Thursday, January 31

If it was you, what would you expect? My thoughts on Kwame

With headlines like, "Mayor's touching apology is too little and too late" and "Personal message overlooks harm to city", it is little wonder why Detroit and the surrounding countryside are so divisive and angry. Nor why we are a nation falling into immorality and decay as we hang our moral standards upon the flag of surrender.

And they say only the Christians eat their wounded........

On another blog, written by Josh Graves with whom I had a period of time to fellowship with, I responded to his blog written on Kwame .....// .

My original comment, posted to his blog, was this:

"Unfortunately we think that our leaders are above reproach and when they fall, we castrate them upon the altar of public opinion. Too many people are calling for Kwame's head while too few are calling for repentance and restoration. I thank you for standing upon the call of a Christian and calling for accounting, repentance, and redemption of this man.
He is all of us, one step from grace's door........"

With all that is plastered upon the front pages of our newspapers and our newscasts on TV, I felt led to write more on the Kwame Kilpatrick situation. This leads me to why I made my original comment,

"He is all of us. One step from grace's door."

We are all fallen, broken upon the mantle of sin and the worldliness of our bodies. We are all born into evil intention, with self above all else and the overwhelming urge to do everything and anything to keep self safe. We are quick to castrate another's sin and forget where we came from and who we were......"one step from grace's door."

Kwame is all of us. He, too, is a product of the world in which he lives. He is a broken, sinful, and wounded man who was entranced by the trappings of power and the life of ease. He was not held accountable; by his staff, his pastor, his people (the people of Detroit...this is NOT a racial statement) and himself. He was a person who stepped into the world and called himself a Christian....and fell upon the sins of the flesh with nar a sound. He is broken, battered, and bruised.......and for a time, silent about the public outcry of this latest 'scandal'. He is all of us; human.

And he should be treated with that understanding. We, as a Christian family, should be reaching back in faith and accountability and empathy; embracing this young man in his brokenness. Realizing that we could be there, have been there, and might be there.......there is no more weight to his sin than any we ourselves have committed. He is all of us; unworthy of forgiveness but still offered such.

He is currently under investigation for the things he said, under oath, in trials that were finished recently between the city and two of its employees. 9 million dollars was the final outcome of those events, but now the legimate question has to be asked and answered of to mayoral culpability in lying under oath. Did it affect the outcome and does it constitute a crime under the laws that govern our land? He is all of us; accountable to the laws of society.

Calls for his resignation echo the streets of Detroit, reverberating in competition with those who sang Kwame's praises. I wonder what they felt after they watched the Kilpatricks being real and personal? I wonder if the calls of vindictive punishment and anger would still be felt in the hearts of those Christians who call Detroit their home if they were the ones who sat on public TV and announced that they were all too human.

I wonder if these Detroiters, and those with such thoughts, would repeat them at the Throne of Judgment and then say that they are entitled to the key to the gates.......I wonder and shudder in fearful expectation of a God angered at their presumptionish...........

"This apology is 9 million too late...."

"Mr. Mayor, you quit on us when you took the witness stand."

"I heard no talk of atonement to [the city, and his family]."

"Coward, liar, and thief---those are the words that come to mind as I watched the broadcast."

"What a performance! The only thing in Mayor's hand.....his mother.....his minister...and Tammy Wynette's "Stand by Your Man.""

These are the comments made by people regarding the Mayor in an article in the Free Press entitled, "Mayor's touching apology is too little and too late." It seems even the paper has decided the opinion it will promote within its pages to the public which cries for castration rights.

"As soon as Kilpatrick stepped out of his Cadillac Escalade, WXYZ-TV (Channel 7) investigative reporter Steve Wilson stepped in front of the mayor to ask him who he spent his weekend with in North Carolina during the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday two days ago. Kilpatrick bumped Wilson and moved on, swinging his hand up and hitting the bottom of a camera held by Free Press photographer Mandi Wright. Wright, who was backing up to make way for the Mayor, was struck in the face by the camera." M.L. Elrick states in his article "Mayor jostles photographer."

But it is the quote, at the end of the article, of Free Press Executive Editor Caesar Andrews that seems to echo the people who would hold this affair over Kwame's head and call for it to be served on a platter...."This is totally unwarranted. Our employee was going about the business of doing her job in a professional way. Even with all the tensions that are obvious, there's no way our photographer should be treated this way."

There is no way any Detroiter should be treated this way. We have lived; worked, and endured in a city in crisis for years.....we were doing what we are supposed to. How dare Kwame do this to us, even costing us 9 million dollars in a trial that should've apparently never happened in the opinion of the jury who felt the officers were wronged. We should be able to have this sin shouted from the rooftops of Cobo Hall....

We have been wronged and Kwame must pay.

