Welcome to the premiere installment of The Devotional Guy™ ‘s Wednesday Around the Water Cooler, where we will cover current events and hot topics that we’re all talking about around our proverbial office water cooler. As Andrew Hill recently pointed out in his recent Financial Review article, “Why We Need the Water Cooler,” the conversations teams and colleagues used to engage in gathering around the work “water cooler,” is vital and difficult to replicate online. However, in this present COVID-19 environment, that’s exactly what I am hoping to accomplish. It may not be perfect, but I hope that we will engage in some productive discussions about those things that rightly concern us. We’ll likely cover a breadth of topics since there’s a lot to talk about in our round sphere of the universe.
Anybody remember those Australian brushfires? Are they still burning? Twenty-Twenty is proving to be a tumultuous year that sends us tumbling from one major crisis to another. A year that I hoped would help me see more clearly is doing everything but clarifying the road ahead. To navigate this highway successfully, we will certainly have to overcome a ton of obstacles blocking our path. The wildfires that scorched the Australian continent at the beginning of 2020 covered 42,000 square miles or about 27 million acres. That’s about 80 times the area that was devasted by the 2019 California wildfires. Lost amid the rapidly growing concerns about the coronavirus, on March 2, 2020, Australian officials announced that all brushfires had been extinguished due in part to torrential rains that pounded the region.
The video-recorded callous murder of George Floyd angered almost all people everywhere around the world as well as most everyone in America. Naturally, there are those seeking to take advantage of the opportunity to divide us further. For the most part, we stand united in declaring our outrage against the inhuman injustice that occurred on the streets of Minneapolis on Memorial Day while many of us were cooking out, spending time with family, and honoring those who gave their all to ensure our freedoms. Ironically, George Floyd, like too many before him, got denied his freedom and he got robbed of his life. It is way beyond time for a change. This cannot continue to happen anywhere in the world in the 21st century, especially not here in America.
He has told you, O man, what is good;
and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God?
Micah 6:8 (ESV)
In the week-plus since his murder (not death, not killing-—MURDER), I have spent countless hours contemplating what can I, an average white man living in America do to contribute to bringing about change. Reflecting back forty years ago, I thought we were making significant progress in moving beyond racial injustice and societal discrimination. It seemed like that to me in the 1990s, too. Black men were seeing increases in opportunity, particularly thanks to sports nationally and the explosion of the hip-hop culture globally. Many of our most beloved actors and entertainment figures were black, something that was not the case in the early 1970s. At least, that’s the way it looked from my perspective.
In 2008, America even elected a black man to serve as President, an achievement that seemed like a pipe dream only a few years earlier. So, I know significant progress has been made in my own lifetime. Yet, when I hear the voices crying out about injustice today, it makes me wonder what happened in the last twenty years, or perhaps the last decade, to upend that progress, because people of color certainly don’t seem to be being lifted up as a whole.
As I sit here typing this post, I recognize that I don’t have the answers to resolving this generational problem. I sense that like me, many of you want to solve it, not only for us but for future generations. I am reminded that the first step is admitting there is a problem. Also, experience has taught me that doing the same thing we’ve always done and then expecting a different result doesn’t get us far down the right road.
Father God, my heart aches and breaks for the injustices my brothers and sisters of color have endured for far too long. Help us, as a nation and a people, to do better than we have done because although we have done a lot and seen a lot of progress, we are short of reaching the shores of equality and justice for all. Each of us was created in Your image. Every one of us has value in Your economy and in Your eyes. We know we matter to You because while we were yet sinners You demonstrated Your love for us in that Jesus died for us so that we might not perish but have eternal life. Jesus died for all of us—white, black, brown, gay, straight, and whatever else box that our society wants to fit us in. There is no sin too big for You to forgive and no hurt too large for You to heal. Help us, God, carry out the words of the prophet Micah. May we act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with You, Almighty God. Father, allow us to see others the way You see us. Help us value not only our own life but the lives of others. Help us love others the way You love us. Father God, empower and encourage us to speak up and out against racism in all of its twisted shapes and different forms. Lord, may Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. For Yours is the Kingdom, the Power, and the Glory forever and ever. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
While we cannot change the past, it does not have to define our future. We can move forward if we try and are willing to find the courage to change those things we can. Talk is cheap. It is far past time for us to pivot from chattering about change to taking the necessary actions to bring about change.
I’m glad you came by and read my post. Please feel free to like it and share it. Also, I love hearing from you, the reader. So, leave a comment in the comment section to let me know you were here and share your thoughts about the difficult subject of racism and inequality.
Go in peace.
The Devotional Guy™