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The Big Picture Podcast 80: Pop Culture, the Media & Racial Stereotypes from a Christian Cop’s Perspective

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So much has been thrown at us, as a society, such as biased media pushing their agenda instead of objectively reporting the truth, Black Lives Matter and police officers being shot and killed on a regular basis. It begs the question: how do we deal with this, as Christians? As followers of Jesus, we want to deal with it in the proper manner – in a way that is pleasing to God and that serves our fellow man. In my pursuit of an answer to this, I haven’t seen anyone asking police officers – especially Christian police officers for their perspective. Many Christian leaders are telling us that we need to listen to what the protesters have to say and take it seriously, but on the other hand, some of the things that are being thrown at cops today are testing the limits of their service. As Christians, this tests our commitment to truth. And, I want to make sure that we don’t get caught up in the lies that our culture and our media is throwing at us. We need to hear from honest, Christian police officers who are out on the front lines of society – our brothers and sisters in Christ who put themselves on the line for us. That’s why I have asked my neighbor and friend, Chris to come and share his thoughts.

Joel Fieri, Big Picture Podcast Host: As Christians, pop culture and our major media outlets are not supporting our worldview. And that’s something that we have to come to terms with. We need to ask ourselves, “How are we going to deal with this? How are we NOT going to be media-driven people? Just because the media is telling us that something must be an issue for us, or that we should be adopting a certain perspective on something does not mean that is the direction we must go in.

Truly, we need to learn how to take ourselves out of the 24-hour news cycle and the constant push of pop culture.

We need to stop and say, “NO. What is the truth?”

It all boils down to truth.

You see, without truth, I can’t really love my neighbor… or my community. Therefore, going along with the false narratives – the lies – that are constantly bombarding us is not loving at all.

Jefferson Drexler, e2 media network producer: I love how your mind works, Joel. You are always taking a huge step backwards and examining how things are affecting us, culturally. As well as asking the tough questions about how we should be responding.

With that in mind, it appears that the path we are currently on will only lead to our culture’s destruction. So, as Christians, are we called to do something different in order to alter the course of our culture? Is clinging to the truth enough? Or should we be even more proactive?

Joel: Well, we know the source of truth – GOD. And, we know the source of love – GOD. And, we are supposed to speak truth in love. Note that in doing that, love is the modifier. Truth is the calling. And, speaking is the action we are supposed to be taking. Too many times, church leaders are compelling their congregants to “be the hands and feet of Jesus”. I’m not sure how Biblical that is, but I do know that we are called to be the mouthpiece of Jesus. We need to stand for truth and tell people what is actually true – whatever is good, whatever is pure, whatever is right, whatever is lovely (Philippians 4:8).

But, doing this begins with having a difficult discussion with today’s pastors. It also begins with getting serious in our Youth Groups, not just purely a fun-and-games time. Our pastors need to teach Christians in their sermons how to be the redemptive force in society with truth and love together – where our love modifies the truth.

We really need to get our heads around and identify what the issues really are. We also need to identify where we get our information from. Who do we look to? Who do we trust?

And, in all honesty, one of those sources should be our Christian brothers and sisters who are in law enforcement.

They are the ones exemplifying service and self-sacrifice.

And, while they do wield a lot of power, they have also entrusted us to hold them accountable while also standing up for them as truthseekers.

Jefferson: So, as a community of Christians, what can we do for our police officers? Of course, there are the obvious things: raise our kids right, obey the law, don’t be stupid. But, what can we do to help our fellow Christians who have sworn to serve and protect us?

Chris, Southern California Police Officer: I would say two things: daily pray for our law enforcement officers, as well as others in public safety (paramedics, firefighters, EMS personnel, etc). Pray for not only our safety, but discernment and judgment in everything we do. Pray for our leadership as well.

And secondly, invite Christian police officers to come and speak at church services, youth groups, or small group meetings. Because, by giving Christian police officers an opportunity to have a voice, it recognizes that we are not only members of the community at large, but also members of the faith community. I can practically guarantee that every single church has at least one police officer in attendance. Even if it’s just once a year, it would help so much to offer a Christian police officer’s perspective on life and the community to your fellow church members.

Jefferson: Now, I know from my own experiences – I’ve been jumped by gang bangers, my brother was left on a curb, beaten to a pulp by street thugs. However, I’ve had infinitely more relationships and moments in my life where I have worshiped with, worked with, played with and laughed with dear friends who were African American. Therefore THAT is how I identify my black friends, neighbors, community members, and brothers-in-Christ.

Likewise, I’ve been thrown up against the side of my car by a cop, patted down and nearly arrested for standing in my own front yard allegedly “looking suspicious”. However, I’ve also received friendly warnings for the safety of my kids that my brake light was out. I’ve received a police escort from my front door to the hospital when my son was having a terrible asthma attack. I’ve had many more positive experiences with law enforcement officers.

So, isn’t that what we really need to do – to rub elbows with ALL members of our communities? Wouldn’t that be a better way of shaping our opinions of our friends, neighbors, and police officers?

Chris: You know, the easiest way to make a police officer’s day is to simple wave at him… with all five fingers. If you’re with your family, walk up and simply say hello. Thank them for their service. You will receive the biggest grin from that officer. And, I guarantee you that the next several people who come into contact with them will have a better experience with them as well because your kindness will be in the back of their mind.

Jefferson: And if we simply did that, then wouldn’t the trajectory that Joel mentioned at least start to correct itself?

Joel: I always go back to Dennis Prager’s statement on race, when he quotes Viktor Frankl:

“There are two races of men in this world but only these two: the race of the decent man and the race of the indecent man.”

And that’s how we have to look at people.

When I see someone wearing a police officer’s uniform, I can right away assume that they are physically, mentally, and emotionally capable of graduating their rigorous academy and that they have chosen a career path of service. That’s special. That’s decent. So, until they do something that proves otherwise to me and reveals to me that they are indecent, I’m going to go with and allow my actions to follow that he or she is decent.

And that’s how we need to start looking at everybody. We need to stop accepting indecent behavior from anybody. We need to stop excusing indecent behavior just because of the color of someone’s skin.

And Chris… thank you for your service!

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