We all have a Platform Par 5+

For the last 65 years of my life I have been a fan of, and a participant in, a variety of athletics and professional activities which require both physical as well as intellectual skills.  I opted, early in my twenties to focus my primary recreational interest on golf.  That has not, however, diminished my interest in learning and growing as an individual from the wider lens that life as a whole provides. One of those points of learning from that wider spectrum took seat in my soul this week, as I read the following Facebook post, highlighted by NBC Online.

nfl - bebl Watson - 10703845_601385006655301_6619085171834653013_nBenjamin Watson

(Lifted directly from NBC’s website—dateline November 27, 2014 8:32 a.m.—http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/michael-brown-shooting/nfl-player-benjamin-watson-reflects-ferguson-viral-facebook-post-n25729their article and Benjamin Watson’s post are presented below)

New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson tackled his conflicting feelings about Ferguson in a Facebook post that has gone viral. The 33-year-old father of four said he was inspired to write down his emotions after a grand jury decided Monday not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown.

As of Thursday morning, Watson’s essay has been shared more than 344,000 times and garnered more than 600,000 “likes” on Facebook. Commentators are hailing him for being both objective and open in a case that has polarized people across the country.

“At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision. After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down. Here are my thoughts:

I’M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.

I’M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away from safety, movie sets and music studios.

I’M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although I’m a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a “threat” to those who don’t know me. So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn the benefit of the doubt.

I’M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.

I’M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations, insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never know the truth about what happened that day.

I’M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn’t there so I don’t know exactly what happened. Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer of the law and killed Michael Brown in self-defense like any of us would in the circumstance. Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to endure. OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a point.

I’M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I’ve seen that are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences of others.

I’M CONFUSED, because I don’t know why it’s so hard to obey a policeman. You will not win!!! And I don’t know why some policeman abuse their power. Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over the populace.

I’M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take “our” side without looking at the facts in situations like these. Sometimes I feel like it’s us against them. Sometimes I’m just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at. And that’s not right. How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but not want assumptions made about me? That’s not right.

I’M HOPELESS, because I’ve lived long enough to expect things like this to continue to happen. I’m not surprised and at some point my little children are going to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.

I’M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our parents and grandparents. I see it in my personal relationships with teammates, friends and mentors. And it’s a beautiful thing.

I’M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately, the problem is not a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem. SIN is the reason we rebel against authority. SIN is the reason we abuse our authority. SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover for our own. SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn. BUT I’M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for sin through his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart and mind—One that’s capable of looking past the outward and seeing what’s truly important in every human being. The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure. It’s the Gospel. So, finally, I’M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind hope.”

 This is one of the most precise, vulnerable, introspective, unbiased, organized assessments of a difficult situation I have ever read and it is highly informative to me. It impressed me that Mr. Watson didn’t preach at me.*  He did, however, by virtue of his approach, escort me to the depths of my soul, to examine my stance on this and other situations I/we face in our society. In addition he provided me with a template of processing criteria—eleven different avenues to my heart—which can lead to conclusions I can live with, by, and for
Are there any morsels of discovery or learning here for you?
*I think this is an excellent nod to—and understanding of— 1 Peter 3:15-16:
“…you must worship Christ as Lord of your life.  And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it.  But do this in a gentle and respectful way.  Keep your conscience clear…” (NLT)

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