I have thought of him everyday since I first heard the news and saw his face.
I have read a dozen news articles (here’s one from Newsweek), run across scores of blog entries (thank you elderJ and Anthony Bradley), heard a couple of sermons even (thanks DJ), and seen more than my share of videos on YouTube of him. I have wept, prayed, shuddered, become more resolute, let the moments fade and yet this mourning is not fully lifted.
I don’t have much new to say, except that I linger here because his face is so familiar to me, the narrative of his life so tangible to me, and that loneliness and even some of the rejection he faced is not so far from me.
Interestingly enough, in DJ’s last post, “Takedown Power of Racism”, there is an audio snippet of a conversation we had over BBQ and sweet tea in the heart of Loganville, where “David 2”, a Caucasian, said pointblank when he first heard of the shootings, he thought it had to be “a white guy” because “that’s just what white guys do.”
Somehow the thought snuck into my mind that if we as Asian Americans “do white” better than whites (economically and academically), would we take on their sociopathology as well? Where out of our cultural DNA is this coming? And don’t say “sin” — that’s too easy. Sin has roots. There are varieties and permutations of sin. There is a history and physical to each sin. Where is ours coming from? What is the particular DNA of our Asian American expressions of sin?
I see Asian American churches as potential centers of healing and reconciliation for those historical and cultural “roots of sin”, and yet so many times, our churches stay silent on those subjects, as though teaching about sin in general will fix the problem. Which is all the more amazing that Jesus would ask the blind beggar, “What do you want me to do for you?” At first reading, I thought, “Isn’t it obvious?” and I heard the Spirit whisper back, “Is it?”
I mourn because it is too late for some, but there is hope. Lord, I want to hear my own heartbeat again.