A co-laborer at New Life recently encouraged me to watch The Central Park Five. It is the story of five teenagers – four blacks and one Hispanic, ages 14 to 16, who were arrested and charged with raping and beating, nearly to death, a 28 year old, white woman after dark in Central Park. The boys were portrayed as “beasts,” and “wild animals” with no remorse for their actions. Donald Trump placed full-page ads calling for the return of the death penalty. They spent the next 7-13 years of their lives in prison. Their lives and families were ruined. The problem: They were innocent. The murderer who committed the crime finally admitted it in 2002. This documentary is important to watch for many reasons. Here are my top three: 1. Social class and racial divisions remain a deep reality. The Central Park Five gives us an amazing portrayal of the injustice that befalls so. Read more.
For the last two weeks I have been meditating/memorizing Isaiah 53:2-6 and the spirituality of descent of Jesus. Out of a desire to offer a “sincere gift of Himself,” Jesus chose a downward journey of ordinariness, obscurity, rejection and powerlessness. He chose crucifixion. It preaches well but my resistance to death (and thus resurrection) is deep. Contemplating the cross, however, has made me sensitive, at least recently, about the choices I make each day to follow, or not follow, the crucified Jesus. The following are three simple gifts God gave me this past week: 1. I visited one of our core church family members this past week. Their child has Lennox Gestaut Syndrome –www.lgsfoundation.org, a severe type of epilepsy. For the past four years, they have been in and out of hospitals, working with countless doctors and specialists to control their son’s seizures, and carrying full time jobs in the NYC school system. Their son, once. Read more.