9.27.2017

On One Knee



Trump vs. protesting NFL players has been top of the list, even in a crowded media cycle.  And why not?  Football is under trial already, Trump is a lightning rod, and any time you are talking about patriotism AND racism you’re going to generate a lot of heat.

If I may talk about this issue without actually talking about the issue itself, here is yet another instance that demonstrates how much we desire to be heard yet how little we seek to truly understand the perspectives of others.  I know people who care deeply about police brutality, racism in modern America, and the treatment of people of color in this country, for whom it is grossly ignorant, revisionist, and offensive to consider respectful protests as unpatriotic and ungrateful.  I also know people for whom not honoring flag and country by standing for the national anthem is unthinkable, an absolute non-starter irrespective of circumstance or motivation.

As I have described it, it seems impossible for either side to consider, let alone come to agree with, the other side.  And so opinions, the rightness of our own and the wrongness of the other, harden.

The irony of this particular issue is that it is about taking a knee.  Colin Kaepernick is a devout Christian, as are many who have supported and joined him in his protests.  Many who insist that we stand for the national anthem are also devout Christians, whose faith informs such an insistence.  Both sides should understand that kneeling is a physical posture that represents a spiritual humbling.  We are weak, needy, empty, and unworthy.  We bow before a mighty and glorious God. 

No one who purports to the Christian faith would dispute that that is what taking a knee means.  If we are willing to come before a holy God with such humility, let us practice such humility with each other as well. 

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