Common Ground: Duane W.H. Arnold, PhD

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94 Responses

  1. Michael says:

    Just for the record, I believe this “common ground” laid out by Duane is (or should be) the basis of how we view all issues…it’s truly a “biblical world view”.
    It’s also immune to political or social winds as it’s firmly grounded in historic Christian doctrine and practice.

  2. Jean says:

    Great article Duane. This is one of my favorite.

    If I am reading your major intent, I see you arguing for a faith that is relevant in the world.

    If I were making the same argument, I would draw on the vocation of Israel to be “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” If they were a kingdom of priests, then it must have been in service to creation and the surrounding nations.

    The NT incorporates that priestly vocation into the kingdom now ruled by Christ: “you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

    I think conservative Christianity may need a corrective to make the faith more concrete in the lives of believers, beyond (but not excluding) evangelism. Things like justice, mercy, fairness are all very good examples of how we should relate to the world around us.

  3. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks. Everything we are, everything we believe, everything we practice, should be measured by the Incarnation…

  4. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks… yes, a faith relevant to the world, one that is rooted and grounded in God’s created order and the Incarnation. The “business model” and “political model” of church both need to be consigned to the abyss from which they came…

  5. filbertz says:

    To my shame, I did not join the protesters in my city last week. We have had no violence, but the tension is enough that it could erupt and it would be bloody. Several of my employees joined the protest and they went with my blessing, but that was, in hindsight, not enough. I needed to be there. My presence, my voice, my standing as a teacher and business owner was missed. I wrestled with the laundry list of things to do in order to open a business shuttered by Covid-19 vs. going to the protest. In the moment, I wrongly concluded my employees would be my proxy voice/presence. I should have been there. Instead, critics can frame the conversation that “outsiders” swelled the numbers. That young people, not a cross-section of the community, were outraged by Floyd’s death. That the “left” is opportunistic in this moment. I missed that moment, but I won’t be silent or absent moving forward. When someone like me is MIA, it gives the impression that property owning, professional, older, white men of faith are the problem. All of us are a part of the solutions. Let me act like it. Let us act like it.

  6. Duane Arnold says:


    On Saturday, I was so proud of the young people I walked with in Indy. BTW, even by your writing and presence among us here, you are part of the solution…

  7. Michael says:

    “All of us are a part of the solutions. Let me act like it. Let us act like it.”
    And all God’s people said…amen.

  8. JoelG says:

    I hope participation in protests doesn’t become the litmus test for ones love for neighbor. I’m not sure if the effectiveness of protests. I realize I’m in a minority on this one on this blog. I find them to be too general and thus question their effectiveness. Perhaps kindness and love toward the particular people in our daily lives is a better way than shaming and shouting at people. I might be wrong.

  9. Duane Arnold says:


    Agreed, it should not be a litmus test. Concerning protests, however, when there is institutional wrong-doing, such as police brutality, or an unjust war, protests can focus attention on the issue of import. No, they don’t always work, but then again, without the Civil Rights protests in the 60s I wonder if the nation as a whole would have paid attention to the issue…

  10. Em says:

    JoelG, FWIW, you might be right…
    In today’s world, a protest march too easily turns into a cover for bad actors – a mindless mob, i.e “get rid of ALL police” …. say what?
    Now I’m done … 🙆
    God have mercy on us all
    God keep

  11. Michael says:

    I’m not nearly as concerned about the method we use to address injustice as I am about seeing things through the lens that Duane articulated.
    My advocacy for migrants and immigrants was grounded in my faith, not in political considerations.
    Those have to be reckoned with, but we won’t even recognize them without a biblical understanding.

  12. JoelG says:

    Em unfortunately you are right, at least from what I’ve heard in Portland. Protesting Is the local pastime so it becomes like the boy who cried wolf.

    Duane, yes agreed about the 60’s Civil Right protests. I think racism was much more explicit and widespread then. These days days it seems to be hidden and implicit. Perhaps conversation involving police and local communities might be a good option.

    When I think about protests and their effectiveness I think about the abortion issue. Standing outside clinics with signs doesn’t seem to accomplish much. I think there’s better ways of addressing complicated Issues. Again, just 2 cents.

  13. JoelG says:

    Agreed Michael.

