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September 1, 2017, 12:00 AM

My Two Cents

In a way we hated to do it. We carry no natural animosity toward ground wasps. In most circumstances we would wish them no harm as they go about their business in the circle of life. But these guys were mean. And when they built their nest underneath the clay planter right next to our patio, and took to stinging anyone who was nearby, something had to be done.

So, one evening at about dusk I covered myself in fabric, aimed the can of Raid toward the center of the nest and, from about six feet away, pushed the button. A cascade of spray arced across the evening sky and poured into the center of the nest.

Those drowsy ground wasps who had all been just about to fall asleep for the evening, gathered themselves and streamed out of their nest for one last attack. But their days were numbered. Their anger was no match for the spray that covered their bodies, gummed up their wings and confused their flight pattern. By the time the sun rose the next day the wasps were gone.

In one way, all that happened the other night was that we got rid of a nest of ground wasps that had been terrorizing our back yard. But since this incident happened right around the time of that terrible day in Charlottesville, I just can’t resist the metaphor.

Some might see the Alt Right, Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist attacks on human dignity two Saturdays ago as the actions of a hatred emboldened by leaders who don’t have enough sense to openly condemn bigotry in all of its forms. To a degree Charlottesville was that.

But I wonder if such terrible days might also be viewed as the last, hopeless acts of a sad and angry hive of people who have been forced out of their nest by the reality that their days are numbered. God is pretty clear on this one. No one color, tribe or nation gets to rule the back yard anymore. We all have to figure out how to live together or be rooted out so that our ugly racism is evident for all the world to see.

I don’t mean to suggest that the days of racism are almost over. I do believe that the days of white supremacy are numbered and that God calls us to bear witness to a realm that is on the way, where lion and lamb will, indeed, lie down together. Followers of Jesus who have also been the special beneficiaries of white privilege have a unique opportunity to open our hearts to those who have been marginalized, and stand on the right side of history. We may not always escape un-stung. But our back yard will be better for our courage.

Shalom,

Rick

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