For the second time this week we have heard of another police shooting of an African American. Tuesday saw the killing of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Lousiana, and Wednesday night Philando Castile in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights, Minnesota. While all of these shootings have bothered me, the Falcon Heights shooting hit closer to home, and not just because it was only a few miles from me.
What makes this one more real to me is that Mr. Castile could have been me.
We love to look at people and judge them on the basis of what we see. We looked at Lance Armstrong and saw a guy who beat cancer and won Tour de France titles. We saw Bill Cosby as a barrier-breaking comedian and father figure.
Last winter, I wrote a somewhat contrarian blog post on the prosperity gospel. I never did endorse it, but I was trying to talk about the fact that for those on the lower economic margins that happen to think about money, they are more willing to talk about finances and how this relates to their walk with God.
A few years ago, I was invited by a Lutheran friend of mine to take part in a group of church planters. I knew these folk came from an evangelical background, and my shields went up. Would these people accept me? Did I have to go into the closet here?
Anyone who is familiar with Star Trek knows about the Borg, a seemingly soulless race of cyborgs. The Borg’s main task is to assimilate other species and bring them into the Collective. Science fiction geeks everywhere know the Borg’s catchphrase: “Resistance is futile.”
Resistance is futile. Jesus is sitting around talking to a crowd when some Pharisees come by. Looking agitated, they make their way to Jesus.
In a few weeks, my partner Daniel and I will celebrate five years of marriage. Since we live in Minnesota, where same-sex marriage is not legal, it was not something recognized by the state. But our marriage, our joining together, was blessed by the church. We had our ceremony at an Episcopal church in the southern Twin Cities suburbs.