Saturday, September 24, 2016


Times are indeed challenging, huh?  The sentiments of suspicion, frustration, even neglect, are surely a-brew.  Division among dear neighbors and whole neighborhoods begs to reign; to boss, to push.  Such division is powerful.  It is mighty.  It is full of selfishness.

One of the pains of mankind has and is being played out on the stage in Charlotte.  The next stage is being set in my own city, Tulsa.  We are next.  And while we all understand my perspective is merely one man's, I wish to portray a continued hope for our place.

A very valuable black man has been shot by an equally very valuable white policewoman.  No one views this development with an indifferent shrug.  This is devastating.  The question isn't whether it really happened.  It surely did as grief hangs over our city's landscape.  The question is, what are we really going to do about it?  How might we help?  It is at this juncture that I wish to say something meaningful.

This moment would be measured with the highest sense of catastrophic for all involved.  By involved, I don't single out just the victim's family nor the officer's for that matter.  I regard, too, each of us as we try to perceive from the sidelines via our news reports.  What are WE going to do about this?

There will be two approaches taken; identical in nature for either group.  There will not be a third; nor will there be a bias as to whether one is more capable than the other.  Two, and only two, clusters of thought will emerge...from BOTH camps; hatred or love.  Why?

Why will this saturate the hearts in both camps? Why on both sides of being right and standing for what's right will there be found either moments of genuine hope or moments of helpless devastation?  Why?  This is answered, I believe, from the interior of a person's heart; not from the exterior of one's skin color.  Deeds of the flesh will divide.  Fruit of the Spirit will unite.  There will not be a third path to wholeness for any community.

Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing are to be compared immediately in Galatians 5:19-22 with, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.  

The latter is what I have seen, overall, coming from our Mayor's office and on into our police force and then embedded within our Tulsa neighborhoods as there is extensive grief, anguish and pain.  The Spirit fruit is known as His because we can't get such to come out of us by our fleshly determination.  As hard as we might try, we don't have it within our brainpower nor convictions to hold up under the stress of being people.

Yet, the Holy Spirit bears this amazing and much needed fruit with in us, if we will but yield to Him.  Indeed, racial tension is real.  It is  But our community will not be divided due to color.  No, such is a falsehood in artificial disguise.  True division is never truly of racial boundaries; but between the flesh and the Spirit...of both groups.  It is within these two that there will either be lingering devastation or lasting reconciliation.

If celebrities are coming to Tulsa to help out, thank you.  Oh.  Thank.  You. Please...bring your fruit of the Spirit with you because you are so needed for such a time as this.  Too, don't bring your pet aggravations with you.  Stay home if that the best you can offer.  We already have enough selfishness of ourselves to go around without you stirring.

Our city is very wounded.  We desire to heal well.  By God's grace, it will happen. Welcome to all within our city or to those who are traveling our way who can override anger with joy, hatred with peace and divisiveness with love.  Welcome.  Bring.  It.  On.

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