  14. Michael says:


    I’ve had similar concerns…I tend to be a pragmatist on issues like this.

  15. Michael says:

    While I’m at it…
    There was concern (as there always is on articles like this) that we would alienate as many folks as we encouraged.
    Neither Duane, nor myself enjoy the prospect of turning anyone off the discussions we have here and we never write to simply offend.
    What I want to state clearly is that we both believe that we are writing from a biblical, historically Christian ,viewpoint and objections should be with that understanding and speak to it.
    Speaking for myself, these are not simply political issues…they are spiritual issues that are at the core of understanding who God is and what He expects of those who follow Him.

  16. Duane Arnold says:


    It is hidden and implicit… until we see a video, or footage from a body cam. I simply have come to realize that for decades there has been much that we have not seen. Now it is about how do we frame the discussion in the public forum once it is no longer hidden. No easy answers…

  17. Em says:

    “…..those who follow Him.” That is the point – IMV – we have to keep in mind that the majority DON’T follow Him and consider us the cause of the world’s problems – they buy the lie that we are a religion
    Maybe it is the wise as serpents, but harmless as doves principle?
    Now, God willing, i really am done …. 😇

  18. JoelG says:

    Agreed Duane. Thank you for the conversation.

  19. MM says:

    Here’s the real problem and maybe the “common ground,” the police aren’t the enemy, the protestors aren’t the enemy, we are.

    Why is it everyone else is racist and not me?

    Why is the other side wrong and I’m not?

    How come I can find “common ground” and all those other sides can’t?

    When did the “church” actually “unify” people?

    Same old stuff just a different day.

    Yes I have an answer;

    If each of us would actually show others what it means to not be “racist” and stop telling others what they should not be, maybe then and only then will true reform happen.

    While I’m rambling, I can’t help but imagine how many people who are yelling about brutality bring such behavior to those around them.

    “You always hurt the one you love
    The one you shouldn’t hurt at all

    You always take the sweetest rose
    And crush it till the petals fall

    You always break the kindest heart
    With a hasty word you can’t recall

    So if I broke your heart last night
    It’s because I love you most of all

    We really don’t need any “new” songs about these days. Maybe we should just listen and live what has already been written.

    It’s all yours.

  20. Duane Arnold says:

    For those who have Netflix, I highly recommend the documentary ’13th’. It’s not just well done, it’s enlightening…

  21. JoelG says:

    I just finished a conversation with my 19 year old son who changed my mind about the protests. It sounds like they are effective. My oldest daughter has been participating in the Portland protests. I’m proud of them both.

  22. Duane Arnold says:


    ” I’m proud of them both.”

    As you should be! It’s the young people that are driving this…

  23. directambiguity says:

    I’m not sure defunding the police is a good idea. I was told there was a 4-hour wait at the gun counter at Sportsman’s Warehouse on Saturday.

  24. JoelG says:

    I don’t know directambiguity….

    At this point I’m for whatever it will take (excluding violence) to get the message across to police unions and leadership that systematic racism in law enforcement will no longer be tolerated.

  25. Duane Arnold says:

    “Some looks for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear; violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleaning of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul.”

    RFK, Cleveland City Club

  26. JoelG says:

    And in my case a cleansing of myself. For my silent inaction. For the racial stereotypes I have quietly harbored. I am truly sorry and I repent of them. The George Floyd killing has gutted me.

    Thank you Duane.

  27. Michael says:

    The use of the word “defunding”by proponents was careless and foolish.
    What is actually being proposed is a redefinition and refocusing of police duties with a reallocation of funds to programs that will remove duties that most police officers aren’t trained for.

    I’m very conservative on issues about law enforcement…but I’m listening carefully to these discussions.

