from Fergie to Ferguson

by Matt Mooney

Against my better judgment, Ginny convinced me last Monday to sit beside her and watch the American Music Awards.  I begrudgingly complied- mainly due to the fact that I love her and if she invites me to sit close to her, I do it- every time.  I’m a sucker that way, but that doesn’t mean I don’t moan on and on about the drivel that she makes me watch.

Ginny admittedly loves television.  She loves awards shows.  Loves reality tv.  She once made me watch the Bachelor; she seemed happy.  I put my foot down and told her I would start working on cars or building things with my hands- giving her these options to show just how desperate I was to never sit through that again.  She obliged and raised her standards.  I like to think of myself as a writer and a writer can never admit that they spent time staring at a box.  It is so un-creative.  So… Normal.

Nonetheless, writers love love and so I scooted close to her as she led us across channels and straight to the AMA’s.  And there she was……Fergie.  To be fair, I could have picked from a host of other women to write on, but Fergie it is.  And I am serious here.  I was saddened.  I rained on Ginny’s parade with my comments.

“what am I actually going to be able to let my daughter watch?”

 For all the talk of feminism, etc. these days, it seems to me that many women seem merely empowered to be

…..drumroll please……

The very thing that many men want them and beg them to be….toys.  Personifications of their online imaginations.  I know I sound prude-ish.  You’ll be surprised to know, I don’t care.

The very next night it is was me rushing to the tv, inviting Ginny to join, perusing the news shows providing windows into the chaos in the streets of Ferguson upon the announcement of no indictment.

Spoiler alert….I am not black.
I do not pretend to know what it is like to be black.
Though I do want to listen and I do want to learn.

I am white (some might say blindingly so.  I prefer eggshell to describe my shade.)  I do not pretend to know what it is like to be in the shoes of another white person who has had experiences different from mine.  I do not pretend to nor want to represent all white people.

I am not a race expert nor do I think I have much intelligent to say about what I have seen on the news, read in the papers and perused across social media and blogs.

I write to help me understand.  This is my blog.  I am going to write about it- though my mantra from day one has pretty much been that bloggy-types like me should do more shutting up and listening and less of using someone’s death for blog fodder seeking likes, shares and basic adoration.  I’ve grown weary of our reactions- my own included.

So let me preempt you on the following remarks:

  • You don’t understand.
  • You don’t know what you’re talking about.
  • You should shut up.
  • You don’t represent me.

I agree on all accounts.

I want to enter this volatile topic with humility and the understanding that a life has been lost.  A son has been killed.  I take that very seriously.  And I grieve that fact no matter which side of the story is true.

From the outset of this unfolding I have sought an answer for what my faith brings to bear on this story.  That is what matters most to me.  Over and over, I’ve learned to not trust my own instincts but to listen for another voice instead.

What does God think? 
What does God want from me? 
How does He feel about all this?

For me, there is another tantamount question lingering.

How do I talk about this with my children?

Because I have learned that how I explain it to my kids is the best summation of what I truly think.  The un-nuanced, real-deal version.  That’s what the kids get.  Since I won’t be sitting down with our 7-year old to discuss Ferguson (she has serious disabilities for those who might not know).  I am talking about an almost 5-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl (that doesn’t miss anything and has been probing me about Hanukah).

And I don’t know exactly what to tell them.

But I know this.

In what is supposed to be some of the best this world can offer up- on a Monday night award show celebration.
And in what is obviously some of the worst- brought to you live on a Tuesday.

At our best and at our worst:

We are broken.
In need of a savior.
Hurting others in our attempts at peace.
Hurting ourselves in attempts at freedom.

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ (Ephesian 3:17, 18)

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