3.    Jesus died for Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. (John 3:16/1 John 2:2)

4.    God wants a relationship with Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman (1 Timothy 2:4/2 Peter 3:9)

5.     Jesus wouldn’t have solved the problem with violence.  Nor would he now, as one looking for justice, resort to violence as a solution. (John 18:11)

6.    The fact that this situation has spurned questions about racism either with or without warrant is evidence that we are broken people who continue to live in stark contrast with God’s future which will celebrate beauty in diversity. (Revelation 5:9)

7.    God’s the only one really qualified to execute a just response in this and every situation. (Romans 12:17-19)

8.    We should be skeptical about making definitive claims. (Job 42:7)

9.    Jesus response would be much more creative than all of ours. (Mark 12:13-17)

10 Even now, God can make this beautiful. (Romans 8:28)