Tag Archives: unity

How do we eradicate racism?

lighthouse-christian-schools-then-and-now

Left: I was a teacher 20 years ago and Right: today at the same school.

Clinton was the answer, Trump the problem — the new standard liberal line is not true.

I’ve deeply troubled by some friends heavily worded FB posts calling the Trump presidency a huge reversal to racial equality. I’ve been disturbed by the outlandish assertions by the Huffington Post. So I fired off some retorts to counter the evil narrative, and a bunch of friends worried about my uncharacteristic tone on FB.

When I was a little kid, my grandmother told a riddle about house, green on the outside, red on the inside, with a lot of blacks (not the word she used): a watermelon. When I retold the riddle, my neighbors informed me it was racist. I defended my grandmother because I couldn’t believe that sweet old lady would be racist. As it turns out, the N-word was racist. I never heard it in my house before, and I didn’t understand the connotations and the history. I was maybe 8.

michael-ashcraftWhen I was 12, I was bused to a Latin neighborhood. My parents never opposed busing, so I assumed it was an okay thing. But those kids were scary, street tough and fighters. They intimidated me, and I tried not to get into trouble. Of course, some of them became friends too.

In college, I was assigned to the special interest group beat as a campus reporter and spent a lot of time listening to grievances from the Black Student Alliance, the Mexican Chicano Association and even the Asians. I became sensitized the many ways they face overt and subtle institutionalized racism, hurdles and inequalities. I became a ferocious hater of racism.

When I married Chinese, my mom — for the first time in my life — expressed racism. She asked me why I couldn’t marry white. I was completely flabbergasted because I never remotely would have guessed she harbored any vestige of racism. I objected vigorously, and she repented immediately.

I thank God that my parents didn’t pass on their latent racism. This was critical for me to be free of it.

As an adult, I forced a kid out of my car because he wouldn’t stop saying the N-word. Of course, he was rapping along with music and not hurling hate, but I was adamant: he couldn’t ride back from the soccer game with me and say that word. I had zero tolerance. Actually, I violated school policy and probably the law in doing so because he was a minor for whom I was responsible and abandoned on the streets of L.A. I wondered if I would fired for my brashness, but I figured it was worth it to make a strong stand against racism. The next day, the students tittered at my over-reaction, but it made an impression: racism would not be tolerated at our school. That was good.

I never understood how African Americans could use the N-word and not be racist, but I left that dilemma up to them because they had suffered decades of oppression, not me. One day I allowed a Latin student talk about racism in the class. He prepared a 10-page report that confronted some of the students in their bad attitudes. He explained the difference: when an African American uses the term, he is objectifying the hate, naming and proclaiming his freedom from oppression from the word. Maybe I’m not doing justice to his explanation, but it made some sense to me. If a white man uses the term, it hails to an entire history of slavery and racism. If a person of color uses it, it represents an emotional triumph over the oppression of that word. You may not accept this, but I do

I have tried to fight racism. I support body cams for cops not just to condemn them but to exonerate them if the situation goes South and they were forced to resort to force. I am appalled by the Virginia cop who fired multiple times on an unarmed African American simply because he ran away. I am appalled by the racist who entered an African American church and started killing them in hopes to provoke a race war. I am disgusted by the KKK and wish they could drop off the face of the Earth. I am horrified by drivers plowing through African American protestors who form human chains to obstruct traffic in protest.

But I am equally appalled by people ambushing cops, regardless of whether they may be racist. This is absolutely disturbing.

I am not at all thrilled by million-dollar-earning athletes taking a knee during the national anthem to complain about racist oppression. What oppression? They have better salaries and lives than I do. Also, it strikes a sore spot for me. When I fled organized crime in Guatemala, I came to America, a safe place, that opened its arms to me and offered me freedom and refuge. I have seen racism around the world, and I think comparatively America is far better than other places. No excuses for the evils that do occur. But maybe these guys should go live in Guatemala for a decade to appreciate the blessings of America. So I simmer and grumble about that protest.

Just today, I went ballistic. The Huffington Post floated the narrative that Trump’s victory was due to racism. Several posts on Facebook, from friends whom I love and respect, echoed the simplistic story. Later in the day, I saw a Washington Post article that performed greater analysis and avoided logical fallacy that said that people not educated by the university (not because they are white) were the force behind Trump’s surprise victory. These are people who have suffered over trade treaties that only benefit the oligarchy. These are people who cherish traditional values and don’t adhere to liberal elitism.

