In the world today the treatment and killing of African-Americans by police has sparked a world-wide revolution.   People are hitting the streets with signs, chants and weapons to bring awareness, and hopefully change, to the way individuals of color and minorities are identified, profiled and mistreated.   Those chants and signs are calling out for an end to the racist way human-kind looks at one-another.   “One” is better than the “other.”   The “other” doesn’t have the same opportunities as the “better ones.”   Still “others” are being oppressed and treated with contempt, while many simply ask the question, “why can’t we all just get along?”  

Without diving into a dissertation on historical racism, let’s all understand that this problem has been around since “day one!”   Even though, it still remains intolerable, that racism exists, we as people have a problem showing “love” to our fellow brothers and sisters, instead we have a tendency to be racist, and that stems from the heart.   But is showing love the answer?   Yes, I believe it is.   OK, then how do I do that?   How do I show love in a way that will affect radical change in the human heart, and subsequently eliminate racism and oppression in our society?  

Surely protest, signs, chants, demonstrations, speeches, political activities and such all have a place at the table of change and reconciliation.   Communication, knowledge, truth and love are all a part of the recipe that the world is searching for.   But, when we let our emotions fuel bitterness and hatred for one another, the goals become lost.   The goals behind our actions against racism become convoluted, that’s why ….. #isupportalice.

My mom grew up in Savanah Georgia.   She lived in an area that was quite poor and offered very little in the way of a desire to be there.   My knowledge of her early life comes from the deep conversations she and I shared while she was still alive.   In Savanah, she and her siblings grew up in a very impoverished area with very little money and a large family.   Her dad was a simple man, hardworking and loving from what I have been told, even though I have never met him.   It’s strange, but by the time my mom had turned 13, both of her parent had died.   She and her siblings were alone.   That’s where Alice comes into the scenario.

My mom’s dad had a small sole propriety business of repairing things.   He was kind of a handy man that took items in for repair.   I really don’t know much more about his methods of supporting the family, but I do know that the family needed “extra hands” from time to time.   Enter Alice.

Alice, at least that was the name they came up with, worked for my mom’s family for many years.   Alice did not know her real name, did not know where she was born or how old she really was, and reading and writing were totally out of the question.   I do remember my mom telling me that Alice came to live with the family, and care for the kids, directly from a plantation of some sort.   Alice wasn’t just a “hired employee,” she was part of the family. Deeply cared for, and not seen as “different.”

When my mom’s parents had both passed away, it was Alice that cared for the children and provided a state of stability.   Even though Alice was uneducated and struggled with various challenges in her life, her loving heart and willingness to sacrifice for the sake of “her” family was what brought my mom and her siblings through this very difficult time.   That’s why … #isupportalice.

This wonderful African-American woman, that I never met, serves for me as the embodiment of the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as the other movements that promote caring, dignity and respect for all of God’s children.   All!  Alice “chose” to love a white family that was in need.   The family “chose” to love a nameless older African-American woman from who knows where.   They all “chose” to love each other even as a cross burned in front of their home one sad summer Savanah night.

Yes, #isupportalice because she showed her tremendous worth as one of God’s children in the chosen selfless caring for a white family that had been devastated by the loss of both parents.   Friends, without riots, without signs, without placards, without shouting, without burning and looting, without name calling and without concern for herself, Alice chose to “love.”   Alice chose to “be” the change, and not just talk about it.   For me, Alice, is the kind of person that I aspire to be like, one that lets love dominate any desire to lash out.  

Can you say … #isupportalice

Mark 12:30 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”


Screens, Screens, Screens …

Have you ever noticed how important screens are to our lives?   What about the almost unlimited number and sizes of screens?   Screens of various types are in our lives at every turn.   In our cars, workplaces, shopping malls, living room’s, gas stations, hospitals, doctors’ offices and of course, our pockets.   I think you would be hard pressed to find a place where we are without reliance on a screen of some sort.   Even as I write this blog, the letters I’m typing are forming on a screen in front of me.

