justice and mercy

Conversations about doing right by people

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 …

Tears for Newtown

December 14 was going to be just another Friday…until someone called: “Are you following the story on the news? A school in Connecticut.  Is your family o.k.?”  A few minutes later, my wife and I sat in stunned silence, watching a strange, unbelievable kind of story unfold on the television news.  I was at the …

The Unforgettable Junior Seau

I almost cried.  I opened my laptop and toggled over to espn.com to get my quick sports update fix.  And that’s when I saw it.  A picture of Junior Seau below which were two dates and a dash (1969-2012).  Obviously, two dates and a dash is bad news.  I was stunned. Scanning the headline and …