I therefore a prisoner in the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, making every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. — Ephsians 4:1-6
There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. — Galatians 3:28
About 3 p.m., October 24th, a man entered the Kroger store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, armed and angry.
He shot a man who was there buying poster board with his grandson for a school project. He then exited into the parking lot and shot a woman who had come to buy groceries. Both died from their gunshot wounds.
Both victims were black. He shot them because their skin was of a much darker shade than his. He did not know them or have any other issues with them.
Prior to the shooting at Krogers, Greg Bush had tried to enter the First Baptist Church (African American) in Jeffersontown. The doors were locked. One hour before he came to the church the doors were unlocked and seventy people had been there for a prayer service.
I cannot say specifically what motivated Greg Bush to shoot two black people, but apparently he did remark to a white person, who had a gun, “Whites don’t shoot whites.”
This was just two miles from the church where the Regional Committee Against Racism of the Christian Church in Kentucky meets at Jeffersontown Christian Church.
Let me make a personal statement and be very clear about it.
Those who are white, black, Asian, Hispanic, Native American, Pacific Islander or Arabic share the very same humanity and should be treated equally with respect. A person’s worth is determined by their humanity and not their skin color or ethnicity.
White nationalism, which seeks to further marginalize,segregate and sometimes propagate violence against ethnic and religious minorities is a sin against the beautiful diversity of people God created. One person believing they are superior to another person because of skin color is the same seed of thought that led to Nazi Germany and The Holocaust.
Then, on Saturday, at a service to recognize the birth of a child at The Tree of Life Synagogue in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh, Robert D. Bowers, age 46, entered the building with four weapons and began shooting. There were eleven people killed and four deputies were injured, before he was apprehended.
Let me make a personal statement and be very clear about it:
Those in the Jewish faith community are our brothers and sisters. We share a Judeo-Christian faith that is difficult to separate. We are children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, read the Psalms of David, subscribe to the Decalogue (or Ten Commandments) and even Jesus quotes the Old Testament (Hebrew scripture) many times.
Whatever belief or state of mind that led to Robert Bowers to kill people worshipping in the Jewish community, is not consistent with the Christian faith. In Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalists marched with torches chanting, “Jews will not replace us.” My faith tells me that everything about insults, persecution and murder of Jewish people is despicable.
How do people get to this point in their lives? Why does this happen? People in ethnic groups have always been suspicious or prejudiced against people in other ethnic and racial groups, but have not killed each other in such visible and random public acts of violence. Trust me, it is all around us, in the community, state and nation. It even could be in the church.
What has changed is that a spark of hatred and prejudice can now be fanned into flames of vicious and violent behavior by dwelling and conversing on internet sites devoted to racist and ethnic hatred. Robert Bowers posted on social media five minutes before the worst mass violence against Jewish people in our nation’s history. He said, “I am going in.”
The goal of white nationalists is to “clean up their act“ and appear main stream and “acceptable.”
Now, what I would ask you to do, is examine your own internet behavior. Have you crawled down a rabbit hole of information which only tells you what you want to hear or fans the flame of hatred and disgust toward any group of people? It can happen to any of us.
Moving to the deeper places,