Selfless Love on 9/11

Today, we remember that Tuesday morning eighteen years ago. Hard to believe, it has been eighteen years since we watched in horror as the tragedies of that day unfolded. There was a lot of hate perpetrated that day. Hate that not only changed the lives of many families, but the life of a nation. But as we reflect back on that Tuesday morning, I hope we will remember there was a lot of love happening that day.

The Man In The Red Bandana. Welles Crowther, a 24-year old equities trader is credited with helping at least a dozen people get out of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. This young man gave his life helping complete strangers.

Let’s Roll. A group of strangers came together to take back United Flight 93, preventing further mass destruction.

Put Back On The Uniform. Retired US Marines, Jason Thomas and David Karnes were complete strangers at the beginning of that Tuesday in September. But as they watched in horror what was transpiring at the World Trade Center, they put their uniforms back on and headed into the chaos. They are credited with saving two survivors.

More Than a Tour Guide. Army Specialist Beau Doboszenski was working as a tour guide at the Pentagon on 9/11. He gave medical aid to the injured outside and rushed into the Pentagon to help others trapped inside.

These are just a few stories of heroism from that Tuesday in September. As we remember and pay respect to all the victims of the 9/11 tragedy, let us not forget there was a lot of selfless love happening on that tragic day. ~OC

400 Years After 1619

In 1619, slavery came to America. In December 1865, the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in America. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson. In 2008, America elected the first African-American President with the election of Barack Obama. America has come a long way in the 400 years since 1619. But have we come far enough? Yes, this post is about racism in America. For those of you tired of me writing about racism in America, you can skip over this post if you would like. But I hope you don’t.

When most of us think about racism in America, we think about the days of slavery. We think about the 1960’s and the Civil Rights Movement. A lot of people think racism ended with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. I wish that was the case. Sadly it’s not. In 2019, racism is sadly still alive and well in America. Let’s take a look.

In 2019, hate groups are on the rise in America. The latest report shows there are 1,020 active hate groups in America.

In 2019, some police officers are still stopping African-Americans for simply driving while black.

In 2019, people of color are still followed by some business owners when they enter a store.

In 2019, African-Americans are still held at gunpoint by some white people for simply being black. Even when that African-American is a police officer

In 2019, some white people still call the police on Africa-Americans for simply living life.

So how can we take steps to improve race relations in America? Here are some suggestions.

Do not be afraid to have conversations about racism in America.

Stand Up against racism when you see or hear it. Don’t be Silent.

Make sure your place of worship is have real conversations about race.

Visit and invest in African-American owned businesses.

Know your history. Visit African-American museums and civil rights site.

Pray. Ask God what you can do to help improve race relations in America.

These are just a few suggestions. Feel free to share and implement your own ideas. We have to continue having these conversations. Silence is not an option. At least not for me. ~OC

Dear Church Body

Another mass shooting. More hateful and racist tweets by some of our political leaders. Another day filled with hate in America. Where is the outcry from the Christian Community? Where is the Church?

Dear Church Members, this is not the time to be silent. A prayer for the victims of a mass shooting during Sunday service is appreciated, but is not enough. Where are we the rest of the week? Where are we when some of our political leaders are spewing hateful comments and tweets?

The Church and its members should be the leading voices against racism. Christians should be on the frontlines against any type of hate. Now is the time to be bold. Now is not the time to be silent because it doesn’t fit your political agenda. Christians should be about doing God’s work, not the work of a political party. The world is watching the Church and the Christian Community. What side of history will we stand on?

There are roughly 300,000 churches in America. There are 1,020 active hate groups in America. Which voices will be the loudest? I pray my fellow Christians will drown out the hateful words and actions of these hate groups with the love of the gospel. I pray my fellow Christians will speak out when our political leaders spew hateful rhetoric. I pray my fellow Christians will speak out against all forms of hate and racism. Once again, I will ask what side of history will the Church and its people stand on?

I pray my fellow Christian brothers and sisters do not feel I am attacking the Church or Christians. That is not my intention. I love the Church and my fellow Christians. I believe we should be the ones demanding better from our leaders. We should be the ones standing up against all forms of hate and racism. We should be the Peacemakers.

You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. ~Matthew 5:9

“I hope the church as a whole will meet the challenges of this decisive hour.” ~Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Love Over Hate

Hate continues to rear its ugly head in America. We have have experienced four mass shootings. We have experienced more hateful tweets and comments from our elected leaders. It seems it’s gotten easier for people to choose hate over love.

It would be easy to get caught up in all the hate. All we have to do is turn on the tv, open up social media or just walk outside. Hate is all around us. Some of our political leaders have earned their PhD’s in the area of hateful rhetoric. How did we get here?

If you’re a conservative you’re told on a daily basis the liberals are to blame. How liberals are out to destroy America. If you’re a liberal, you’re told on a daily basis the conservatives are to blame. How conservatives want to take America back to the 1950’s. The talking points change daily, but the game has been the same for years; exploit fear and distrust. Make it Them Against Us. My prayer today is that we will make a Bigger Us and a Smaller Them.