  28. Duane Arnold says:


    “Defund” is not a good phrase. “Reallocate” resources would be better. I had an office in a small (30,000) suburban community outside of Indy. The police dept. had a full blown swat team with military equipment… slightly over the top, as our British cousins would say. I’m all for reallocation…

  29. Michael says:

    Gun sales are through the roof here as well.
    You don’t use words like “defund” in a conservative community enduring an unending crime wave fueled by drug addiction, mental illness, and homelessness.
    Unless you commit a violent crime here you can get away with anything…the jail is full and they put thieves and vandals out on the street hours after arrest.
    The public is already done with it all…we are heading into very deep waters and a storm is rising…

  30. Em says:

    Using a dancer’s term i recall our Lord described as the “still point” in an ever spinning world.
    When did the churches lose their focus? Looking back over my lifetime, i think it started not too long after WW2. It probably climaxed when so many (Christians and “seekers”) got caught up in the rapture frenzy at the end of the 20th century…. Did the Church get caught with their pants down? Now are we fighting pride after that unfulfilled expectation has made us look like just another delusional religion to the unbelieving world? Can we expect human government today to follow the precepts of the coming Kingdom of our Lord? We can (should?) try, but there is a rebellion that runs deep in the human race. A rebellion that will always move a mob to cry “crucify!”
    Peaceful walks demonstrating injustice are not wrong, not at all. Nonetheless, they carry an inherent danger.
    Or so it seems to me this rainy morning here on the sofa on the lower slopes of the eastern Cascades of a very mindlessly liberal, emotion driven Washington state. 🙆

    Interesting anomaly.. Just down the road we have a couple selling eggs on the honor system. They set up a cabinet by the road, gather the day’s work of their hens and you stop, pick up what you need and leave the money. BUT we also have thieves who are visiting gardens at night, helping themselves to the harvest. Must be folk with their own chickens?

    God keep and keep pondering – with our Lord as your still point 😇 … now I’m done…..

  31. Michael says:


    We had a fellow up the street that sold fine honey on the honor system…until they stole his money and his honey.
    Biblical anthropology needs a seat in these discussions…

  32. Em says:

    Michael, AMEN !

  33. bob1 says:

    As much as I would’ve loved to protest, both my wife and I are immunocompromised so we didn’t.

    Gotta use your noggin. As says the title of one of John Stott’s books, “Your Mind Matters.”

  34. Jean says:


    You know that my view on government institutions has been consistent throughout the many years that I have participated here. I have been a defender of the mission and value of government institutions, from the Department of Education to Social Security and Medicare, the ACA, the CDC to the EPA, etc. I am not changing my mind. Moreover, I am not speaking against law abiding government employees, including good cops.

    For years, conservative have been complaining about government institutions. To a greater or lesser polemic, we have heard from conservatives that public education, EPA, CDC, IRS, are are either enemies of the people, a deep state or at the least an incompetent bureaucracy. Conservatives have been calling for defunding or eliminating one or more of these institutions for years.

    I find their indignation at calls for defunding police departments as laughable. It is not my position, but are not police departments bureaucracies? Are they not part of the deep state? I would wager that not a single person on this blog, off the top of their head (and without Googling it), could name all the law enforcement departments and agencies under the executive branch of the government. If that isn’t a deep state, I don’t know what is.

    So liberals are taking the defund argument straight from the conservative playbook, Do conservatives believe in this one particular case, that police departments are not bureaucracies? Are they appropriately accountable to the people? Do they waste?

    I am not African American, so I can’t really know what it’s like, but I can certainly empathize with the fact they fear the institutions charged to protect them more than their absence altogether. I do believe there is systemic issues in law enforcement, which run from the laws which govern it, to recruiting, to training, to supervision, to transparency, to community engagement.

    I believe people in this country, a country founded on immigration, built by slave labor (and don’t forget the Chinese who worked on the railroads) deserve and should demand tremendous reform of our law enforcement institutions. It may mean in some cases, rebuilding from scratch. But the people are demanded change. I hope they don’t stop until they get it.

    There is no greater responsibility of government than to provide and enforce a rule of law. Thus, we need them both. But as the OT makes crystal clear, our government needs to work with balanced scales. The scales of justice must be equal. The people must trust that justice will be equally applied to everyone.

  35. bob1 says:

    I can’t wait to hear President Dumpster Fire give a speech about race written by white nationalist Stephen Miller. I’ve got my popcorn and Big
    Slushie ready. 🙂

  36. Duane Arnold says:


    There is no common ground with wanton brutality…

  37. Kelly Sweatt says:

    I am not a theologian or a politician. I am just a white suburban mother with a heart crying out to God asking:

    Why is it so angering to the white community when racism is brought to the table for discussion? (this is coming from several discussions I and others have tried to have in the community)
    How much longer do mothers of black boys and young men have to fear every time their child steps off their doorstep?

