Mind

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/

Overflow.

I haven’t posted in a while because in so many words I’ve been under construction.  I seen this worship video last week and I’ve been stuck on it.  The song that they were singing was “fill me up.”  That seems to be a common theme in my private time with God.  Part of the reason why I couldn’t post anything is because I was empty.  You can’t pour anything out of a something that is empty.

As I have been singing that song over and over, one thing that came to mind the other day was the fact that when you have a cup that has something at the bottom of it, whatever that something is eventually comes out of that cup with the consistent pouring of liquid into the container.

Picture a clear glass with dirt at the bottom.   The dirt can represent worry, doubt, fear, or whatever is going on in your life.  If you fill that glass to the top with water, the dirt will mix in for a second, but then eventually settle at the bottom again.  It is not until you consistently pour water in that glass not only to the top, but until it OVERFLOWS that the dirt will eventually come out of that glass.

My story today, is that I was that glass with the dirt at the bottom, but because of my prayers for God to fill me, the dirt did not just settle back in the background of my life, but through CONSISTENT pouring of God’s spirit, presence, and word I feel like I’m at the point of overflow.  Cleansed, new, fresh, and swimming in his presence.

It took time for me to get here, and because I’m not perfect at some point I will find myself here again.  It is so rewarding to be washed in God’s presence.  You cannot pour out without being filled up, and you cannot be filled up without being emptied out.  Enjoy the process, God’s presence is life changing. Let him fill you until the issues of life empty out of you and you’re experiencing his overflow.

Yesterday

I couldn’t come up with a witty title today, and since I wrote this yesterday, it’s called “yesterday” lol.

Today I felt passion again! I was in class and my professor said “it is said to be easier to get into Harvard than it is to get into the corrections academy in the state of California.” I don’t want to move to California and I definitely do not have the desire to be a corrections officer, but it was the reasoning as to why it was so hard to get into the academy that started my long thinking tangent today. The reason why it’s so hard to get into their academy is because California pays their guards pretty well, but the conditions in which they work are a few of the toughest prisons in the country. I DO want to work in prisons with prison ministry, counseling prisoners, and even parole.

I was on my way to church after class today, and I started thinking “can you really handle working in a prison?” This was not a question of my own, I know that I’m capable of it, but this is a question that I have been asked over and over again when I tell people what it is that I want to do with my life. Doubt began to creep in. As I made it to church a man walked up to my car, I rolled down my window and he asked me if I was here for bible study? I said yes, and he told me that he had been waiting for about an hour outside (I live in Michigan, it’s snowing pretty heavy here). I discerned that he wasn’t harmful and he had been invited by someone so I welcomed him to sit in my warm car instead of standing in the snow until someone came to unlock the doors. He accepted my invitation. We chatted a bit and went into the building. We shared testimonies today, and it turns out he was recently released from prison!

While others may have freaked out because they had just had an ex con in their vehicle, I was ecstatic thanking God that he had found his way to a body of believers that would love him as Christ does! To hear that he was walking down the street and heard music coming from the church that drew him in, and to hear that a couple of days later (today) he was standing outside with people driving by locking their doors as they saw him moved my heart. I truly thank God that I didn’t let fear or what people might’ve thought stop me from showing this person love.

As far back as I can remember, I’ve always had a heart of compassion for people that society has written off. Recently, I was beginning to wonder if prison ministry was still a burning passion of mine or whether I was just going with the motions and committing to it because it was something I had spoken in the past. The justice system has given me so many disappointments in the past few years that the fire that I have towards believing that there was a way out for these individuals had died down a bit.

When this man told his testimony it’s almost as if something was awakened inside me again! I began to feel that passion to advocate and be support to those who have lost hope, and are thinking that prison is their last stop in life.

If God has given you a heart for something don’t give up! Don’t let anything stop you, don’t allow people’s opinions hinder you from blessing others. Don’t be afraid to speak up and most of all:

Therefore I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you through the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (‭II Timothy‬ ‭1‬:‭6-7‬ NKJV)