We need to stop demonizing people who have different political views than us. We need to stop demonizing people who look different than us. We need to stop demonizing people who have a different faith than us. We need to stop demonizing people who were born in a different country than us. Instead we need to celebrate our differences, because that’s what has always made America great.

So we have a choice to make. We can keep pitting Them Against Us or we can all come to the Table of Love and have real and significant conversations. I believe we will find we have more in common than we realize.

As you know, I love to share take away points in my blog post. Here are some ways we can choose to Love More and Hate Less:

*We have a choice. We make the choice what we believe. We make the choice what we watch and listen to. We make the choice to be part of the problem or part of the solution.

*Replace Judgement with Grace. The world is constantly beating people down. Instead of being the Judge and Jury, make the choice to show some grace.

*Truly Listen. It is so easy to bombard people with your beliefs and opinions. Make the choice to take some time to listen to people who think, act, look and speak differently than you. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with them, but take the time to listen to them.

*Choose Love. Choosing love can be difficult at times. Let’s face it, some people are hard to love. I bet that hard to love person just came to mind. I did not say choosing love would be easy. Choosing love is a daily choice. But I believe it is worth the hard work.

“I have decided to stick with love…Hate is too great a burden to bear.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Why We Need To Talk About Racism

I can hear it now. OC is talking about racism again. Can I be honest with you? I really do not like talking about racism. I know that is hard for some of you to believe, based on all my post about racism. But truly, I wish I never had to talk about racism again. Really, I do. So OC, why do you keep talking and writing about racism? Good question. I am glad you asked.

As a white man in America, I have a lot of privileges. I did not asked for these privileges. I did nothing to earn these privileges. I just happened to be born white in America. But as a white man in America, I have been bestowed these privileges for simply being born white. Here are some examples of my white privilege in America.

*I can walk down the street and no one is going to clutch their bag a little tighter. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

*I can hail a cab with no problems. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

*I can walk through any store and not be followed by security. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

*I can drive in any neighborhood and not fear being pulled over by the police for simply driving. My brothers and sisters of color do not have that same privilege.

I wonder how many people stopped reading when I mentioned white privilege.? I hope you stayed with me and take some time to really think about the examples above. Those are not made up examples. Those things plus a lot more happen everyday in America. That is why I will continue to talk and write about racism in America. I believe with everything going on in our nation, we can no longer make excuses for not talking about racism. Only by discussing the issue of racism, can we hope to end one of the original sins of America. ~OC

Criticizing America is Not a Sin

Over the last week or so, there has been a lot of debate about criticizing America. Some people believe if you criticize America and it’s leaders you should pack up and leave the country. Others, like myself believe it is healthy to discuss the warts of America. That does not mean we do not love America. Actually, it shows that we really love this nation.

America was built on people having the right to share their concerns about this beautiful country. These debates have shaped this nation. Let’s take a look at some of those debates.

Women’s Suffrage. In 2020, we will celebrate 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment. This gave women the right to vote. Did you catch that date? Women have only had the right to vote for 99 years. The brave women of the Suffrage Movement were criticized for criticizing the way things were being done in America. Can you imagine the Sunday dinner conversations? But those brave souls did not pack up and leave America. No, they pushed forward until the 19th Amendment was ratified and signed on August 18, 1920.

End of Slavery. Who can forget we actually fought a war against each other over this terrible part of American history. Imagine if some very brave people would have stayed silent and not criticized America about the sin of slavery. We would never have seen the passage of the 13th Amendment which was ratified and signed on December 18, 1865.

Civil Rights Act. For some this seems so long ago, but this landmark act was signed on July 2, 1964. That was only 55 years ago. Some people reading this were alive during this turbulent time in America’s history. Some were on the right side of history, while others fought to hold on to the terrible past of America. The brave souls of the Civil Rights Movement were criticized for wanting to make America a better place for all. Some gave their lives for that freedom. What if they would had stayed silent? Where would we be as a nation?

I could go on and on with examples of how America was changed for the better by people who criticized her. Think about all those people involved in the examples above. Today, we celebrate them. But during those struggles, those same people were being beaten and killed for speaking up. So before you pass judgement on those brave enough to criticize America, remember America was built on people criticizing her. Oh, by the way, criticizing America is not a sin. It is a right that many have died for. A right we should continue to fight for. ~OC

Current Reading List

I love to read. Reading is something I have been passionate about since I was a child. Here is my current reading list. These books are challenging me in so many ways.

The Color of Compromise: The Truth About The American Church’s Complicity in Racism by Jemar Tisby.

Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice That Restores by Dominique DuBois Gilliard.

Southern White Ministers and the Civil Rights Movement by Elaine Allen Lechtreck.

Woke Church: An Urgent Call for Christians in America to Confront Racism and Injustice by Eric Mason.

I also just purchased a Bible that really discusses Social Issues called God’s Justice (NIV) by Zondervan. ~OC

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