I wondered why I had never really heard about this “bothersome” widow; she had never been held up to me as someone to emulate. Perhaps this omission is connected to the widow’s pursuit for justice and our own discomfort with people who demand justice, who insist on it unrelentingly.

The remarkable thing about this parable is that it’s supposed to be about praying and not losing heart. And the example we get is the “in your face” widow who wants justice against her opponent. Maybe this is a good example of Ora et Labora. We pray, yes, but we also work. We do. We dismantle. We work to change the conditions of this world.

How should we respond to Ferguson and to the many places in our country and world that resemble it? We pray. But we also have a lot of work to do.

By saying, “I’m sad about this too but…” you are saying that there is really an ending to this sentence than rectify the a mother losing a child.

By saying, “Let’s see what the autopsy says” you are saying, “I need a white doctor to tell me what really happened because I’m not going to believe the eye witness accounts of a bunch of black kids.

By posing a hypothetical scenario about a white victim who was also been shot without cause, you are just confused.

By saying, “It’s a lot better these days than it used to be” you are not acknowledging the current pain that racism causes.

By blaming the victim, you are- well, blaming a victim.

By saying, “This discussion doesn’t really apply to me,” you are saying black people are not as human as you.

Who is evangelicalism’s neighbor? Is Michael Brown? How about Kimani Gray, Kendrec McDade, Amadou Diallo, Ousmane Zongo, Timothy Stansbury, Jr., Sean Bell, Orlando Barlow, Aaron Campbell, Ronald Madison and James Brissette, or Oscar Grant? Or let’s just take the unarmed persons shot and killed in the month of August: Eric Garner, John Crawford, Ezell Ford and Dante Parker. Has evangelicalism recognized these men as neighbors? Does it recognize that their being made in the image of God requires the protection of their lives and the expression of our neighborly love? An evangelicalism that does not know its neighbor is a dead evangelicalism, an unjustified evangelicalism.

  1. A lot of items that look like taxes are just extra charges from your phone company

Chicago politicians are not the only ones who figure they can sneak an extra charge into your bill without you noticing. Your phone company probably does the same thing. Marc-David Seidel is a business professor at the University of British Columbia and the co-founder of a site dedicated to making sense of phone bills.

He says the heading “taxes and fees” on your bill should be a giveaway. 

"The fact that it’s grouped together called taxes and fees, instead of just taxes, is a really high signal that there’s other stuff in there that’s actually not mandated," he says. "It’s just a company-specific fee."

Every company charges a different mix, he says, and they change all the time. If you really want to know what you’re paying— and why— he recommends looking for a consumer-advocate office in your state.

My family lives in Harlem. My wife did not call the police. An older head told the angry boys that they needed to take it somewhere else, which they did. Black people are not above calling the police—but often we do so fully understanding that we are introducing an element that is unaccountable to us. We introduce the police into our communities, the way you might introduce a predator into the food chain. This is not the singular, special fault of the police. The police are but the tip of the sword wielded by American society itself. Something bigger than Stand Your Ground, the drug war, mass incarceration or any other policy is haunting us. And as long we cower from it, the events of this week are as certain as math. The question is not “if,” but “when.”

The last sentence here nullifies the first. Some 600,000 Americans—2.5 percent of the American population—died in the Civil War. What came before this was a long bloody war—enslavement—against black families, black communities and black bodies. What came after was a terrorist regime which ruled an entire swath of this country by fire and rope. That regime was not overthrown until an era well within the living memory of many Americans. Taken all together, the body count that led us to our present tenuous democratic moment does not elevate us above the community of nations, but installs us uncomfortably within its ranks. And that is terrifying because it shows us to be neither providential nor exceptional, and only special in the subjective sense that our families are special—because they are ours.

We are being told that Michael Brown attacked an armed man and tried to take his gun. The people who are telling us this hail from that universe where choke-holds are warm-fuzzies, where boys discard their skittles yelling, “You’re gonna die tonight,” and possess the power to summon and banish shotguns from the ether. These are the necessary myths of our country, and without them we are subject to the awful specter of history, and that is just too much for us to bear.

