#Ferguson is what has been on our TV screens for the past two and a half weeks. #Ferguson has trended No. 1 on Twitter and dominated our Facebook newsfeeds.
#Ferguson is scary. #Ferguson is a place of young African American men shouting and Molotov cocktails flying. #Ferguson is a place of burned out convenience stores, snipers on rooftops and police with German Shepherds and military weaponry. #Ferguson is a 24/7 adrenaline rush and highly addictive dopamine hit.
#Ferguson is a dangerous place. Because #Ferguson isn’t real. It’s one-dimensional. It’s deep complexity and real, human pain with more than just one, simple cause packaged for mass consumption and even entertainment.
#Ferguson is dangerous because it tempts those of us of privilege to think this has no more to do with our real lives than the Real Housewives of New Jersey. #Ferguson is dangerous because it tempts all of us to look “over there” instead of “right here.”
#Ferguson is dangerous because it raises issues divorced from relationships.
Make no mistake, Jesus is on the streets of Ferguson… and on the streets of the rest of our city and cities across this nation. But you won’t find him by watching #Ferguson.
When the Christ saw equality with God not as something to be grasped but emptied the divine self into human form, it wasn’t the #Incarnation – a trending topic for conversation and titillation. It was Jesus, the Word become flesh and living among us.
Becoming flesh. Living among. Deep relationship. From deep relationship comes deep knowledge. From deep knowledge comes deep love. From deep love comes deep healing.
#Ferguson raises important issues of dignity, equality and justice. But #Ferguson will never, never adequately address them. Because we will never care enough to do the long, hard work necessary. Without the deep relationship, the deep knowledge, the deep love … it’s just too easy to turn away.
True healing. True reconciliation comes from incarnational relationship. From in the flesh dwelling with and among one another. From building relationships for the long journey, walking together that long road to the cross, putting each other’s lives in each other’s hands, all the time secure in the hope that resurrection is our destination.
That’s what it means to dive beyond #Ferguson. Each of us, in our own communities -- including us right here at Christ Church Cathedral -- committing to being incarnational Christians. Not just reaching across the segregations of our own communities but journeying across them, building flesh-and-blood relationships across them, truly sharing lives across them.
Becoming flesh. Living among. Deep relationship.
What does that look like for us? What does that look like in our presence as individuals and as a Cathedral in relationship with the primarily African-American churches of our region -- a relationship that has been largely absent? What does that look like as we consider the broader mission and vision of Christ Church Cathedral and what it means truly to be called to be a Cathedral for this whole region?
What does it look like within our own Cathedral Nave on Sunday mornings?
#Ferguson is ending (for now) and the media is about to move onto the next shiny thing. But if we open our eyes, there is a much richer, deeper, riskier, more transformational drama right in front of us.
It is a drama of incarnation. And we are invited not to be viewers and tweeters but intimate participants. A drama of deep relationship. Deep knowledge. Deep love. And ultimately, deep healing.