I woke today to the news about the shooting in Dallas, TX, of police officers and the peaceful protest that took place there last evening.
There were two competing narratives seeking to outdo the other.
The first was all about the shooting. The Dallas chief of police shared details of the conversation that the negotiator had had with the shooter, noting that the shooter wanted to kill white men, especially police officers. Anger, vengeance, helplessness — all of these clearly brewing in this man’s mind.
Where else have we heard and seen these emotions and the values that underlie them recently? I’ve heard a lot about anger and vengeance, and have seen the helplessness that some feel in our communities across the country. It’s hard to miss. And it’s equally hard to miss how our leaders are addressing it.
The second narrative caught my ear — and it won’t get the kind of airplay that the first one will, especially today.
One of the news networks interviewed the leader of the peaceful protest. He talked about how deeply they valued the peacefulness of their protest, and how closely they had worked with the Dallas police to ensure that this was the case.
The protest leader talked about the initial moments of the shooting when the group heard the rapid “click click click” of bullets. He realized that he was holding a 10 foot cross in his hands, and yelled at the people around him to follow the cross to safety.
What does it mean to follow the Cross of Christ? To what values are we to be witnesses? The protest leader answered the question easily — and repeated Jesus’ own words, “Love your neighbor.”
So, what values to do we want to see in our leaders, and what values do we want to embody in ourselves as leaders?