justice and mercy

Conversations about doing right by people

Until All the Bad Guys are Gone

  Thomas Jefferson. Robert E. Lee.  Thomas Yawkey.   They have all been in the news this last week.  Jefferson, the slave owner. Yawkey, the Red Sox baseball owner who adamantly resisted integration.  Lee, a general in the Confederate army.  Racists. Bad guys.   The proposed removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee was …

WWJD: Who Would Jesus Deport?

  I was never a big fan of the WWJD phenomenon.  You know, the one that had people sporting bracelets and bumper stickers and socks and hats with WWJD emblazoned on them.  What Would Jesus Do? WWJD?  Now I love Jesus, trust him completely, and seek to follow his way and wisdom.  It was the …

Philando Castile and the Things We White People Say

  A police revolver rings out.  Several times.  Another black man in America bleeds out.  Most all agree that these killings are a terrible tragedy.  And we–my white brothers and sisters and I–wanting to be helpful, offer our counsel.  These deaths could be prevented.  The story can end up differently. If only the black man …

Those Lazy Mexicans

  It was a conversation about a storm…that created a storm.  “Hey, Roger, did you hear about that storm Saturday?”  Well, no.  We were out of town.  “You should have seen it.  There were limbs down everywhere.  There was a big one down the street.  Those lazy Mexicans didn’t even bother to clean it up.” …

When the Game is Stacked Against You. Part 2

[It will help to have read the post “When the Game is Stacked Against You” before reading this post.] It’s probably happened to you. You are playing a game where another player gets all the good cards. Every time it looks like you’ve got a little chance to get back in the game, that player …

When the Game is Stacked Against You

I had been looking forward to this game night for days. A friend and I were pulling out the classic Agricola game for a couple of hours of great fun. At the beginning of the game, you are dealt a number of cards, each of which will give you a particular ability or benefit or …

Crimes of Desperation

One of the more fascinating prayers recorded in the Bible is voiced by a man named Agur, whose prayer is one of the “Proverbs.” He writes: “Two things I ask of you, Lord; do not refuse me before I die: Keep falsehood and lies far from me; give me neither poverty nor riches, but give …

Dear Police Officer

Dear Police Officer, My name is Roger. I am a white 54-year old living with my wife, Joy, in Huntsville, AL. I am a pastor, and I sell stuff online. I have four children and seven grandchildren. A few months back, I was pulled over by a police officer. He gave me a ticket for …

Valentines that Never Came

Janis Ian’s 1975 song, “At Seventeen,” still runs through my head sometimes   “To those of us who knew the pain Of valentines that never came, And those whose names were never called When choosing sides for basketball. It was long ago and far away; The world was younger than today, And dreams were all …

Lance Armstrong: Monster or Hero?

The courtroom is America.  The defendant is Lance Armstrong.  The question: Is Lance Armstrong a monster or a hero?  Let the discussion begin.   Sitting on one side of the courtroom, we have the “monster” Armstrong apologists. This sizable group unloads reams of evidence with passion.   * He defamed people, calling them—or framing them …