Sybrina’s Son, My Son, and All of Our Responsibility

I have been writing this post in my head for over a year now, but I wanted to wait–for several reasons.   First, I wanted to get my head around my own thoughts such that I might articulate them clearly.  Secondly, I believe in timing, and in expressing yourself in a way that allows people to hear you (assuming they want to listen).   But after reading of the recent acquittal of Jordan Davis’s murderer and reading Pastor Michael Bledsoe’s letter to white Christians, I thought the time might be now.   At minimum, I felt that I could not keep silent any longer.

I also wanted to prayerfully steer clear of the obvious racial division that surrounds these events.   When the case involving Sybrina Fulton’s son,Trayvon Martin, began to gain more of a national following, I quickly observed that the opinions ran right down racial lines.  Most blacks cried foul when they viewed a young man slain for reasons that still are not completely clear, other than the fact that he was thought to be in the “wrong” neighborhood at night.   Most non-blacks sided with the shooter and his right to protect himself from what he perceived as a life-threatening situation.  From my perspective, there is a racial issue here, but it is not the one that many seem to point toward in their arguments for either side.   These cases are about a young black man’s ability to live life with the same liberties as any other American citizen, the same freedoms that we allegedly fight for in other countries.  When I saw the now famous photo of the young hoodie-clad Martin, I saw something else:

  This is my son, Micah, named after God’s prophet.  He loves the Lord.   He loves his family.  He is 15-1/2 years old, and maintains a 3.7 GPA here at home and a 3.0 in his college courses.   He has danced ballet, tap, and jazz since the age of six.   He leads his youth servant group at church, helps feed the hungry, and volunteers at the local library and the cancer center in town.  But I wonder: could he come to your neighborhood?   If so, would he be stared at, or even questioned or challenged because someone decided that he should not be there?   Would his sexual orientation be challenged once someone discovered that he is a ballet dancer?   How hard would he slap your stereotypes in the face because he is not a “thug?”   If his car broke down at night, could he walk through your neighborhood?   Could he knock on your door and ask for help?   Could he go to the nearest convenient store?   Would he be killed for smart-mouthing you in an exchange, or taking the same actions that anyone else might take and walk away?

Almost half the states in America have a stand-your-ground law, which apparently seems to be okay with many Christians–as long as it is not affecting your community.

On this day in black history month, we sadly remember the death of Trayvon Martin, and I finally know what I want to say: God is watching us.   We will account for every word, every action, and every thought we did or did not take.   We need, now moreso than ever, for the body of Christ to be the body of Christ, and to show the world God’s power in shoe leather.   We need to attack all sins, including those of racial discrimination and injustice, with the vehemence in which we point a bony finger at those whose agendas have more dollars and influence behind them.   In the words of Pastor Bledsoe, ‘Where is your conscience?  Where is the little light you promised to shine for Christ?  You have put it beneath a bushel and suffocated it.’



What are you doing with the time He’s given you?

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12 thoughts on “Sybrina’s Son, My Son, and All of Our Responsibility

  1. Amen, Amen and AMEN again! You know that this issue is near and dear to my heart as the mother of 4 African-American young men! Like your son, ours are community leaders, excellent students, God fearing and loving Christians and have hearts of gold. But, all too often, when I lag behind them and just observe how they are dealth with in stores, at parks, or at events I am often reminded of the fact that they are constantly being pre-judged and “categorized” because of nothing more than the fact that God placed their spirits in a vessel that is African-American! We constantly tell and teach the boys that they are spirits first, in the eyes of God. But we, unfortunately, have to prepare them for the fact that, in the eyes of man, they are first young black men. It does not matter to most that they are Eagle Scouts, world travelers, conscientious students or dedicated to serving the Lord. Having to have such conversations, and we do often as we prepare them for life, is truly heart breaking. And it is even more frustrating for any of racially biased attitudes to come from and/or be justified by those who are supposed to be our “brothers and sisters in Christ” regardless of physical hues and characteristics. I will admit, I am FIERCELY protective of the young men that God sent into this earth through me and my husband. And I don’t take kindly to the fact that still, in 2014, some of those who say they believe in and serve the same God that I do are completely fine with holding on to and praciticing a spirit of racial prejudice and division. God is not honored or pleased in that at all.

    1. Meg, I believe this is a part of why we have to stay open to God’s plan, which may or may not happen in this country. Otherwise, we’d look around and be totally dismayed. Right now, we as a family are reading through the book of Numbers, and I realize that the infighting kept the Israelites from advancing as much as the wars against neighboring tribes. I hold on to the end of the Book–we as the people of God win (but man, a battle is being fought!)

  2. This is one of the issues that breaks my heart. Your son could very safely come to my home. However, I wonder about the rest of our community. Sometimes I am not able to even call myself a Christian because of the choices that the Christians around me make. I usually tell people that we are followers of Christ (which is different to me than modern Christianity). I have several friends both White and African American who are raising young African American boys and they worry all of the time for their children’s future. Progress is so very slow! I pray that our world will become less broken. You are a powerful writer friend.
    Blessings, Dawn

    1. And you have been more of an inspiration than you know, Dawn. Your reasoning for sometimes not calling yourself Christian is how I feel about associating myself with the term ‘conservative,’ though many of my views are conservative. Yet, there are some aspects of that label that I RUN from, as it seems anything BUT Christ-like to me. In spite of what we see, our task–a hard task, though it is–is to walk by faith and not by sight. Don’t let anyone snuff out your light, dear friend.

  3. You are a good writer. You are able to write what many think and feel but are unable to articulate. Powerful images as well. Keeping the conversation going is essential to change.

    1. Sherri, your visits always bless me. I tell you what–our son had on a different hoodie (he wears them often) right after the death of Trayvon Martin, and I had to hold back tears. ‘Keeping the conversation going is essential to change.’ May it be as you say, friend. Write me offline; I’d love to hear about your girl’s college decisions.

  4. This is sad that your husband can finally slow down and read this post. When I’m on the road! I really love this post. I agree with all of the points above. When I look at his picture, there are parts of me that want him to see the world quickly and parts of me that wonders how the world will treat him. I guess this is one those “trust God” moments when I read your post.

    As I voted in our primary, I too struggled to define myself a true conservative in the midst of a Stand Your Ground atmosphere and other so-called good Christian attitudes.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Love you!!!

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