By Mike Baughman
Death calls us to wake as we roll around in the waves that sweep across a nation.
In the wake of Baltimore we wake to questions.
Could we invest less in demonizing color, less in demonizing cops and more in copping to our complacency for a universe whose moral arc bends far too slowly towards justice? How could we tug just a little harder so that the black bodies and brown bodies that hang from the arc might place their feet on the solid ground of justice as they gasp for righteousness?
What if we valued expression over comfort, poets over pundits and opened our minds to the uncomfortable truths that I call ‘hard-to-believe’ and a poor black teen calls Monday?
What if we saw through thick plastic shields to scared plastic boys who have never fired their guns but are now being shaped by the rocks that assail them?
What if church leaders, once again, were disobedient to what is civil, poked at privilege, spoke hard truths and worried more about upsetting God than upsetting the apple carts of congregations proclaiming ‘peace, peace’ when there is no peace?
What if church leaders, once again, conspired to inspire a generation, understandably tired, by offering creatively constructive protest in the face of a world that would rather keep on marching to any place other than Zion?
What if the cameras panned past the looters to cover the black teens who go to school today with worry in their hearts and invisible capes on their backs?
What if the cameras panned past a shooter to cover the cops who make their hood a home by falling in love with the people they serve and protect?
What if we were brought to tears without gas?
In the hushed wake of white, I worry that far too many city officials will lessen the lesson of Baltimore by investing in riot gear rather than righteousness—that they will foster riots by preparing for them because the world generally lives up to privileged expectations.
As we wake up to the American dream deferred, let us wake up to the reality that Baltimore is everywhere and we have a part to play in writing a new story.
image: 1000 words / shutterstock
Rev. Mike Baughman is the founding Pastor and Community Curator for Union Coffee in Dallas. Mike is a Methodist pastor with a passion for words, the gospel, his family and everything the church can learn from what God is doing in the rest of the world.