God designed your stomach and your heart to be intimately connected.
“Eat your food!” That’s what many of us were told as children. “There are starving children in Africa.” It turns out, however, that we can better contemplate the needs of starving children once our own bellies are full.
Especially at this time of year, it might seem incongruous to think of those in need while we load up on Thanksgiving goodies for ourselves. I know I feel a twinge of guilt while rushing out the grocery store and past the food drive donation box.
Yet gratitude and compassion go hand in hand with full bellies. Recent studies show that we find it easier to turn our eyes to those who are less fortunate when we have enjoyed some abundance ourselves. As Christians, we are designed to both enjoy and share God’s good creation with gratitude and compassion.
As we contemplate our own prosperity, it can prompt us to better love others. One recent study found that people were more generous toward others when they had recently experienced the satisfaction of a need. Comparing hungry people with recently fed people, researchers found that those who had just eaten after being hungry were more willing to help another with a growling stomach. (They weren’t more helpful in general, just when others were hungry.) Another study found that people who were hungry were more likely to avoid others who showed possible signs of disease.
This is no surprise when we consider that compassion and our bellies might go hand in hand, neurologically speaking. The gut has as many neurons in it as does the spinal cord. Many scientists call this neuron-intensive region the “second brain.” Perhaps this is why we have “butterflies” in our stomachs or “gut feelings” ...
Ferguson may be about race, but it is also about violence. And we should have something to say about both.
Let me be clear: I believe that Ferguson is about race.
I know that many people disagree with that statement, that Officer Darren Wilson’s actions were not ostensibly motivated by race, and so could not have been racist. But racism goes beyond an individual's prejudice against people of a different color. It is a historical reality that goes back to the inception of this country, and exists not only in people’s minds but in the halls of our most powerful institutions. So even if an event is not directly motivated by personal prejudice, it can still be about race. I think Lecrae put it far better than I ever could:
Come to think of it, Lecrae says everything far better than I ever could.
But what I find strange about Ferguson is that no one is addressing the overarching theme to this entire tragedy: violence. Surely that is the common thread that ties all of these stories together: a young black man who commits a strong-arm robbery at a convenience store. A young white officer who felt his only recourse was to shoot that unarmed black man. A city that reacted to the killing with Molotov cocktails, and a police force that responded to the Molotov cocktails with equipment that made veterans of the Iraq war raise their eyebrows. The events of Ferguson may be about about race, but they are also about violence, and a society that seems entirely unable to react to difficult situations by any other means.
In this way, both Michael Brown and Darren Wilson are the products of our society—American society. Our country was birthed out of armed ...
The grand jury has made a decision in Ferguson, now we have to make ours. How will we respond?
In light of the grand jury decision handed down tonight in the wake of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, MO, I think it is of utmost importance that all Christians, but specifically white evangelicals, talk a little less and listen a little more.
Or, put another way, maybe some need to spend less time insisting that African Americans shouldn't be upset and spend more time asking why some are. Yes, this case reminds us again that the racial divide is clear, as a just released CNN poll demostrated.
I wasn't in the grand jury room, and I don't know the evidence, but many godly African American leaders are hurting and they are explaining why.
I think we should listen to them.
The issue of race remains contentious in our nation and in our neighborhoods, and many white evangelicals remain confused as to how they should respond. It is often difficult for those of us on the outside of an issue to fully grasp the complexity and the hurt of those from a different background.
Throughout the course of the events in Ferguson I have tried to seek insight from friends who can speak to this issue in ways I cannot, and have dealt with this struggle in ways that I have not.
A couple of months ago, Lisa Sharon Harper and Leonce Crump shared their thoughts on the death of Michael Brown and the aftermath.
White evangelicals must listen because there is a context to this tragedy, we must listen to feel the pain behind the problem and finally we listen so that we might acknowledge that injustice really exists.
Understand the Context of Tragedy
In “The Lie”, a post by Lisa Sharon Harper, Lisa outlines the important, if seldom acknowledged truth, that racism is still present and ...