Among the many relevant facts for any African-American negotiating their relationship with the police the following stands out: The police departments of America are endowed by the state with dominion over your body. I came home at the end of this summer to find that dominion had been. This summer in Ferguson and Staten Island we have seen that dominion employed to the maximum ends—destruction of the body. This is neither new nor extraordinary. It does not matter if the destruction of your body was an overreaction. It does not matter if the destruction of your body resulted from a misunderstanding. It does not matter if the destruction of your body springs from foolish policy. Sell cigarettes without proper authority and your body can be destroyed. Resent the people trying to entrap your body and it can be be destroyed. Protect the home of your mother and your body can be destroyed. Visit the home of your young daughter and your body will be destroyed. The destroyers of your body will rarely be held accountable. Mostly they will receive pensions. 

It will not do to point out the rarity of the destruction of your body by the people whom you pay to protect it. As Gene Demby has noted, destruction is merely the superlative form of a dominion whose prerogatives include friskings, detainings, beatings, and humiliations. All of this is common to black people. All of this is old for black people. No one is held accountable. The body of Michael Brown was left in the middle of the street for four hours. It can not be expected that anyone will be held accountable.

I am complicit. And so are you my white brothers and sisters. 

So perhaps instead of speaking for white supremacy we should start listening. Listen to Black Americans who we long to call our brothers and sisters but whose voices we have ignored for most of our lives. Listen to their cries. Listen to their rage. Listen to their demands for justice.

Don’t demand that they conform to your own standards of civility and respectability.

Because White America has been anything but civil and respectable. And it seems hypocritical, doesn’t it, to demand civility when our state has been so uncivil, when it has gassed, murdered, and jailed Black people?

So Listen! Just like Jesus always tells his disciples. Listen. If you have the ears to hear.

Listen and be transformed. You might just hear, O privileged white Christian, for the first time in your life, the voice of Christ.

I am scratching my head over how it is humanly possible to be as clueless as the St. Louis County and Ferguson police departments. To make one mistake is understandable but to have EVERYTHING you do be a complete fuck up is astounding.

1.    Officer kills an unarmed black teen in the street.

2.    Officer who kills the teenager requests assistance but does not inform his commanders of what happened. Instead, they learn it on the news like everyone else.

3.    The scene is left in the hands of the officer’s own colleagues who allow the officer to leave the scene of the crime. His vehicle is also allowed to leave the scene – presumably breaking the integrity of the chain of evidence.

4.    Victim is left lying in the road for four hours – inflaming the community and presumably destroying evidence.

5.    Witnesses say that the killing officer never bothered to check for a pulse once his victim went down. None of the other officers arriving on the scene checked for a pulse. Bystanders in the medical field were not allowed to attempt CPR.

6.    Rumor has it that the cellphones of possible witnesses were confiscated.

7.    Police launch campaign to protect the officer at all costs - including the destruction of the community of Ferguson.

8.    Police launch a full military invasion of the traumatized town of Ferguson.

9.    Police caught on international TV screaming “Bring it! Bring it you fucking animals!”

10.    The response to a community protesting police brutality is the imposition of ‘martial law’ complete with authoritarianism, tear gas, rubber bullets, flash grenades and sound grenades.

11.    Police throw the Constitution out the window and arrest, assault and teargas journalists.

12.    Police arrest a well-known public figure for the “crime” of “failing to listen”.

13.    Chief of Police praises his officers for showing incredible restraint.

14.    After days of shocking behavior that caught the attention of the world, police finally release Killer Cop’s name - while concurrently launching a smear campaign against his victim. This decision to reignite the fuse of the powder keg is not run up the chain of command - despite pledges from the Governor that there is a new Sheriff in town.

15.    Chief of Police specifically says that he is not interested in talking to the community he has been victimizing.

16.    Chief of Police holds multiple press conferences in which he contradicts himself repeatedly.

17.    Chief of Police makes a statement PRAISING the Killer Cop while concurrently smearing the dead teenaged victim at the center of the nation’s outrage: ”He was a gentle, quiet man,” Police Chief Thomas Jackson said Friday, referring to Wilson. “He was a distinguished officer. He was a gentleman. … He is, he has been, an excellent officer.”