Law, Grace, Ferguson and The West Wing

I can’t imagine what it was like to be on the grand jury that dealt with the question of Darren Wilson’s guilt or innocence. So much to take in, so much to weigh and so much to be responsible for in the days, months and years to come. Michael Brown’s family and their sense of loss, rage and victimization. The Wilson family and their friends who know him as colleague, husband, neighbor and son. You sit there not as a legal expert or analyst. You’re just another neighbor, wife, uncle, cousin, business owner. Maybe you feel like a sinner. Maybe a saint. Probably both.

Michael Brown’s parents through this process have been absolutely remarkable and inspiring. They have called on people to focus on the the fragility of life, community and society and to be careful and full of care in the wake of a verdict that must be unimaginably painful. President Obama also had great words to say. Miroslav Volf says that when we’re in a hurting, sinful or broken place we’re often quick to, “exclude our enemy from the table of humanity and ourselves from the fellowship of sinners.”

Race, oppression, systemic injustice, fear, insecurity and anger. That’s a lot. Jesus’s injunction to not throw stones is a good one. It might be good to let the dust clear so that after the trauma we can really look at how prejudicial the system is for those outside the privileged class, as well as consider how gun laws, income inequality, family breakdown and a host of other issues place what feels like a strangle hold on our entire culture. Then maybe a new gracious and tenacious protest movement might arise. One rooted in amnesty for all through the kind of one way love that comes through the action of God in Christ. He didn’t just refuse to throw stones, he subjected himself to judgment, humiliation and execution for his enemies to open up knew possibilities for abundant life for oppressed and oppressor, victim and victimizer.

Maybe we need a little more President Santos…