In the mornings I like to try and get somewhat healthy, so I go to a gym to workout.   Don’t get the wrong idea, I’m not a workout maniac, just trying to exercise my legs and get my heart rate up.   But even this place of personal care is not void of the influence of modern screen technology.   As I walk in, I am confronted with a counter for check-in where my phone screen has to flash a code in from of the computer to register my visit.   Once ready for my daily duty, I’m confronted with a line of twelve very large flat screens, all providing various content for my intake.   What to watch?   What to pay attention to?   What the heck is important!   All of them biding for my cognitive attention.  

Let’s go through the list.   The first screen on the right tells me that their particular product will help me in my weight-loss dilemma.   How do they know I’m fat?   That’s kinda rude ya know, I’m only slightly pudgy regardless of the muffin-top!   So, I scan to the left.   The next screen has multiple messages firing at me like a machine gun.   The commentators are voicing their views on the Middle East as correct and even go as far as to tell me what I should be doing as a concerned citizen.   And if that’s not going to capture the moment, there is a red banner scrolling across the bottom giving me local news headlines and weather.   But wait, here it comes, yes, the DOW index just crossed the 13K mark!   Woohoo, life is good!

Well. I’m still searching for something meaningful and relative to my day in the life, so further to the left I go.   Aaaagggg!   Iran was caught lying again!   Oh, but they have an excuse.   I guess the many lives that they shot down by accident should be excused, no, maybe there is some sort of purposeful retaliation we should consider.   On the next screen a doctor has been accused of various pornography charges against children.   Now I’m not motivated to walk on the treadmill, I just wanna strike out in anger over such an atrocity.   Throwing up comes to mind.   I understand I can’t burry my head in the sand, but I still hate hearing of such violent dysfunctional crimes against kids.

Ahh, finally a screen I can get into.   McDonalds is offering a new double quarter pounder!   This screen is almost dripping with fat and cholesterol.   The slow-motion sizzling burgers perfectly placed between the buns with just the right amount of sauce oozing out of the right places is almost mesmerizing.   But wait, it’s a nice thought, looks satisfying, but do I really need it?   No!   The next screen is just black.   It must be broken, or maybe someone just hated what it was showing so much that they put a curse on it.   Anyway, “she gone.”

Ahhh, this one looks promising.   Remember, I’m on the treadmill looking for some relevant content that will motivate me and keep me in tune with the day.   Oh no, it’s a music video!   A series of quick images, totally unrealistic and almost incomprehensible flashing before my eyes with music that’s kinda cool, but for the life of me I can’t understand a thing she’s saying.   Now, a scan even further to the left takes me into a news room.   There are newscasters with despair all over their faces and background images playing that are disheartening.   To make matters even worse, yes, there are three lines of information scrolling across the bottom.   This only adds to the drama, or confusion, depending on you’re point of view.   Do you think they go to school to learn to sound so emotionally distraught?   It seems like sensationalism has invaded the gym this morning!

The next screen is some kind of a talk show.   Not a whole lot of defining background there, so I really don’t know what’s going on.   Actually, the audio on this channel isn’t working anyway, so upward and onward!  

Why are the things we are presented in the world not kind hearted and loving?   The next screen is showing a mug shot of a man authorities claim is a serial bank robber who was out on parole and held us another bank!   Really?   That’s news?   My mind wanders … “S T U P I D” comes into my thoughts.

All I want is info coming into my brain that will help me in my overall life.   How to love people better.   How to live more fulfilled.   How to be safer and find a good school system for my kids.   How to live today as a loving concerned human being.   But there is hope.   Another screen is showing me how to eliminate my anxieties over long term major automotive repair cost.   For only pennies a day I can have an extended high mileage repair program that guarantees me relief from upcoming major repair cost.   Even on my high mileage older vehicle, guaranteed!   Sometimes I wonder if I have the words “stupid” tattooed across my forehead.   So, for pennies a day you’re going to guarantee me that you will cover the extensive repairs to my ten year old piece of junk as they happen?   Really?   Only because I’m a preferred customer?

What I really want this morning is a screen that is not trying to fool me, mislead me or take advantage of me.   I feel like the world of screens and technology around me is hard at work seeking my demise.   What would the day look like if the screens I looked at offered blessings, hope, true humanitarian concerns and legitimate ways I can help from my little home town without worrying about getting ripped off?   What if I flipped the channels until I found the “Jesus Network?”   What would you watch?