The Great Divide

August 24, 2014

Like many other Americans, over the past few weeks I have pondered the killing of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed man, by a Ferguson, Missouri police officer. Only the deceased teen and Darren Wilson-the officer who shot and killed Michael Brown- know what events led to the killing. However, in the wake of Brown’s death many Ferguson, MO leaders and other citizens have asked for an impartial investigation into the killing. To show support for such an investigation and to protest the gunning down of Brown, some Ferguson, MO residents organized peaceful protests.
Unfortunately, opportunistic criminals exploited the emotions of the grieving Ferguson residents and used the protests to perform their dastardly deeds of looting and stirring up trouble. The looters should be arrested, charged, and tried for their crimes against the people of Ferguson. Also, the looters should not be confused with the peaceful protestors.
As if the looters’ actions are not reprehensible enough, there are people protesting to support Darren Wilson’s right to kill unarmed people. This is ludicrous! It is almost inconceivable that law-abiding citizens are calling for police to have the right to kill unarmed citizens at will, or based solely upon a police officer’s personal lapse in judgment.
Officer Wilson is not charged with a crime in the shooting death of Michael Brown nor has he been fired from his job. Therefore, those protesting on Wilson’s behalf are making a frightening argument for him (and by implication for police officers everywhere) to have the right to kill at will unarmed and nonthreatening citizens. Moreover, the actions of Wilson’s protestors simply serve to deepen the divide and heighten the already tense relations that exists between the Ferguson PD and some Ferguson, Mo residents.
It is unbelievable that one group is protesting for a fair investigation into Michael Brown’s death while the other group is openly protesting for Officer Wilson’s actions not to be investigated by an impartial and independent source. One person-Michael Brown- is dead at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson. On the other hand, Officer Wilson has lost nothing, including his job. His actions are simply being investigated and for that his supporters are up in arms.
Perhaps Wilson’s supporters don’t want an investigation for fear the results will prove Darren Wilson overreacted and failed to exercise appropriate professional restraint and discretion. Perhaps they don’t want to admit that Wilson’s lack of self-control resulted in the unnecessary and tragic death of an unarmed and nonthreatening, to Darren Wilson, person.

Forgive and Forget?

August 9, 2014
Dear Friend,

Greetings and peace to you in the blessed name of the Lord Jesus Christ!

I trust God this brief letter finds you and yours in the best of health. Hopefully you have had the pleasure this summer of spending time outside experiencing the beauty and joy of nature. (When you get time, write back and share some of your experiences with me.)

As usual there are a great many things on my mind. One of the most pressing thoughts I have been contemplating is developing a practical understanding of the phrase from 1 Corinthians 13:5, “…it [love] keeps no record of wrongs.” An unwanted divorce, infidelity, betrayal, or being undermined by trusted friends, family members, or colleagues are examples of painful things that are not easy to get over or to forget. Yet when the referenced phrase is read in context, it clearly connotes those who possess authentic love do not keep a record of such things.

What does it mean to not keep a record of wrongdoings? One thought is it means not to dwell upon the offenses others commit against us. Perhaps it also means that authentic love (agape love) acknowledges hurt but erases the pain and does not leave room in the heart for resentment and thoughts of revenge.

However, “…It[love] keeps no record of wrongs…” doesn’t mean victims must remain in  partnership with those who have caused them harm. In fact, there are times when remaining in close proximity to one’s opponents might prove detrimental to both the victim and perpetrator. Therefore, it is probably good to love some people from a distance.

Well Friend, there is much more I could write; but the hour is late. So I will end for now. God willing,I shall write more another time. Until then, may the Spirit of the only true, wise, and living God continue to rest rule and abide with us.
Sincerely yours,

Allegra, your sister and servant in Christ
p.s. Don’t forget to drop me a few lines telling me about your summer. I am also very interested in hearing your interpretation of the phrase from 1 Corinthians 13:5.

An Invitation to Abundant Life

August 4, 2014
Dear Friend,
These few lines are penned to encourage you by reminding you that you have inherent value because you were created by and in the image of the only true, wise, and living God. You are not defined by the social constructs devised by humans to separate, denigrate, humiliate, and dominate. Your worth is ascribed by the creator of all things great and small. The Creator has deemed you valuable and has sent his only begotten son with a personal invitation asking you to fellowship with him.
It is amazing and mind boggling to know that the all-powerful, everywhere present, and all knowing God desires to fellowship with his creation! Yet it is so! How do I know? Like you and all others, I too received the invitation to companionship with Him. Many, many years ago I accepted that invitation and life for me has never been the same.
It makes no difference what we’ve done; God loves us and invites us to join his family. He simply asks us to  love him with all our heart, soul, body and mind, and to love others. God has even provided the tools necessary for us to accomplish those objectives. First, he demonstrated his great love for us by giving Jesus as the supreme sacrifice for our misdeeds. It is the sacrificial blood of the resurrected Jesus that makes an intimate relationship between us and God possible. Then following Jesus’ ascension, God left the Holy Spirit in the world to comfort, keep, and teach us God’s ways.
For those who doubt God’s existence. He has provided many evidences.The diversity  of nature and the various lifecycles testify to this. However, in my mind there is no greater witness to a caring, compassionate, loving, and all-powerful God than that  evidenced by the regeneration of hearts and minds that were once self-centered and self-serving; but now strive to glorify God by serving others.
It is that God that the Christian Scriptures testify about, and to Whom I want to introduce you. You are much more valuable than any offense you have committed. According to Scripture, God does not condemn you; He gave his life to save you. Moreover, Scripture says that if you confess your sins and repent, God forgives you and throws the bad acts into the sea of forgetfulness. So don’t worry about past transgressions-for we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Yet God still loves us.
Well friend, in the words of my late mother, that is all for now. God willing we shall communicate again soon. By the way, I look forward with anxious anticipation to celebrating your adoption into the family.


Your sister and servant in Christ

p.s. Read a modern translation of the Bible to learn more about your invitation.