    Why doesn’t the white community want to grieve and get angry when one of their black brothers or sisters is killed just because of their skin color?

    I can completely understand the violence due to the riots. I don’t condone it but I understand it. What have all the peaceful protests accomplished over the many years, decade after decade after DECADE? I understand the fear, despair and anger felt over ANOTHER death of a black man just because of his skin color.

    Someone mentioned to me today that it must be the same fear as a woman that has been raped of going out unprotected. I can say, coming from a woman that has been raped more than once, that the fear is nothing alike. I as a woman have no fear taking a jog in my neighborhood during the day. I have no fear calling the police if I need help. I have no fear walking into any store during the day. The fears a black man (and woman) feels is much more deeper than any fear I may have. The fears I have for my two sons is much deeper than any fears I have of being harmed. I never allowed my boys to ever go to the park alone because of that fear. (Tamar Rice) I never allowed my young boys to walk two houses down to a friend’s house with even a water gun because of that fear. Whenever my son drives by himself I have intense fear of him speeding…not because of a normal fear of him getting a ticket but because of what could happen if he was pulled over and an officer didn’t like the look of him. I have that fear when my son wants to ride with a white friend that doesn’t understand that you have to pick gas stations that look safe for a black man to walk into. And I know I am saying this all knowing about the privilege of being white.

    One of my sons is a smaller stature young black man with a very quiet demeanor. My youngest is a 13 year old very outgoing, loving-life and very loud and very big young man. I love both of them and their personalities. But I have to admit that my youngest’s size and personality brings a deep seeded fear in my heart because he is going to soon be a large loud 6’3’’ black man (and there has never been a more loving young man around) and that brings me to my knees in fear.

    Why isn’t the white community in an outrage because of all these deaths?

    Why are not white pastors talking about this on Sunday mornings more? And anger….where is the anger?

    I am just one mother and I don’t know what one mother can do but continue to speak and shout all the while teaching my young sons to have a healthy fear of other whites that may want to harm them for no other reason than being a black man. Don’t get me wrong, I do tell them not all whites are like this and there is hope. But they have to understand the serious repercussions of racism in the hope that it may save their life one day.

  38. Kelly Sweatt says:

    I join the peaceful protests because I want my black brothers and sisters to know that I grieve with them, that I want to understand their pain, and I want to hear their stories since I only have the experience of a white woman.

  39. Kelly Sweatt says:

    I want to take this time to look inward at my own relationship with God and my relationship with others and choosing to live out Philippians in loving those around me. It is a time of lament and grieving. The church has been silent when it should have been crying out long ago. In 2020 our neighborhoods are still segregated on the watch of the church. In 2020 the mostly black schools still don’t have enough textbooks for students – all on the watch of the church. In 2020 black families still have a hard time getting loans because the loan laws were written in the 20’s to prevent families from being able to own a home in black neighborhoods…all on the watch of the church. On 2020 the black race still has a disproportionately high instance of hypertension, kidney disease and heart disease because of the lack of nutrition for generations starting back in the time of slavery…all on the watch of the church.

    I am using this time to confess my sin: of not seeing everyone in this nation as God’s image bearers. Of how I have benefited from the system of racism in the US. Of how I have not used my voice against racism. Of confessing our nations history and systems that have not honored the image of God in all people.

    I am asking God to show me where I have apathy towards injustice. Where I have participated in dishonoring God’s image in others. I am seeking God in humbleness to learn from Him how to better love His image bearers.

  40. Mike E. says:

    Watch NY Police Union spokesman Mike O’ Meara paint police as the victims in all of this. Notice the testosterone juiced anger. Police killing black peoples’ children “does not happen” he says. This is why folks are calling for radical change in American policing. Because many of these people (not all, I completely understand and don’t need it pointed out to me) are in a different reality than what is. Notice too how many black police officers are in the crowd standing behind him. To use his own words, disgusting!

  41. Michael says:

    Kelly Sweatt,

    Welcome…and thank you for your thoughtful comments.

  42. directambiguity says:

    These two positions can be recast as causal narratives. One is what I call the “bias narrative”: racism and white supremacy have done us wrong; we can’t get ahead until they relent; so we must continue urging the reform of white American society toward that end.

