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Others and Brothers and Scapegoats, Oh My!

July 14, 2013

Even if I knew enough about the minutia of the Zimmerman trial to comment on the recent result, the accuracy of the verdict (or lack thereof) happens to not be the real problem at all. Just as he did with Cain and Abel, Satan is still setting brother against brother. We’ve bought into the narrative of the “other.” It doesn’t really matter if Zimmerman is white or hispanic. He could be left-handed or a Scientologist and the “other” narrative would still shake us to our sinful, fearful, hateful bones. The narrative is simply this: The “other” is our enemy and out to get us. To my shame, I buy into this when I walk by a black man downtown at night. To their shame, thousands have bought into it since the recent verdict as they hurl vengeful indictments upon Zimmerman.

Guilty or not, Zimmerman has become the scapegoat for a culture that wants desperately to be rid of its very real and very present racism. The justice system failed to give us our scapegoat and now we are out for blood.

But bloody reprisal only brings more bloody reprisal until it’s washed away in the cleansing blood of Christ, the Once for All Scapegoat. In Zimmerman, America wants a scapegoat without Christ, but that just doesn’t work anymore. All our vengeance, all our hate, all our fear was laid on Him. Christ became the “other” for us and He did so willingly to so that we might see the “other” as our brother.

You and your biological brother may live on different sides of town or in different states, but you make a point to see him. Being a brother to your “other” doesn’t mean co-existing and sometimes sitting next to each other on the bus or only talking to him when you argue politics on opposite sides of a heated debate. Being a brother means seeking the peace of this unknown person, it means getting to know your black aquaintence, your white acquaintance, your asian acquaintance. It means being Christ to whomever you proudly deem as the worst of sinners, remembering that Christ pulled your from an awfully nasty pit yourself. It means frank, lively, and joyful debate with the left-wing nutjob, the right-wing crazy, and the libertarian lunatic. It means exploring the culture of your friends who have held on to their ethnic and regional heritages while sharing your own with them. Ultimately, it means actively seeking to erase the “otherness” by rejoicing in the variety that spilled forth into creation from our Triune God.

So what of the verdict? Regardless of your take on it, it’s over and done with. To continue with the divisiveness is to quench the Holy Spirit. The bread and the wine that we eat? That knits us together. Don’t be like the Corinthians and don’t be like the Galatians. If you think Zimmerman was a murderous racist, prove it by striving for unity in the diversity of the Church. If you think Zimmerman was defending himself, prove it by striving for unity in the diversity of the Church. Because all are one in Christ Jesus and the Church leads the charge.

The world will catch up. Eventually.

One Comment leave one →
  1. June 4, 2014 6:25 PM

    Hi. You don’t seem to have other contact info… so I’m leaving a comment.
    If you happen to (still?) be a Reformed Protestant (Presbyterian) and an anarchist, I’d be happy to make your acquaintance.

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