Behavior or Intent?

Let me help clarify...the intent of the officer can be debated, the behavior cannot .... so the question is why the behavior? The earliest iterations of Policing in America came out of Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, this gave rise to Slave Catchers & “Bounty Hunters” who would make up reasons to be suspicious of Free Black People   (see 12 years a Slave) so they could take them back or sell them to plantation owners to collect a reward. After Emancipation  in 1877 Black Codes and Pig Laws came into being, essentially criminalizing being Black so that they could be arrested based on a little known clause in the 13 th Amendment that legalized slavery as punishment for “criminals” and enslave or re-enslave them as part of state run prison labor ( Peonage ), where the prisoners were often leased back to plantations replacing the slaves who were emancipated. This labor force was also used to build many of the municipal and factory buildings in southern cities through the tur

The Opportunity in the Pandemic

For several years now, I have been saying that we are in the midst of a generational transition, and this emerging generation of believers has an opportunity to be a more authentic expression of the church than any previous generation in America. As they come of age, they have never known a time when the church has had a good reputation. They have watched the builder/boomer church be homophobic, jingoistic, racist and give an enthusiastic endorsement of DJT as President to the even greater detriment of the poor & marginalized, all while asserting Christianity and a love for Jesus.   This emerging generation is ripe for an authentic expression of God's grace, love & mercy. The Opportunity in the Pandemic  And now we have this Covid-19 pandemic, and it has presented an opportunity to demonstrate the grace, love & mercy of God to this generation.  I see this pandemic as an opportunity to teach folks how to share life in ways that demonstrate God's love for thos

Live Simply that others may simply live.

Grace & Peace... Robert Caldwell is the Executive Director of and has been a practitioner and thought leader on the issues of poverty & race for more than 25 years.  Visit 

The Absence of Conflict is not Unity

Conflict is one of those things that can be both g ood and bad .  It can be productive or destructive .  However if there is one thing I know, it's that Unity is  NOT possible  without conflict.   Christians & Conflict Now nobody likes conflict, and most of us will do most anything to avoid it. However I have realized over the years that people who *strongly identify as Christian tend to avoid conflict to the detriment of unity.  We will stuff our feelings and will not say things that probably should be said, often becoming passive-aggressive with people. We often don't ask clarifying questions when someone says something we don't agree with or understand, and form negative assumptions about the person.  We will avoid controversial topics or hard conversations about differences because we do not want to get into an argument and cause conflict.  (* Note: These behaviors are not unique to Christians, but my experience has been that folks who do not identify st

A lesson in Privilege on Old McDonald's Farm

(Image by VectorStock) Every year on Old McDonald's Farm the Cow goes to the Pigs and the Chickens with an idea to do something special for Old Farmer McDonald's Birthday.  And every year she comes to them with the same idea... "Let's make Farmer McDonald Breakfast for his Birthday!" Every year the Pigs and Chickens reluctantly asked "what do you have in mind this year?"   And every year the Cow says  "Bacon & Eggs of course! It's his favorite meal!" Well this year... the Pigs and Chickens say to the Cow "Let's do Dinner for him this year"   Excitedly the Cow says Ok...what do you have in mind?   " A Steak Dinner!" says one of the Pigs.  "He can have a Rib Eye, Porter House, Filet Mignon or even Prime Rib!"  One of the Chickens says  "He likes Milkshakes too, so we can make him a chocolate Milkshake for dessert!"  Hearing this the Cow's countenance changed. She lowered her

Moving Beyond Racial Reconciliation...

In  Matthew 25:31-46   Jesus unpacks a scene where folks are being divided into to (2) Groups...the Sheep and the Goats. The Sheep are the folks who took care of the thirsty, hungry, sick and imprisoned.  The Goats are the folks who did not. A dear friend of mine asked me how to connect this passage of scripture to our current discussions around Racial Reconciliation in the church...   Below are my thoughts. First , there is  Homogeneity.   Homogeneity simply means we all prefer to be around people who are like us.  So we tend to make choices/decisions to assure that we are around people like us.  This is not bad in and of itself, but it has the unintended consequence of  making it more difficult for us to develop real relationships with people who are not like us  because we do not spend any meaningful time with people who are not like us... Second , there is  Rugged Individualism  which is one of the core ideas that helped shape America.   Rugged Individualism  is t

Which came first the chicken or the egg?

(Photo Courtesy of   After Tony (not his real name) was born, his mom left him at the hospital.  She was a crack addict and was obviously not in any condition to be a parent.  When the hospital discovered she had left, they called his maternal grandmother, who was listed as an emergency contact on the admissions form, and told her that she needed to come and pick up her daughter's child.  She did and for the next 10 years she did her best to raise him.  By the time he was nine years old he was too much for her to handle. He started running away and staying out in the streets all night.  Soon he began living in the streets, dealing drugs and sleeping wherever he could hustle a couch.  When I met Tony, he was 17 years old and his, life by all accounts, had been Hell.  He was well-built and handsome and used his charm to get women for sex, but he told me he did it mainly to make sure that he had a bed to sleep in most nights.  I don’t know if he had any children