Norman Rockwell, "The Problem We All Live With"

To all my clergy friends, hear this plea: listen to "This American Life Episode 562: The Problem We All Live With" and then preach on it this Sunday!

In this episode, Ira Glass speaks with New York Times Magazine Reporter Nikole Hannah-Jones who dives deeply into the first public words that Michael Brown’s mother, Leslie McSadden, utters shortly after her son was shot on August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri by officer Darren Wilson.

Here’s what she said:

“You took my son away from me!  Do you know how hard it was for me to get him to stay in school and graduate?  Do you know how many black men graduate?  Not many.”

Nikole listened to this statement over and over and over until it drove her to do a deep dive into why, in those first few moments of grieving her son's death, school would be the first thing on Michael Brown's mother's mind...

Please, please, please listen to this entire episode and then preach on it this Sunday!  

Also, pay special attention to one of the most vivid, evocative, and incredible images of God we’ve ever come across (about 36 mins into the podcast): a mother who follows her daughter’s bus on the first day of school – a bus full of black students transferring to a mostly white suburban high school – to make sure it arrives safely...

This mother (and countless mothers like her throughout history!) reminds us of the God that the psalmist sings about in Psalm 139: 

Where can I go from your spirit?  Or where can I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.

If I take the wings of the morning and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,

even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light around me become night,”

even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is as bright as the day,

for darkness is as light to you. + Psalm 139: 7-12

Anyway, for what it’s worth, have a listen and turn it into a sermon this Sunday 'cause this is the kindof stuff we hope to hear week in and week out - make it count!


The SALT Team