I remember watching the footage of Rodney King getting beaten at the hands of four LAPD officers. I was young enough to know that it was wrong and shocked when the officers were acquitted. The city of Los Angeles exploded with rioting and violence. King famously quoted the title to this post at a press conference. It is a valid question
One of my favorite books is The Autobiography of Martin Luther King Jr. and it is an amazing read. King had his troubles and his own struggles but he was the man God tabbed at the time to do one of the most important jobs in the history of this country. He stood in Washington and stated his dream that one day children of all races could play together. It is a valid dream.
The events happening in suburban St. Louis have captivated the country and the facts of the shooting are disputed between the police and the friend of the victim, Michael Brown. At these moments I always think of my sons. We are still in a world of race relations and power dynamics. Whatever you believe, me being a white male will get me more readily accepted in certain situations than a younger man or woman of a different race. This is a sad truth. I pray for my boys and try my best to show them that all people are equal. The hope lies with their generation. Grace is for everyone. Jesus offered perfect love. The Cross eliminates power dynamics.
It is the final answer.
There will always be shootings and victims. There will always be a need for peace. As believers, we must fight for this peace. We must radically love those who live on our block and in our city. We are called to love those who persecute us. My friends span race, gender, and sexual orientation. As I watch my sons at the playground, I pray they will be change agents and always hold on to that innocence and that drive to play with another kid because they are there and they want to be friends.
May we all reclaim some of that innocence.