I won’t be able to go for long. My guess is that I’ll be gone just 24 or 36 hours.
I don’t expect to do anything exciting. In fact, I suspect it will be quite boring. I anticipate just walking around, holding my hands in the air, and trying to be as nice as possible to everyone I meet. More than anything else, I want to pray quietly and seek the image of Christ in everyone there – in the protestors, the media, and the police.
My primary reasons for going are not grandiose, and they are certainly not profound.
For one thing, I am white. By giving attention and presence to what is happening in Ferguson, white people can declare that working through what the pain there represents is important not just for black people, but for the future of the nation as a whole.
Also, I identify myself as a Christian. Jesus calls me to seek his presence among those who are vulnerable and bruised in both body and spirit. Over the last week and a half, I have gained the sense that this is a small way I can obey the command of Christ.
Third, I live only four hours away. I have driven that far to visit girlfriends or go to sporting events. It seems to me strange not to be willing to do so for something like this.
Finally, if all goes (reasonably) well, I would like to return home, encourage other people (especially white people) to go, and then return myself at some point in the near future. I believe that examining and then improving the racial, political, and economic issues underneath the intensity seen in Ferguson are critical for our future. I also believe we Americans are great at surfing the news cycle, moving on to the next thing, and forgetting what just happened. In fact, I tend to think we are encouraged to do just that. For the examination to happen and for the forgetting to be avoided, people are going to need to be out there walking around day after day giving their time. This is simply me pitching a little something into that collection plate.
See. Not profound. Not exciting. But, that’s my plan. It’s on my calendar. I’ll see what happens. I appreciate your prayers, not so much for me but for the community of Ferguson and for all the communities like it across the United States. If you are heading that way at about the same time, give me a shout.