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Attempting to obey God and follow Jesus Christ our Lord

Archive for August 20, 2014

Week Nine of the CPE Journey: Sidestepping

Over the past several weeks I have purposely and intentionally not addressed contemporary issues greatly because of the magnitude of work as a chaplain intern. That work has put me in touch with people across the human spectrum. I have enjoyed working with Blacks, Whites, British, Columbian, Chinese and all types of people groups. I have found this to be greatly rewarding as I have learned many years ago that people are people are people and to suggest anything different is simply asinine.

I bring this up because of the present turmoil in Ferguson, MO. Here is a town riddled with cries of racism born out of false emotive responses to a police involved shooting wherein few facts have been made public. Thugs (many from other towns) continue to break into stores and steal from those who had nothing to do with the shooting. Vulgarity has run a muck to the extent that some “protestors” have used their fingers to indicate a false disdain for injustice. Obvious facts are ignored in the face of some flaming the fires of racism only to meet personal or political points that have done nothing other than bolster feigned outrage. This bolstering continues to be by political leaders, the media at least in some part and so-called civil rights leaders.

There are certain matters I have considered I as have watched this unrest unfold. For instance I have wondered why President Obama has once again injected himself in the middle of a local matter while he seems to pay no attention to the burning world around him? Why have Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpton gone running to a situation in order to promote justice when the investigative process had not the chance to begin? Moreover why have they not gone to Chicago, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Dallas and other cities where Blacks routinely kill other Blacks? Are not those Blacks important too? Do they not deserve the same treatment? Also, why are these so-called protestors rioting in the streets? Can they not find a better way to vent their points of view? More importantly it seems to me that injustice has yet to occur. What about waiting for the completion of the several investigations before making crass judgments?

Now, there is no intent here to make little of the death of Michael Brown. The death is absolutely tragic no matter the circumstances leading up to it. However that does not mean that tragedy needs to be met with tragedy. There is no good reason for citizens to turn to crime in order to make points. Bad can only make bad worse so that my sidestepping from CPE discussions is truly highlighting and celebrating the diversity of those with whom and I serve and to those I serve. If the rebel rousers in Ferguson would but lay down their weapons of destruction perhaps there would be room in their hands for the tools of reconciliation.

To further this point a bit more it needs to be noted that some have suggested that the actions of the criminals here is the result of a so-called “Black plight.” It should also be noted that, well, I am counted as a Black person. I was raised in a neighborhood in Baltimore wherein the best chose not to go. In the neighborhood were Blacks, Whites and other people groups nearby. The thing is we got alone just fine. Yes, my parents were divorced when I was very young and there were definite family problems. Moreover there were social problems going on as well. Still the problems of the day did not lend to the idea of “Black plight” at least not in my mind.

And still I did not let my situation hold me back from who I am and my progress in life. Without presenting a biography of myself suffice it to say that I have had a successful life. I served in the military, have owned businesses, worked in law enforcement and have accomplished academic success that most will never. Pointing these things out is not to toot my own horn (all though I have also played a number of woodwind instruments) rather to show that one’s ethnicity has nothing to do with success or failure. It has more to do with the decisions and choices made. It is certain that there will be positive outcomes as well as negative ones. Yet one’s choices tend to lead to individual “plight” rather than that of an entire people group.

With that I would encourage all to lay aside senseless idiosyncrasies and pick up the tools of reconciliation. Perhaps when preconceived notions of wrong predicated upon no facts can be thrown out then the notions of wrong can be replaced with true justice which leads to peace.

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Why We Confess Before Christ

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. – (1 John 1:9)

 

Though we have been forgiven because of Christ’s death, the admission of our sins before Him is an important practice on our behalf. First, our confession is agreeing with Christ that our sin is sin and we are willing to walk away from it. Second, by coming clean before Christ, we are not hiding our sins from Christ nor ourselves. Finally, when we confess our sin before our Creator, we are made aware of our own capacity to sin, and relying on Christ and His strength to overcome that which entangles us. (NIV footnotes paraphrased)

 

Our confession keeps communication uninhibited with our Creator. Often, our own junk gets in the way. We need His forgiveness, purification, and righteousness to cover all our mess, so that we may be restored to a space where our obstacles are out of the way and we can clearly hear Him, once again. May we seek to keep short accounts with our loving Creator, who is faithful to forgive us as we come.

 

Every heart sins,The Benefit of Broken Barriers

needs to come and confess;

to Christ, Redeemer,

Who forgives all our mess.

He’s faithful and just,

He forgives all our sin;

He purifies us,

and He starts from within.

All that is unclean,

hidden, ugly and wrong;

He already knows,

and to Him we belong.

He washes us clean,

and makes us new again;

sweet restoration,

in His love we remain.

 

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You that if we confess our sins to You, You are faithful and just, and You forgive us and purify us from all our unrighteousness. Thank You that You restore us to right relationship with You, though we do not deserve it. Forgive us for every word, thought and deed that has not honored You, and help us to turn from our sinful ways and faithfully follow You. Show us where we need to fix our eyes and heart more securely, so that we may trust You more. Lead us to love others as You love us, so that many may come to know just how faithful You are for themselves. Be exalted O God, as we confess and then continue moving forward as You call us. Amen.

© Shannon Elizabeth Moreno and Revelations in Writing, May 2011 – present.

For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. – 1 Peter 2:19