My husband grew up in Ferguson, Missouri. We were married in Ferguson. We still have friends who live and serve in Ferguson, who are trying to make a difference in the city around them. And it breaks my heart to see what has been happening since the shooting death of Michael Brown. Finger pointing, rioting, tears, and heartbreak.
For anyone who has lived in the St. Louis area, they must come to the recognition that it is steeped in racism and misunderstandings, on both sides–white and black. The issues are complex and run deep. There are no quick fixes or easy answers. Poverty, lack of moral guidance, drugs, and violence all feed into a feeling of helplessness for some in the black community.
I talked to a young black woman today who was appalled by the riots and the violence demonstrated last night. Her words were, “Don’t they realize they are destroying the very businesses that have stayed in their community?” I doubt that they thought that through. There is something about a mob mentality that doesn’t lend itself to logic and commonsense.
Please pray for our city as we weather a storm that threatens our very foundations. There are solutions, but they are not going to come without hard work and sacrifice on the part of everyone. One of the black ministers I listened to tonight made more sense than any other voice I heard today when he said it is time for the black community to stop pointing fingers and start being a part of the solution. He noted that it was time for them to educate their children, encourage them to be police officers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, and business owners. Take a proactive stance in making a difference.
That may be a little simplistic and only covers one side of the divide. Whites have a responsibility also to allow blacks an opportunity to thrive and grow. Open communication and listening on both sides needs to happen.
I don’t know what happened to Michael Brown, other than the fact that he was shot and left on the pavement for four hours. Let the FBI and St. Louis County police do their job with their investigation. Pray that justice will prevail.
Please pray for the church in St. Louis. Pray that we can make a difference in our city and county. Pray that we can open the doors for honest, open dialogue and give hurting people a place to heal. Pray that the church, one of the most segregated places in all of America on Sunday morning, can be one. No black or white, no male or female, no free or slave–just one body of Christ. Only when we do that, can we also make a difference in the community around us.