Maximum Effort and Accountability
Author: Diana Shellenberger
And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”—Luke 18:7-8
I began writing this reflection speculating about how this time of pandemic and racial and economic injustice may be remembered, and I may finish it another time. With the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, the vigilante murders of protesters there and the NBA players’ boycott of the playoffs, the story is even more fast-moving and complicated and the outcome more uncertain.
Nearly 80 percent of NBA players and 70 percent of NFL players are African-American. That they are rewarded with huge salaries is beside the point when every day, law enforcement is hassling, wounding and killing men and women who look like them. In a country where punishment rather than reconciliation passes as justice, the players are using the leverage of their strength in numbers at exactly the right moment. And not just at the right time, but with the right message. The Milwaukee Bucks’ extraordinary statement is here at https://www.nba.com/article/2020/08/26/milwaukee-bucks-players-statement-following-boycott-game-5. I want to highlight one part of their remarks, because it reflects the faithful calls for justice long-denied Jesus is speaking about.
“When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.”
Their statement goes to the heart of what is needed to heal the country’s racism. They ask for it not at the business end of the barrel of a long rifle, but in sportswear and wearing masks. All Americans of good faith must give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. Our country has a lot of challenges, and how we treat each other at the worst of times is at the heart of them all. The time is ripe to reckon with the country’s 400-year history of racism. I know I want this time to be remembered as the time when justice long delayed becomes justice, if not fulfilled, then justice ongoing.