I felt that Clinton was as bad or worse than Trump in the racism category. Her divulged emails revealed derogatory attitudes toward Latino fundraisers (and the media, protecting their darling, scanted the story). She’s had her own history chumming up with David Duke. She hugged an N-word spewing rapper at her rally (would Trump get away with that?). Her support of abortion — in my view — represents a genocide targeting minorities, a eugenics akin to Hitler’s ethnic cleansing. To top it off, her attitude of dictating what minorities should vote and support hearkens back to the white plantation owner paternalisticly condescending to his slaves. How dare she impose her views on minorities? How dare the Huffington Post despise and insult its own readership? How dare my beloved friends simplify such a complicated picture? How dare they front the white-spawned narrative: Trump is racist, Clinton, the solution to racism.

I posted on Twitter and Facebook the alternative narrative. We, the voters, sent the true racist, Clinton, packing. Now all we needed to do was continue to stamp out any vestige of racism. I’m passionate about fighting racism.

But the liberal narrative is pocked with its own guilt, fallacies, self-righteousness smugness, corruption and self service. I wanted to fight fire with fire. One friend thought I got hacked. Another was alarmed by my tenor of outrage. One more worried I had joined ranks with the cavemen.

What is the answer to racism? So far, I have taken the non-confrontational approach to try to educate white friends in whom I stumble upon racism — to my shock. Others may think that stronger means are needed. I cannot say what will be the answer, but I know that it is NOT the Left badgering disenfranchised non-elitists with its holier-than-thou sanctimonious snobbery.

My hunch is that it will be coming together, not splintering apart. I applaud Obama — whose policies I largely do not applaud — for admonishing the nation to get behind Trump and work toward a common good, a common solution. Everyone needs to overcome racism and to actively fight it. There is no place for it in our nation anymore.

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Unselfishness wins

barca

Unity won the day for Barca.

Barcelona left eternal rivals Real Madrid in shreds Saturday 4-0 in a game that showed that individual prowess doesn’t win games.

The Catalans have not one but three superstars. And those three — Neymar, Messi and Luis Suarez — share the goals unselfishly.

Usually teams are built around and for one superstar who won’t stand for competition on his own team. (Kobe Bryant infamously ran Shaquille O’Neal off the Lakers years ago.)

suarez

Luis Suarez scored two and made assists.

Barca works because it works like a team.

Not Real Madrid. Marcello took a shot when his best option was to pass. The ball went wide, and his teammates got mad. He sought individual glory but brought collective disgrace.

By contrast, Brazillian magician Neymar shared as many balls as he fired. And Suarez, who pretty much defines goal-making precision, foots off as many or more killer assists. Messi, recovering from injury, came on as a late substitute and set up the fourth goal with a pass that would have made a brain surgeon taken note for its precision.

lionell messi and iniesta

No rivalry between players. Messi left and midfielder Andres Iniesta

The Bible says: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. If you want passes to you, then follow the Golden Rule. That’s what Barca did, and today the followers of the Golden Rule are the Golden Boys of soccer.

Note: I don’t own the rights to these images, and I’m not making any money on them.

Don’t ya just love infighting?

infightingThe toughest trial for Job is when his friends turned on him. They accused him of some unconfessed sin, based alone on the evidence of the “curse of God” falling on him. He defends his integrity. It is the only thing he has left. But eventually, they drive him over the edge. He challenges God. When God shows up, it’s not pretty for Job. But it’s not any prettier for Job’s friends.

Too often the church looks like Job’s friends. Instead of encouraging they guy who’s down, the kick dirt on him.

Instead of joining forces to fight a common enemy (the devil), we fight each other.

Piano movers and piano players

Tex and Luis, after the blow to the nose.

A complete soccer team has its burly bruisers and its exquisite finesse players who can deliver a ball directly to the feet of a goal-scorer through a forest of opponents.

So Tex smashed Luis at high school practice today so hard that his nose bled out of both nostrils. I had to remind him to take out competitors, not teammates. Of course he did it unconsciously; without thinking the football player manifests.

A good soccer team is like the church. Everybody’s talents compliment and complete ministry in the church. No one’s is superior, nor inferior. We need people. Reaching out over the blogosphere is fabulous, but sometimes you need flesh and blood right nearby. I have prayed for other bloggers, but sometimes I need a church member to fix my washer. It is the combined effort that wins games.

It is the combination of so many different people that makes the church triumph over Satan. Surely, the church is guilty of so many crimes (judging others, drama, for example). I don’t like its ugly moments, but there’s nothing to take its place. Church is like marriage: detractors abound, but nothing better has every replaced it.

