A Bulldog in Tennessee

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Recently, I had the honor of being a speaker at a “Black Lives Matter/All Lives Matter” March at a university in Tennessee. I was a veritable bulldog in Tennessee. The following is a truncated version of what I had to say on the topic.
 
“Point 1: We are all standing in the need of prayer. Verse 8 of the 85th Psalm says this: I will listen to what the LORD God is saying, for he is speaking peace to his faithful people and to those who turn their hearts to him.
 
“This past August, I ventured over to a certain town just down the mountain from here to get a haircut because I wanted to look my best for Morning and Prayer at the Chapel on campus. As I entered that barber shop, I immediately noticed a look of contempt upon the Master Barber’s face. He asked (with a Southern drawl), “May I help you?” I replied with a smile, “Hello! I would love a haircut.” The Master Barber looked me up and down a few times and bluntly said, “No.” “No?” I asked him curiously. The Barber stated an emphatic “No.” When I politely asked him why, he said quite matter-of-factly, “Because I don’t cut your kind.” At this point, I called upon the Thinking Black Man’s Survival Guide. Rule #1: If you find yourself in a hostile environment where your presence is neither wanted or needed, remove yourself from said environment posthaste. I thanked the Master Barber for his time, wished him a good day, and left. My adherence to Rule #1 prevented either of two unfortunate outcomes. If I had demanded service, the Master Barber could have called the police and attempted to have me arrested for trespassing. Or: if I had gotten into a verbal altercation with the Master Barber, perhaps he pulls out a gun, shoots me, and later tells the police he feared for his life. It wouldn’t have mattered that I was wearing a tailored suit. It wouldn’t have mattered that I had hundreds of dollars in my wallet. In his place of business, I was totally subject to his rules and his prejudice.
 
“Point 2: We all long for the truth – God’s divine truth. Consider verse 11 of the 85th Psalm: Truth shall spring up from the earth, and righteousness shall look down from heaven.
 
“As we run this Christian race, we must seek The Lord’s truth. We have all heard the phrase Black Lives Matter invoked in news reports, or read it in newspapers, magazines, and websites. Perhaps some of you have participated in marches… or engaged in silent protests… or attended special church services held in honor of that phrase. Do black lives indeed matter? Is this declaration theoretical or actual?
 
“Allow me to state an inconvenient truth. Everyone is not convinced that black lives matter. Some people believe that in order for black lives to matter more, white lives must somehow matter less.
 
“Of course, everyone is fully entitled to their opinions on this subject. How you feel about racism probably depends on a where you grew up, your system of faith, your level of education, your socioeconomic status, and other factors. Black people were wonderfully and fearfully made in God’s holy image, too. We also have hopes and fears, peaks and valleys, good days and bad days. Christ Jesus died on the cross to save us, as well. That’s the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but divine truth.
 
“Point 3: Mercy + truth = righteousness. Reflect upon verse 13 of the 85th Psalm: Righteousness shall go before him, and peace shall be a pathway for his feet.
 
“The word righteousness is defined as ‘the state of moral perfection required by God to enter heaven.’ Human beings are inherently incapable of ever achieving perfection. However, we can pursue it by committing ourselves to perfect submission to God’s laws and commandments.
 
“Several of my closest friends – Jeremy, Sinclair, Lori, Ricardo, Amanda, and Jay – are in attendance here today. Four of those individuals are white, and two are black. I love every one of them – and their families. I would die for any one of them in a heartbeat; for no greater love hath a man than to lay down his life for his friends. My life matters because their lives matter. Their lives matter because my life matters. We are interconnected. We are brothers and sisters in Christ. We are family.
 
“As I close, I humbly ask you to partner with the African American Alliance, Hispanic Organization of Latino Awareness, the Asian Organization, and all other student organizations here at dedicated to fighting for mercy, truth, and righteousness framed in equality upon this domain.”
 
Then, this Bulldog in Tennessee joined the march, the demonstration, and the candlelight vigil. I did so because I know in my heart that black lives, white lives, and all other lives matter. But the Lord our God matters first - and most.

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