I’m reluctant to say anything, so I will say very little. Here are my thoughts on the morning after.
1. We still have race issues in this country. As President Obama said last night, we’ve made progress, but we have by no means arrived. It is an enormous grief that African Americans feel so regularly alienated by police and by the criminal justice system more broadly. It is a great sadness that black fathers have to have sobering conversations with their sons about encountering the police without getting shot—a conversation I never had with my father. As a people, we are not yet what we should be. It does no one any good to deny that. Again, as the President said last night,
“There are still problems and communities of color aren’t just making these problems up… these are real issues. And we have to lift them up and not deny them or try to tamp them down. What we need to do is understand them and figure out how do we make more progress. And that can be done.”
The events that have unfolded in Ferguson since the shooting last summer have unfolded in a racial context. To miss that context is to miss almost everything. For my part, I want to do my best to listen and to learn.
2. Again, I find myself agreeing with the President:
“First and foremost, we are a nation built on the rule of law. And so, we need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make.”
Likewise, John Piper wrote this last night:
An indictment of Wilson may not have been the way, but what’s needed from police now is good evidence of firm resolve of equal treatment.
— John Piper (@JohnPiper) November 25, 2014
I think this strikes the right balance. The grand jury says they could not find enough evidence to bring an indictment against Wilson, and so they didn’t. As Piper wrote, an indictment of Wilson may not have been the way to go, but that doesn’t mean that the broader issues should be left unaddressed. Neither does it mean that the broader issues should have dictated the outcome of this particular case. Having said that, let’s hope and pray that good citizens can come to terms on the broader issues. Really, let’s work for that.
3. Here’s a good prayer:
“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” -1 Timothy 2:1-4
4. I like what Al Mohler had to say today. He is always a reliable guide in thinking through tough issues. You can listen below or download here.
5. To my African American brothers and sisters: You are on my heart and in my prayers this morning. I can’t pretend to know what it’s like to be you. But I sure do love you. Big time.