Sunday, August 13, 2017

What Derek Harbin Told Me to Do

Derek Harbin is my pastor.  Today he told me to do something in church and this is me, doing it.

Before we were dismissed from services today, Derek said, "You know how we experienced 9/11 and wondered why moderate Muslims didn't speak out? Now it is our turn to speak out against the racism which is tearing us apart."

In the aftermath of the inexcusable racism in Charlottesville, VA which culminated in the deaths of three people, it is imperative that all those who really love Jesus speak out against the white "supremacists."  

Please look at the picture above, re-posted from the Huffington Post.  We see a dignified young black cop standing duty. Behind him is a man in a dress with a red pointed cap on. Uh, who exactly is supposed to be supreme to whom?  All I see is a patriot in uniform with a confederacy of dunces behind him. 

KKK members, neo-Nazi's, and other affiliated groups who claim Christ and carry or use the sacred symbol of the cross to advance their racist ideology are apostate.

They have missed Jesus' entire message, which teaches that in Christ there are no superficial divisions.  

Galatians 3:28New International Version (NIV)

28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free,nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

Jesus was a radical.  He touched a bleeding woman who was considered "unclean" under religious law and healed her. He ate with sinners. Jesus let a hooker wash his feet with tears. Women were among his loyal followers. He reached out to the ultimate foreigners, the Samaritans, and taught about himself. He helped the disabled and reached out to lepers willingly.  

Many conservatives don't want to hear this, but if Jesus had been in Charlotttesville yesterday, he would never have been walking with Jason Kessler's (organizer of this bloodbath) "Unite the Right" activists.  By the way, Mr. Kessler blames the police for what happened, rather than any of his group.

Let's all be as brave as Heather Heyer, the young paralegal who was deliberately run over by neo-Nazi James Fields, along with 18 other victims. Heather gave up her life doing the right thing.

How do you do the right thing?  Don't laugh at jokes with racial overtones.  Moreover, state your repugnance for such things. That's not hard.

Don't publicize Internet garbage attacking Muslims or any other type of prejudice.  Quit reading Facebook posts from those who continually spread fear of groups different from yours.

Do what my husband, Bruce, did in one of his Navy moments of which I am the most proud.  Another Navy Chief (and I use this term loosely) was a racist, a quiet one, but a racist. Bruce saw that a very worthy African American sailor was not gaining the recognition that he deserved. 

He arranged with the Chief of the Boat to write up this young man's accomplishments.  Brian Robertson ended up being the Commander of Pacific Forces Afloat Sailor of the Year, advanced to Chief Petty Officer, and became an officer. Tim, the other "chief" never spoke to Bruce again.  It was no loss.

We helped raise three inner-city kids through an odd set of circumstances. At the least, we were two white folks who treated them well. Lest I appear to be bragging, let me assure you that they gave us more than we ever gave them.

Do all your friends look just like you?  You might want to think about that.

Because of all the disrespect which my neighbors of color have experienced, I am careful to show extra respect by holding the door open, calling them Sir or Ma'am, etc.

Do you think that racism isn't such a big deal?  Let me tell you the story of my precious friends Billie (the wife) and Leslie (the husband) Walker and what racism did to them.

Les and Billie were both stationed with the Air Force at a remote location in Japan. They didn't have access there to a large military hospital like Walter Reed or Portsmouth Naval. Les had experienced a cough and tightness in his chest for months, especially while playing basketball.  There was only one physician for him to see.

Apparently, this physician didn't approve of interracial marriage. He never did a chest x-ray in all the times Les sought medical help and eventually accused Les of malingering to avoid work.

The racist physician went on vacation and the new doctor found that Les had bronchial aviolar carcinoma, which he eventually died from.  How much better would things have gone if he had a non-racist physician who treated the disease in its earlier stage?
Les did a tremendous amount of good during his illness.  He preached on the streets of Waikiki, he witnessed about Jesus to his doctors and nurses. He loved his friends and his family.

The last thing he ever said "to" me was when he was dying. Bruce slipped in to see him at the same military hospital in Hawaii where I was in surgery to take out my appendix.  Les said he'd pray for me. Humbling to say the least.

Racism is like a cancer.  It can be subtle or overt.  Subtle racism is when you cross over to the other side of the road when you see three black youths because they make you nervous. Something to try instead:  stay where you are and say "Hey how are you today?" You'll be surprised at the results.  

We saw what overt racism looks like in Charlottesville yesterday. It looks like death.

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