Wednesday, August 5, 2015

#AllLivesMatter

The other day I defriended someone on Facebook, well, actually I defriended 169 "friends".  I started with that "one" and just kept rolling.  It came down to several questions:

1.  Have we ever met?

2.  If I was traveling through your city, state, country, would I call you up to say hello, to grab lunch, a glass of wine?

3.  And the key question, are you moderate enough to except differences in others without beating us over the head with your fanatic liberal or conservative views?

If you were a "No" to all three you were definitely off the list.  Sorry, I'm an extreme introvert and if I really don't know you I find it hard to maintain relationships even FB relationships.  It's me, not you.  Well, most of the time.  What honestly eliminated most people was question 3.

I have been thinking a lot about question 3.  I read these crazy stories out of the US where it seems people have really lost all grasp of common sense, of sorting out fact from fiction and blindly going with their group, left or right.  First, don't believe anything you read!  After working on media for Team Rwanda for the past six years, being interviewed over 100 times, the truth rarely is written.  I am misquoted, misstated, and rewritten over and over again.  If something doesn't seem right about the article, video, post, research it, not on sites written from both ends of the extreme but unbiased, research based sites.

Secondly, find common ground.  We are all people, with families, with siblings, parents, we all want to feel loved, appreciated.  Can't we find some common ground?  Does everything need to be so left?  So right?

And here's what did it for me with defriend #1....#blacklivesmatter

See--I think #alllivesmatter.  Period.  Is that hard to stomach at times?  Absolutely.  The world can be an incredibly evil place.  I listened to two sermons the past couple of weeks from Henry Wright, a 7th Day Adventist preacher.  He preached for two Sabbaths about Lessons Learned from Charleston.  How could a young, obviously racist, young man sit in that church with all those believers, hear the word of God, and still brutally murder those people?  We all do it.  We listen to the word, Muslim, Christian, whatever our religion, leave church and continue on our way in life oblivious of our impact.  Also, we all have the propensity for evil.  You don't believe you do?  Go live in a culture, a place where you are constantly accosted for money simply because you are white, where kids spit on you, throw things at you, stare at you and make you long for everything that is simple, known and yours.  I found myself throwing rocks at kids who spit on me.  I never threw a rock at someone in my entire life.  I throw rocks.

And yet....as I ride, after I've thrown the rock, I think #alllivesmatter.  The only difference between that worm infested belly, rock throwing street urchin and our Jonathan is luck of the draw and education.  Jonathan is blessed to have been born a child of Team Rwanda with a Tanto and Mukecuru who make sure he has the best possible education.  That's it.  Luck of the draw.

Dylan Roof....who knows what happened?  Whatever happened though...his life mattered too.  The true believers in that church in Charleston died in Christ and already forgave Dylan Roof.  Hard to believe?  Ever meet a real believer?

In Luke 23:39 - 43, Jesus, hanging on the cross, dying for us, gives absolution to a thief who was hanging next to him.  In one moment he is forgiven.


39One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” 

40But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence?

41We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” 

42Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 

43Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

#alllivesmatter

Whatever you believe, Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, whatever higher power you subscribe to, has similar messages.  The only time those messages are skewed are by fanatics on any religious front.

Today I read an article about a Kansas police officer who went through a Taco Bell and received two burritos on which was written PIG.  First of all, you couldn't pay me enough to be a white, male police officer in the US.  You're simply damned if you do, damned if you don't.  You are set up to fail, be scrutinized, or crucified.  Have there been issues?  Yes.  But remember...in the end, #alllivesmatter.

At the end of the article was this photo:

Can we please stop dividing us?  Can we just all agree #alllivesmatter?  

The second we put one life based on color or religion above another we are guilty of perpetuating division.  I just listened to this amazing audiobook, Please Stop Helping Us by Jason Riley.  I purchased it because I was interested in what a black man had to say about black America.  I hope to meet Mr. Riley some day.  He has a very interesting perspective, one in which the pitfalls he explains I have tried to avoid in working with black Africans.  

Here's the deal....I'm not a homophobe.  But I'm not going to make my FB profile rainbow.  I really do not care about gay marriage, it is what it is, however, as a Christian, it simply goes against my beliefs.  If you are happy to be given the right to marry, I will not stand in your way, however, if you are going to harass people over not making a wedding cake, I have an issue with that, simply because you're being an asshole.  If someone asked me to make a cake with a KKK theme, I would say no.  If someone wanted a child bride on the cake I would say no.  Please stop jamming your beliefs down my throat and just respect my position, which is just as valid as yours.

I'm not racist, but I'm also not going to give my black riders any slack, sympathy or special treatment because they're black.  I expect them to wear their clothes respectfully and speak proper English because if they want to succeed in the European peloton, and in life, that's what will be expected of them.

Everyday I deal with multiple cultures, languages, religions and views and we make it work.  Can we not agree to make #alllivesmatter?  Can we please come together and live peacefully?  If Rwanda can achieve this why can't the more "developed" western world.  Maybe we can all learn something from a country which learned to forgive.

#alllivesmatter











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