the A-B-C’s of Ferguson, Missouri

When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?” -John 5:6

image from Boston Herald
image from Boston Herald

My heart is sad, today, as I think about the terrible mess that is “The Ferguson Situation,” and how that torn community stands as a microcosm of what’s gone wrong in so many places around our country.

Worse still is the outpouring of cynicism, judgment, stereotyping, political posturing, racism, finger-pointing, character assassination, and polarization that seems to be the knee-jerk reaction of so many people on social media. Why do we click “like” and “share” so often when we see something hateful or hurtful, but ignore voices of reason and reconciliation that speak with truth and with love?

What happened in Ferguson was a tragedy. It was tragic for everyone involved: for the young man who shot Michael Brown; for Michael Brown’s family; for the Ferguson police department; for the Ferguson community.

A-B-C: Every tragedy, however, can provide a new opportunity to address the factors that led to that moment. In education, we call it an “A-B-C” analysis. Antecedent; Behavior; Consequence. We – and by “we” I mean everyone with a stake in the situation – take a long, hard look at what led up to what happened, the event itself, and then what happened as a result.

In Ferguson, it’s critically important that all parties get involved in what is now nothing less than a prime opportunity for forward progress as a community.

The last thing they need is for the rest of us to pour gasoline on the fire.

It’s time to get over ourselves, and our petty personal prejudices; it’s time to look at the A-B-C’s, and see what we can all learn from a terrible tragedy that should never happen again.

There is no social problem that can’t be solved if the parties involved really want to move forward. But then that’s the question, isn’t it… Do we want to be healed? Do we? And that applies to all of us, doesn’t it?

When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be made well?”

Peace – and I mean that – DEREK


5 thoughts on “the A-B-C’s of Ferguson, Missouri Leave a comment

  1. Hi Derek,

    This is very sad indeed. I heard in the news that there were also peaceful demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and I suppose other places. This is good. This is exercising freedom with responsibility, and I applaud all those who participated in these. Unfortunately that was a 10 second statement in minutes of reporting about the chaos and destruction to the Ferguson community.

    On another note, this was an interesting quote which I thought was telling and relevant:
    “We haven’t yet learned how to stay human when assembled in masses.” -Lewis Thomas, physician and author (1913-1993)

    Peace and Grace!

    P.S. Happy Thanksgiving to you and all your Mauls. I give thanks to God for yours and Rebekah’s ministry at WFPC and in the Wake Forest community.


    1. Thanks, Andre. I pray that you will all have a time of joy and peace.
      You are right about the “mob mentality.” I’ve been in a mob scene more than once, and it was frightening how individuality pretty much disappeared.
      And, yes, peaceful yet pointed demonstrations are very much what we need to help us think about tough issues…


  2. Hi, I agree with your summation, do we want to be healed? healing takes a lot more work than complaining–and the road is not always clearly marked, just as forgiveness and trust are hard to earn and also hard to do. May God help us find the way.


  3. Derek – appreciate your words regarding this very tragic situation where personal opinions continue to enrage hate and anger, leading to more and more innocent people being impacted. Another prime example of how social media can exacerbate a situation to a point that leads to very negative attitudes and energies. I pray that those directly impacted, as you say in your blog, come to the table for reconciliation and healing.


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