My sense is there’s a lot of talk right now. Everyone has an opinion.
Many want to tell us how they think. Many want to tell you how to think. Many others want to go bury their head in the sand, forgetting the year of 2020 and all its unprecedented peril thus far. Still more demand no one actually be allowed to bury their head in the sand…
“Speak!” we say. “Speak!”
But how do we speak in a society when we’ve become so poor at honoring those who aren’t like us?
My sense is we are pretty terrible at empathizing with the different…
… and loving our neighbor well.
No doubt part of the entire problem in our current frictional, fractious state is that most of us have selectively chosen who we will and won’t love. We’ve been lured into the foolish false reality that in order to love someone well, they need to believe, behave and vote just like “me.”
(Note: I have yet to meet any person who believes, behaves and votes just like me.)
I therefore find myself at a bit of loss today. I want to discuss our country’s current condition, but I’m also fearful we can’t handle the conversation. Why? Because we don’t actually know how to speak.
So I again humbly employ the art of asking questions. Remember: the question mark is the only punctuation piece which invites a response. Exclamation points — shouting — simply isn’t effective. Let’s instead invite others to respond and interact. Let’s each listen and learn.
Hence, 10 heartfelt questions…
(1) How did the cultural shutdown — staying inside for months — impact the intensity of the response to the death of George Floyd?
(2) How can a generation which has grown up on their phones and in front of their screens learn how to look another in the eye and have respectful, interactive dialogue?
(3) In social media’s society — a culture in which 280 characters qualifies as a conversation (up from the original 140) — how can we learn to actually listen?
(4) How come so many always point at someone else — what they need to change?
(5) Where do I need to grow and change? … none of us have it all figured out — right?
(6) Is it possible to believe each of the following:
a. George Floyd was murdered and the policemen responsible should go to jail.
b. When there’s police wrongdoing, there’s a lack of accountability in place to deal with such matters.
c. Mass protests are warranted and legitimate.
d. Looting and burning businesses are not legitimate and the persons responsible should go to jail.
e. Racism, implicit bias, and prejudice are harmful to American society.
(7) Am I justifying any of the above as lesser?
(8) How am I educating myself on the history of race relations in our country? Am I reading a variety of authors and perspectives? … from persons who are black, white, male, female, liberal, conservative, Christian and non-Christian?
(9) Where is racism individual and where is it structural? And if I’m believing only one or the other, why?
And (10 ) Am I dwelling in an echo chamber, never being exposed or encouraged to empathize with one who is different than me? (… am I actually cutting off/out the different? Am I insulating myself from other valid perspective, forgetting that other valid perspective exists?)
I have more questions, of course; there is much to ponder.
Note: we ponder in order to love our neighbor well.