Dare we do what Job wanted to do....take our case before God? Would you want to stand before the Creator and say, "Make Kwame pay. I don't care if his repentance is truthful and his apology heartfelt."

"This is the time to stay focused, Detroit." the Reverend Jim Holley, pastor of Little Rock Baptist Church. "....[I]f his presence can ultimately be more of a boon than a hindrance to the continued progress of this city, then fine. But if he has been too damaged to continue as an effective advocate for Detroit, then Detroit can, should, and must move forward without him." This was the only favorable commentary article offered, where support was given for Kwame. "Above all else, focus on city's progress" as shown in the Free Press.

According to Stephen Henderson's article, entitled "Personal message overlooks harm to city", Detroit needs and is owed an explanation of the path that brought us to this place. We haven't asked to be brought here......we haven't been consulted. "It's business, Mr. Mayor. Not personal," Henderson states. "[P]ersonal exaltation isn't what Detroit needs now. We need the Mayor to deal with the business at hand."

What business?

The business of moving forward as a man, as a husband, and a father?

Or the business of appeasing those who are offended, hurt, abused, and left feeling wronged by the actions of Kilpatrick that has brought us to this place?

As Henderson said, "We got none of that. We got: sorry."

When you stand before the throne of Judgment and the Creator demands to know why you can claim, with all of your sinfulness and abuses, your flagrant violations of the law and your culpability in the Fall.....what will YOU say?


Or will you fall prostrate upon the ground and cry out for forgiveness? Will you declare yourself unworthy of the forgiveness you know you need and don't deserve?

No. You will call for the Christ, and tell him that you claimed his forgiveness paid in blood upon a Cross so long ago. You will allow your undeserving and unworthy self to be forgiven for the sins that brought you to the need of forgiveness and the sins committed after the forgiveness was obtained.

You will do what Kwame did last night........ask forgiveness from the one he sinned against.

I am a native son of Detroit and have spoken with pride despite the opinion of the nation and the world of what type of people live within its boundaries and work within its darkened image. I have endured the ridicule (Come back to Detroit, we missed you the first time...on a shirt with a handgun on it), the fear, and the talk behind my back. I feel the pain of what we have endured with Kwame and have prayed for his repentance.

I am upset with the tarnished image (again), the accusations (again), the poor professionalism that Kwame has displayed (again). I didn't vote for him the first time, nor the second time, because I haven't lived within the environs of Detroit since 1997. But I am a native son, and feel the pain of my home whenever Kwame plastered the papers and airwaves with the scandals of his administration. I prayed for the realization of his sins and the repentance thereof....not necessarily publicly but definitely personally before his God.

I have watched a man upon local TV do something that he knew would reach the nation. He apologized; uncomfortable the entire time, defensive some of the time, and clearly understanding of what his actions have done to his family, his city, and the administration he runs. Important, regardless of whether you believe his apology was timely, sincere, and effective. Not fulfilling enough for those who would have him fall. Not enough for those concerned with distracting attention from the real problems.

The most important event happened after Kwame stopped talking and allowed his wife to speak.

More than the Mayor's apology, more than his apparent repentant attitude, and even more than the legal situation that he has yet to face. It is Carlita that forced me to realize more than anything else what was important.....

Carlita said, "It is very difficult for me to talk to you at this moment, but I want to let you know where my heart is tonight. Yes. I am angry, I am hurt and I am disappointed. But there is no question I love my husband. With the help of our pastor and others, we have been having very difficult, very frank discussions to work through some very painful issues.............I would like each and every one of you for all of your prayers......."

Beyond the legal trials that the Mayor faces in the future, even beyond our righteous anger at the Mayor's personal indiscretions that have once again tainted our city's image, and even far beyond the sum of 9 million dollars that have come from our taxes and at cost of services, there is something stronger.

In her declaration of forgiveness and desired reconciliation, she has dictated to us our response to this personal crisis within the walls of the Kilpatrick household that has splashed across the political landscape of our dear city.....

Every Christian, every Detroiter whether in the city or abroad, should stop in their tracks and cry out loud enough to echo throughout this city and its suburbs.......and the Nation. Not to whitewash what's happened, not to trivialize what has come to pass, nor even to help the Mayor in the trials yet to come.

No, to show just what a city we are......capable of great sorrow and strong enough to become so much more than one man may be.

"We forgive you, Kwame. Go and sin no more."

Carlita has shown us the way. Will we answer the call as Christians and as Detroiters?

Or will they say that the Christians aren't the only ones to eat their wounded........


Josh Graves said...

I agree with we are all Kwame. Sorting out sin with the consequences is where it gets dicey.

Chaplain J. said...

I agree that the sorting out the consequences of the sin is dicey, but the laws of the land are what should govern the task ahead, not emotional cries for appeasement.