The South Will Rise Again

I want to talk about our history.

On September 25, 1919, the Omaha Bee accused a black man named Will Brown of assaulting “pretty little Anges Loebeck” while she walked home. A few days later, a mob of over 5,000 people assembled outside the jail and demanded the jailers release him to “lynch law.”

When the jailers refused, the mob set the jail on fire and eventually pulled him from the flames, only to knock him unconscious and burn him. He was eventually killed by bullets and rope and burning gas and his body dragged through the streets. Later, pieces of the rope were sold for ten cents each as souvenirs.

For all the talk of honoring our heritage as southerners, I think we should take a moment to remember that story. Even though this story happened in Omaha, the South had more of the same.

96 years later, On June 17, 2015 a white man walked into a bible study, sat there for an hour, and then opened fire. He killed nine black people, each in turn, while breathing hatred for their race. His objective: start a war. He wanted the South to rise again.

But the response was different. This man was neither celebrated nor ignored. His actions were rightly called an act of racial terrorism. But instead of a mob, we are learning to mourn together and instead of lynching we have due process which will end in a conviction and, in some small measure, justice. This is the only way forward. Today, we live in a world where the mob (sometimes) cries for peace.

The South has long been the epicenter of racial tension. Those who came before us participated in violent crimes against people simply because of the color of their skin. We sank to depths of depraved violence and cultural affirmation of racism currently incomprehensible to most Americans.

And through all the violence, the way forward has always been by way of peace. The Civil Rights movement taught us this. I am so very proud of my state and city for responding without looting or further acts of violence and with a heart of unity.

So yes, let’s remember our history. How we lynched people for crimes they were not convicted of and allowed the mob to dictate justice. Let’s remember the children who bought ten cent ropes as souvenirs for a crime, not by fault of their own but because of the sins of their parents. Let’s remember how we as a society systematically oppressed our neighbors in the name of Christianity, rather than love them like Jesus would. And let’s be honest that the same issues that existed then continue in varied form today.

With that basis of honesty, I am optimistic. You see, I believe that out of these depths, the South will rise again. Yes, we will rise to love our neighbor as ourselves. We will rise to end discrimination. We will rise to equal opportunities for education, justice, and freedom for all. We will rise to remove a flag that symbolizes the ongoing struggle for justice in our nation. Because we know our history and the way forward is unity.

Years ago, old men would sit by a campfire and mutter: “the South will rise again” as they anticipated southern resurgence. I can only imagine their surprise to see the South rise again – in love.

 

P.S. Astute readers of the scripture will notice that this trajectory is a re-telling of the gospel of Jesus, who was himself murdered by a mob for a crime he didn’t commit and rose again to create freedom for a people oppressed, not by cultural domination but by instituting a new Kingdom of love, grace and justice.

Photo by Jen

Christmas Yourself

I love getting packages in the mail. For me, it’s all about the drama. You buy something from Amazon, and they send you an email: “it’s shipped.” Wait a day and you’ll see that it’s “out for delivery”. And a short 48 hours after you paid, a smiling lady walks up to the door with a box and rings the doorbell.

This is how I starting Christmasing myself.

I took $100 and decided to do something nice for myself. I like books, so I bought a bunch. 15, I think. No special occasion, no reason, just wanted some books and decided to go a little overboard for the fun of it. Books by dead people…Mother Theresa, Plato, Henry Ford.

As it turns out, the good people at Amazon decided to send my packages via Fedex, UPS, and USPS. I spent yesterday with package deliverers lined up, waiting to drop off books.

And it was amazing. So much fun to rip open the boxes and look at the books and think about reading them. On my “love language” test, I don’t think I score very high for gifts. BUT I LOVED IT. Simple, cost $100, and great.

The Rules
The rules of Christmasing yourself are simple. No more than $100 and make sure to get lots of little things. Maybe even space them out on shipping so you don’t get everything all at once. And only once per year. Any more and it’s gluttony. 😉

The Challenge
The challenge I’m giving myself now is…how can I Christmas someone else? No reason, no particular timing. But the Bible gives Christians the motivation and the prompting to love others…sometimes…by Christmasing them.

Buying a House

I’m in the process of buying a house. The options are enough to make you go crazy. 3 bedrooms. 2 baths. Oh wait that’s 1.5 baths. 1200 square feet. Big lot. Small lot. Is there hardwood or is that laminate? What about the crime rate? I think someone’s car was stolen in that area.

I can afford $110k right? But $125k houses look like a lot better value and it’s only like $75/month more. Can I afford $75/month?

What is my credit score? What IS a credit score?

Then there are “fixer upper” options. They’re $80k but need $25k+ of work. Can I get a loan for that? With the allure of thousands of dollars in profit over the course of a few years, a few (hundred) hours of sweat equity seems worth it.

Yesterday I was talking to Rusty at work and his advice was helpful. Continue reading “Buying a House”

Farewell to 8BIT

Two years ago, I spent a year working with 8BIT that reshaped most of what I think about work. Something about the “work hard, play hard” mentality just made sense. At the end of my internship, John wrote a post called “Farewell to Batman” that hurt like hell to read. I was leaving good friends who spoke into my life like brothers. Still do.

This morning, 8BIT announced that they are closing their digital doors. So, John, Dewde, Tom, Jared…This is my farewell to 8BIT.

You guys as a team taught me a ton. Without your influence, I’d almost certainly have to wear shoes instead of flip flops to work today. And my job would be buried within some horrible corporate structure with the idea to climb that ladder until I got to the top, got bored, or died. Here are 10 things I learned from 8BIT: Continue reading “Farewell to 8BIT”

Why I’m leaving Instagram

470.

That’s how many photos I’ve posted to Instagram since October 16th, 2011.

Back in 2011, Instagram was a bit of a free-for-all of social networking. Doubters said that it was senseless to post pictures of food and believers insisted that the network had value. The first 4 pictures I posted didn’t get a single “like.” Bah. Value indeed.

But after a few pictures, I “got it.” Instagram is about picking out the best moments of your life, and showing them to the world. Then friends double tap their screen to affirm that you are…in fact…really dang fun.

Continue reading “Why I’m leaving Instagram”