On Listening

I’m coming to the conclusion that my conservative friends are wrong on the Trayvon Martin issue. Specifically, I mean my politically conservative Christian friends, who have been listening too closely to people whose job it is to drum up support for their side of the issue.  If you can take delight in an event that causes genuine grief to a Christian brother, you are probably wrong.  I’d like to suggest that, instead of scoring rhetorical points, you should close your mouth and listen.

Here’s your homework assignment:  find somebody, a Christian brother or sister, who thinks George Zimmerman was a wicked man for what he did, and ask them to explain it to you.  Do not respond.  Do not tell them why they are wrong.  Do not explain to them how the justice system works.  Just listen.  Mourn with those who morn.

If your Christian brother or sister feels personally assaulted by the news and the culture, it’s not the time to tell them that they’re wrong, that their experience doesn’t have anything to do with reality.  It’s an experience; they experienced it.  The feelings are real; they really do feel that way.

Thabiti Anyabwile has two posts up that I found helpful – One on his personal response to the trial, and one on advice for young black men.  I also thought this post on moving on by Trip Lee was helpful. I’d also recommend Kevin DeYoung’s suggestions on race relations.

One major misconception I’m having to address is that it looks like my views on racism are off.  I was raised on Ben Carson, and with the idea that my job, in order to create a nation “where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character” was to ignore race as a category.  It’s starting to look as though I can deny race as a category and do well, but I had better not deny the existence of racism.  Racism is quieter now, and more personal, baked into our cultural assumptions.  But it’s real, and pretending it isn’t there just helps it along.

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