Posts Tagged ‘charleston’

Two weeks ago, Dylan Roof attended bible study at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC and sat among other attenders for nearly an hour before he pulled out a gun and murdered Clementa, Susie, Tywanza, Sharonda, Cynthia, DePayne, Ethel, Myra, and Daniel. Two weeks may not be enough time for grief to pass, but it surely is plenty of time for the politics of this world to try to define what is happening here.

A lot of people are bringing their politics to Charleston. The tragedy has become a platform for debate. I suspect that some of these are speaking out in an effort to climb the ranks in this present kingdom. At the very least, they are utilizing the natural strategies of this kingdom.

Does anyone else feel like using this incident to broadcast one’s agenda minimizes what has happened here? Does anyone else feel like people are politicizing the pain of those who are grieving? Is this the time for special interests? Is there anything going on here that is more important than discussing the politics of a temporary kingdom that is on its way out?

The part that I hope we never forget is when family members of the deceased offered forgiveness to Dylann Roof. Instead of calling for revenge, they invited Dylann Roof to look for God. This is politics, just not politics as usual. This is not politics the way the world has come to understand politics. This is the politics of another Kingdom. These folks, broken-hearted and full of emotion, offered forgiveness.

The politics of Emanuel are far more interesting than the politics as usual of the present kingdom. Pain is not minimized. Those who suffer have a voice. And they choose to talk about forgiveness. This may surprise us or seem unimaginable. Is this any way to respond to a racist? A murderer? Still, this is the response of people who take seriously the words of their King. This is the response of people who are serious about a text that says “Love your enemies”, “Bless those who persecute you”, “Forgive as many as seventy times seven.”

I pray that the witness of these people challenges the rest of us to think differently of others and to react differently to tragedy. The best political strategies of the present kingdom will not save us. The best strategies this world has to offer cannot save us. But these people from Emanuel AME – these people are onto something.


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