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June 3, 2020
Our world is undoubtedly ailing. We are facing great upheaval in our society. One that I pray and hope yields a world of justice, inclusion, and promise for all.
This afternoon I received word that protests would possibly be coming to our corner of La Jolla. I drove around the Village and saw several businesses already boarded up, a heavy police presence, and the arrival of what looked like some protestors. To be safe, I cleared my office of all things that are important and made sure all the doors of the church were securely locked.
I found some paper and a marker and I quickly wrote out a sign for the church with a truth that I wanted anyone who comes into La Jolla tonight and in the coming days to see. It says, “Jesus was a person of color. We stand on the side of love. This means: Black Lives Matter.” Let me be clear: Black Lives Matter. Full stop.
Let me tell you what this means.
It does not mean that we don’t value our law enforcement. It does not mean that black lives are more precious than other lives. Yes, all lives matter. This is true. But this statement is not helpful or appropriate right now. No one has ever doubted the value of white lives. White mothers do not live in fear that their children will not return home to them. Our society has been constructed in such a way that those of us with fair skin have been afforded a safety, security, and privilege that it simply not a reality for people of color.
It is also true that our church sits in a community that has been shaped by this bias. Several of La Jolla’s housing/zoning ordinances are the product of engineering a community for some, while keeping others out. Today, we contend with this legacy and we work to heal. We work to listen. We pray that we might grow and that we build a society where all of God’s children might flourish.
Let me also be clear. We are a church that has been shaped by people who have served in law enforcement. Those people dedicated their careers to healing. I believe that the law enforcement personnel who have been affiliated with our church, past and present, are a balm of healing. We must not forget that in a world that likes to reduce things to simple categories of “us versus them” it is never that simple. Our faith is one of complexity. These truths can stand side-by-side: Black Lives Matter and the thin blue line that runs through the hearts of most of our law enforcement community is one that we know strives to be justice seeking. The reality is, we can all do better. We are all a work in progress.
Whoever you are and wherever you find yourself on life’s journey, you are welcome here!