Bible

There’s a ROOT.

Tonight in Community Policing.

I didn’t want to go to class tonight, but it’s the last one of the semester.  I knew that Baltimore would come up because every time someone gets shot by the police or there is an injustice we usually go over what happened and what the issues are (not just the high profile cases).  My professor used to be the chief of police of a department that he says had a lot of racial tension, and he made every effort possible to fix that…and was successful.  So, here I am sitting in the front row as usual…and I’m randomly picked to read a slide about the Kansas City Preventive Patrol (this was one of the efforts to bring the community closer to police departments  after riots in the 1960’s).  I read the slide, and he says this was a result of the riots of the 60’s…what do you think will come of the riots of the 2015’s (lol)?

I cringe inside, because I have made up in my mind at this point that I don’t want to talk about Baltimore yet.  I had came up with a creative way to address my feelings about it and it’s not complete.  This is a class where normally shootings are blamed on the person who was shot because “if you don’t run, you don’t get shot,” or “if you just do what you’re asked you won’t get shot,” or “if you aren’t looking like a suspect, you won’t get shot,” or in the case of Baltimore “if he wasn’t doing something wrong, he wouldn’t have gotten arrested to die in jail in the first place.” Get the point?

In this same class about a month ago, media and the police were talking.  Someone says “The media fuels the fire..it all started with that Trayvon Martin kid.  If the media didn’t talk about it, it wouldn’t be an issue.”  *Blank Stare* I say, “It didn’t start with Trayvon Martin.”

So today…I said “What will come from the riots in Baltimore? I feel that the city officials need to LISTEN.  The rioters are saying something, and their frustration is not driven by this single incident, it is frustration that has a deep foundation with layers to it.”  *Crickets*

My professor to my surprise says: “Absolutely!”

Here’s my position, what I can put into words any way. HISTORY is fueling this fire.  I’m in the process of looking up history from a biblical foundation because I’m writing a poem about it, but for this piece let’s just look at the history of America.

You have slavery, the first form of policing in America being that of SLAVE patrols.   Fast forward, you free slaves and declare segregation unconstitutional, but some of these people still have prejudice attitudes towards Blacks.   Now you have police officers who are policing communities with people they don’t necessarily care for populating them.  Then you have the reform era of policing that’s trying to break the tension between the police and blacks in neighborhoods…but now there is a HISTORY of bad relationship and communication between police and Blacks. Just like stereotypes of black people have been passed down, stereotypes of police officers have been passed down.  However, that doesn’t mean that all cops are bad, and that all black people are bad.

My point: There is a ROOT to the issue of rioting.  Let’s not just look at the result, but what caused that end result. You can’t just cut a branch off and expect a tree to fall.

Prayer: Has to be done from the root.

Justice: Has to be done from the root.

Restoration: Has to be done from the root.

This might end up sounding like rambling, but I just had to get SOMETHING out.

(For a look at a more constructive look into what I think, take a look at my post on Eric Garner, and Mike Brown, and Tamir Rice, and Trayvon Martin, and many others here….  https://peaceofmyheartandmind.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/too-much/

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Seat of Honor

Today I finish a project that I have been working on for a while now, but I’ll start at the beginning of this journey.  Last fall I signed up for a volunteer position in a program that helps reduce recidivism in juvenile offenders.  I came on as a mentor, and things were going great until I was called into a meeting a few months ago to hear that they made a mistake in pairing me with my mentee and no longer had a position for me as a mentor. They opened an opportunity for me to stay on the staff just to keep up with the youth, and attend the meetings.  I accepted.  I left the meeting a little discouraged, but since I was still able to have a relationship with staff and the ability to see the program succeed I was ok.  The next day I got an email from the directors that said that a “light bulb went off” when I left and they immediately had another position that they wanted to know if I would be interested in.  I met with them the next day and they asked me to write a portion of the training manual for the program.  They said that they recognized that I was knowledgable in criminal justice and that they wanted to use it for the portion of why Juveniles commit the crimes that they do.

The other day while I was driving and thinking about all of the big projects that I have completed since January I realized that I have been writing from a place of influence.  I’ve written a major part of a training manual, I’ve written recommendations for a police department, and recommendations for corrections.  I was blown away by the opportunities to do all of these things.  Then I heard “I’m placing you in a seat of honor and influence, your words are powerful.”    I recognized it as scripture so I went to look it up when I got home, and I found this passage:

Luke 14:8-35 New King James Version (NKJV)

“When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. 11 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

Things I learned…

1.  Do not despise low beginnings.  Walk in humility.

I knew that I had a lot of knowledge on the theories of why people commit crimes.  However, I went into my program just as a mentor with no ulterior motives to change positions or move up.  When I was told I was no longer needed as a mentor, I could have turned down their offer to still come to staff meetings, but that may not have provided me the opportunity to write for the program.  With an attitude of humility I received more than I expected, and was invited to share the knowledge that I had.

2.  So often we limit our gifts to doing ONE thing, but God is so much bigger than what we THINK our gifts are for.

I’m a spoken word artist, and blogger.  While I knew that my words have power outside of these tools that I use to reach people, I believed that my words only had “real” power in these two arenas.  However, it is a great mistake to only think of yourself as a minister when a platform is provided to you in church.  Our daily lives should minister, I believe that is what God was showing me with these opportunities to write and propose solutions.  God is not limited to the gifts that you use in your local church, but he wants to use you in decision making on your jobs and in your field as well.

That’s all for now.  For more on humility see my post “Small or Low” Here: https://peaceofmyheartandmind.wordpress.com/2014/09/24/small-or-low/

Sidenote: I haven’t been posting due to me being busy with the above…but I’m back! 🙂

Just Ride

My father and I used to go to travel to see my grandmother every weekend. She lived about an hour and a half away from us, so I was pretty familiar with the route that we took to get there and even had an internal alarm clock that woke me up when we got about fifteen minutes away from her house.  Even though I was always in the car on the highway I was never the kid that asked “Dad are we there yet?” However, when my dad would tell me to put my shoes and coat on to go somewhere outside of our normal schedule I ALWAYS asked “Dad where are we going?” Sometimes he would answer me right away, other times I had to ask him about six our seven times before he would answer, and sometimes he would say “just ride.”

I was thinking yesterday that sometimes my relationship with God is like this as well.  I’m not so concerned with the “are we there yet?” However, when I get into unfamiliar territory I consistently ask “Where are we going?” Now, there’s nothing wrong with asking God for the destination that you’re headed towards but I’ve found that my question is often rooted in control.  I want to know every move, how we are getting there, where we are going, why we are taking that specific route, etc…

I’ve started to see that if I knew every single detail of my life that would make me all knowing, which would make me God, and that is NOT the case.  Some things God reveals to us all at once, sometimes, piece by piece, and sometimes we just won’t have all of the details.  It is during those moments where you just have to trust.  He’s your father and protector, I PROMISE you he won’t take you to any destination that will harm you. So, if you can’t see it or if the destination has not been completely revealed to you…Just ride.