Ray Rice: Now We See Him, Soon We Won’t

I am a Christian.

I like sports, and I have a daughter.

I have a daughter who will one day ride in elevators with the partner of her choosing and in a few months I will have a son who will eventually grow up to ride in elevators with the partner of his choosing.

IMG_3853 Christians, fathers, and sports enthusiasts all need to do a better job of stopping violence against women. The recent NFL scandal about Ray Rice battering his fiancé in an elevator isn’t going to get that done.

I have watched the footage of Ray Rice and Janay Palmer (now, Janay Rice) in the elevator; several times.

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I wonder what that says about me as a man, as a Christian, as a sports enthusiast, and as a father.

We fathers, Christians, feminists, and sports enthusiasts need to own up to this: the Ray Rice scandal is not so much about domestic violence as it is about the NFL covering their PR butts, the rage of media members who were lied to by suits who make millions of dollars manipulating the media every day, and the love of scandal.

I understand why I was drawn to the video.

I love scandal. I feel entitled to know everything there is to be known.

I am of a generation that expects that which is public to include all that was intentionally private and I spend embarrassing amounts of time calculating in my private time those photos, thoughts, and plans that I wish to make public.

But here’s what I wonder:

What exactly does this video footage change tell us that was not already documented?

In a few weeks, Ray Rice’s headshot will be lightyears from the news and the National Football League and its billions of dollars will be invested into winning some other public relations battle.

Domestic violence, however, will still go on. And on. And on.

My greatest fear is that the response towards this awful situation is spurned more by our craving to be in the front row for scandal than it is a concern for the human spirit.

And my greatest hope is that I am wrong.

This story began as personal for me because I have a fantasy football team, a subscription to the NFL Sunday Ticket, and I listen religiously to sports radio.

After reflection, however, it is personal to me because I am a father, a husband, and a Christian.

Sensationalized violence doesn’t fix the problem, it IS the problem!

Here’s what makes it better: Directing our anger towards domestic abusers as opposed to NFL owners and holding ourselves accountable as fathers, husbands, and Christians; not NFL commissioners.

The NFL is A problem not THE problem. Domestic Violence is the problem. So let’s do something about it.

What Would You DO?

The Gospel According to Flava Flav

Michael Tran

Ironic as it is:

 

 “Aiyo, these are some serious times that we’re livin in G
And a new world order is about to begin, y’knowhutI’msayin?
Now the question is – are you ready, for the real revolution
which is the evolution of the mind?
If you seek then you shall find that we all come from the divine
You dig what I’m sayin?

“Now if you take heed to the words of wisdom
that are written on the walls of life
then universally, we will stand and divided we will fall
because love conquers all, you understand what I’m sayin?

This is a call to all you sleepin souls
Wake up and take control of your own cipher
And be on the lookout for the spirit snipers
tryin to steal your light, y’knowhutI’msayin?
Look within-side yourself, for peace
Give thanks, live life and release
You dig me? You got me?”

-“He Got Game” (1998)

Amen.

More Day 2: Lessons from the Community Garden

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Or Continue with part II

Below was written by Mackenzie O’Connell

Today I went to an Open Land farm. Open Land farms are community gardens in Chicago that aim to supply the community with free vegetables and fruit, and raise local property values. My group went to a garden owned by a sweet lady named Queen. Queen is 70 years old, almost completely deaf, and takes care of the large garden all by herself. Before arriving at the garden, everyone in my group was in need of a nap and dreading our three hours of labor in the dirt and hot sun. I thought that this garden would be extremely overgrown and dead, but once we arrived, it was beautiful and filled with blooming flowers and green grass! At the garden my task was to weed, but others in my group mowed the grass, weed-wacked, and organized a compost pile. Throughout the day Queen said whatever popped into her mind, and it was hilarious and helped make our work much easier! I asked Queen what she did with the vegetables after she harvested them and her response will forever stick with me. She said “When you eat the vegetables alone, they don’t taste good, but when you share them with others and eat them together, they taste much better.” Queen’s comment meant so much to me because often times I focus on what I don’t have, rather than the abundance of things I do have. I realized that I should be re-focusing all of that energy towards giving other people what they don’t have and what they need. After we finished gardening, my group stepped back to look at what we had done. The garden looked even more beautiful and every single one of us felt accomplished! I wouldn’t trade this day for anything and being in Chicago has opened my eyes to a different kind of world and because of people like Queen, my life and attitude towards things will forever be changed for the better.

-Mackenzie O’Connell

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