On my personal Facebook page, I've posted a lot of #BlackLivesMatter stuff, but when the #DallasShootings happened, I felt like I needed to wait to address the death of the officers in Dallas.
Some people in my family are in law enforcement, people whose integrity and competence I respect. I also believe that the law enforcement agencies in this country are largely responsible for the order and peace many of us take for granted. Additionally, Christians are called treat those in power honorably.
However, honor does not mean that critique is out of the question (sometimes even taking the form of a prophetic critique of culture, although balancing prophecy and outright anger is a tricky balance. Sometimes, like Moses, you want to beat the rock in anger instead of speaking to it in faith).
Those in power are held to a higher standard. Police officers have greater authority and power than those they police. If a group of officers misuses and/or abuses their power, then don't be surprised if the entire institution is called into question, for every officer represents the entire institution (just like as a Christian, I represent Christ, and my witness affects how others perceive him and my fellow Christians). We are not just individuals, but we are a part of collectives that we represent.
If a group of people see themselves besieged and abused by those in authority, then it is inevitable that there will be a violent backlash not just against particular abusive officers but the entire institution itself. When the blood of one group of people is spilled and not redressed, then it is only a matter of time before that group reciprocates with the spilling of blood of members of the offending group. This is the world we live in, one with an economy of violence.
This conversation is bigger than one of simply "law and order," for when representatives of a group charged with upholding the law violate the spirit of the law, then don't be surprised if the offended group responds by violating the law itself (I say this in light of those who downplay the shootings of black males but get outraged that a lit powder keg will eventually explode and either hurt those who have been messing with it or innocent bystanders who suffer the consequences of the mistakes of others...the powder keg in this case represents the black community...just FYI...and those who get hurt are the fellow officers of those cops who have participated in the aforementioned shootings of black males).
For the record, the police officers aren't solely to blame. In some ways, they are caught up (and unconscious) of the systemic racism in which they find themselves (we aren't talking about personal bigotry, but the way laws have been written and enforced, institutions established, etc... although personal and/or unconscious bigotry can be a part of it as well).
And yes, as a Christian, I hope for peace and reconciliation. I hope that the black community can see police officers as friends and allies and that police officers can befriend and be an actual PART of the communities that they patrol.
But we all need to take a good look in the mirror. To those in authority and supporting #BlueLivesMatter, or even #AllLivesMatter, ask yourselves even in this moment of pain, "What got us to this place? How has this powder keg been lit? As those in POWER, do we need to look at how we've used that power?"
For those in the black community and those standing with the #BlackLivesMatter movement: are we perpetuating an economy of violence in our rhetoric (I got challenged on this recently. I really like hitting the rock instead of speaking to it)? Do we want to live in an economy of violence and revenge?
"Every valley shall be raised up, every mountain and hill made low." Isaiah 40:4
May we all humble ourselves under the Cornerstone, lest we be crushed by the consequences of ignoring what makes for peace.