Carrying the Ark of the Covenant

Photo thanks to Still Small Voices

You didn’t carry the Ark of the Covenant in your backpack. Made of pure gold, it was too heavy. A symbol of the presence of God, the Ark had to be carried by a group of men.

So it is today. The presence of God is carried by a group of people, the assembling of a people in plural. But today, there are too many Christians who want to carry God’s presence all alone. Wrongly extrapolating our individual salvation, they have separated and isolated themselves from other imperfect people — and they think they are right to do so. But the Ark of the Covenant was carried by various — not just one.

In spite of all its imperfections, the church continues to be God’s institution, a manifestation of His presence. Yes, you can be saved and NOT go to church, but you’re missing out on support, mutual encouragement, others’ giftings — and a better life. Drop the church-bashing. Something powerful happens when we worship God while belonging to a body of believers.

A tale of two brothers

Adolf and Rudolf Dassler inherited shoe-making from their dad, but they didn’t inherit love for each other. Adolf broke off their partnership and founded Addidas, while Rudolf founded Puma — both in the same German town of Herzogenaurach.

A rare photo where both brothers, left and middle, appear together

Their intense sibling rivalry led to unprecedented shoe wars waged through stepped-up bidding battles for the hottest athletes. In an attempt to stave off the spiraling sponsorship costs, both made a pact to not pursue Brazilian soccer genius Pele.

Pele led the Brazilians to World Cup glory in 1970

But Rudolf betrayed it. He paid $120,000 for Pele in the 1970 World Cup to ask the ref to not whistle the beginning so that he could tie his shoes. As worldwide television looked on at the cause of the delay, Puma won a publicity coup without parallel.

His brother never forgave him. The two are even buried in the farthest opposing extremities of the town cemetery.

Can’t we get along??? Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven — Matt. 18:19 NIV. We ought to get along at least enough to pray together.

The Dassler brothers only tamed their family war with the appearance of Nike, which blindsided them and stole huge shares of the athletics market. Only when the devil shows up, will we get along?

Concentrating a force

A helmet works by a physic’s principle called distributing a force. The hit is spread out over the plastic shell so that it doesn’t affect one place of the cranium directly.

Pushing a thumb tack in is the opposite. This is called concentrating a force. Your finger applies pressure over a wide surface that is concentrated into the pin and even more into the tip. So it slides into the corkboard and not your finger.

When we all come together to pray, it is concentrating a force. When we rally behind a needy brother, we distributing a blow. Some think there’s no longer any need for the church. They are missing out on the power of unity.

Don’t be a chicken

When I was a missionary in Guatemala, one day at an open-air market I saw two live chickens tied to each other by some twine. I asked the lady why they weren’t tied to a stake, or a rock, or in a covered basket. Couldn’t they just run away?

Her answer surprised me. No, they never run away. Even though there was essentially nothing to keep them from making a break for freedom, they never run in the same direction. They always pull at each other and thus never venture far. If they would run in the same direction, they could avoid becoming Kentucky Fried. But no. There’s a reason why “bird brain” is an insult.

Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. — Mark 18:19 NIV. If only we could unite and agree in prayer, how much more impact we would have! But many times, we are like those chickens, pulling in opposing directions, not able to even get two of us on the same wavelength in prayer. Only two.

The individual prayer is important. But so is praying together with other saints in agreement. Let us strive for unity — in our prayers.

Teams, not individuals, win

Fernando Torres, winner of the Golden Boot

Spain showcased masterclass soccer yesterday to beat Italy 4-0 and become the first nation to win three major titles consecutively: Euro Cup, World Cup, Euro Cup. And it did so without a clash of egos.

By contrast, Netherlands melted down in group stage and fell well short of expectations. Arjen Robben ripped his jersey off and stormed out of the stadium  because he was upset over being substituted by the coach. The rifts were evident.

Unity leads to victory

Spain demonstrated how to win. Top-notch players weren’t selfish, setting up goals for others instead of taking it themselves. Fernando Torres humbly hooked a pass to a comrade on a shot he could have easily made himself. It was the last goal of Cup. Such selflessness could have cost him the Golden Boot award.

This team triumph is a lesson for the church. Our culture tells us that individuals get the victory (Superman, Rambo and a host of movies promote this myth). But the Bible tells us it is His church, a collection of people, that will prevail. I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. — Mt. 16:18 NIV.

To achieve this utterly crucial unity (see Acts for examples of unity = revival), there is a need for humility, always out of vogue with the flesh. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. — Lu. 14:11 NIV. Robben should learn from the Bible.