    The other is what I call the “development narrative,” according to which it is essential to consider how a person comes to acquire those skills, traits, habits, and orientations that foster successful participation in American society. To the extent that African-American youngsters do not have the experiences, are not exposed to the influences, and do not benefit from the resources that foster and facilitate their human development, they fail to achieve their full human potential. This lack of development is what ultimately causes the persistent, stark racial disparities in income, wealth, education, family structure, and much else. (The charts and tables on this and the next several pages offer a glimpse of the magnitude of these disparities.)

    In terms of prescribing intervention and remedy, these causal narratives point in very different directions. The bias narrative says that we need to have a “conversation” about race: white America must reform itself; racism must end; we need more of this or that, whatever the “this” or “that” is on the agenda of today’s race reformers. One hears this kind of talk, one reads these exhortations, in newspapers and other media every day.

    The development narrative puts more onus on the responsibilities of African-Americans to develop our human potential. It is not satisfied with wishful thinking like: “If we could only double the budget for some social program, the homicide rate among young African-American men would be less atrocious.” Or, “If we can just get this police department investigated by the Department of Justice, then.…” The development narrative asks, Then what? Then it will be safe to walk on the south side of Chicago after midnight?

    — Glenn C. Loury

  43. directambiguity says:

    Here’s the link to the article I quoted above if anyone is interested.

    Why Does Racial Inequality Persist? Culture, Causation, and Responsibility
    Glenn C. Loury
    May 7, 2019

  44. Em says:

    directambiguity, lots to ponder in your second paragraph @ 8:27…..
    A Boys and Girls Club for after school mentoring and affirming efforts to grow? Maybe? Something positive.. . Sigh….

  45. bob1 says:

    “Economist Glenn Loury argues that this extraordinary mass incarceration is not a response to rising crime rates or a proud success of social policy. Instead, it is the product of a generation-old collective decision to become a more punitive society.

    He connects this policy to our history of racial oppression, showing that the punitive turn in American politics and culture emerged in the post-civil rights years and has today become the main vehicle for the reproduction of racial hierarchies.

    Whatever the explanation, Loury argues, the uncontroversial fact is that changes in our criminal justice system since the 1970s have created a nether class of Americans―vastly disproportionately black and brown―with severely restricted rights and life chances.

    — Glenn Loury

    We all need to find ways to help improve the lives of our African-American brothers and sisters. There are plenty of voices out there. Time to make things better — way past time, IMHO.

  46. bob1 says:

    I thought this was true:

    “The people who filled the pews today, lined the procession route or marched in protest, yet again on the nation’s streets, celebrated the man — the face that now stands for hope for our fellow citizens who for far too long have been smothered by bias, oppression, and an uneven playing field. When America refers to this moment, it will say his name: George Floyd.”

    — Lester Holt, NBC today

  47. Duane Arnold says:

    I’ve followed Loury’s career with interest since the 90s. He has changed opinions often in the intervening years. Much of what he says currently is helpful. Yet, it seems clear, that racism has less to do with the metrics of improvement among people of color and more with something that is deep in the American psyche…

  48. Mike E. says:

    To me, it’s pretty clear the onus to change needs to be first focused on the oppressive white social constructs we’ve had as a nation for 245 years at least, and 400 years when one looks at European historical oppression of Africans. Why should the onus be with them? They’re the ones who’ve been held down, generation after generation, by white society. Our entire system is based on white dominance and inequity that holds the black race, and other minorities down. It does not allow them to “seize the initiative.” Sure, there’s examples of many successful black Americans, but the people as a whole, it’s not so. And it won’t be so until White America makes concrete decisions in policy and legislation that removes the systemic white cultural dominance. An actual, not a farcical “level playing field.” And one of the first places for white America to start is our “justice” system. Let’s not mince words. There’s not justice for black Americans in the legal system, period, in policing or in the courts. And that, friends, is not only injustice, it is unrighteous, corporate white sin. And God has seen the oppression. And He’s angry about it. I find it interesting the Israelites suffered oppression and slavery for just over 200 years before God moved. But the calculation God gave to Abraham was 400 years. So..fascinating the time similarities.

  49. Duane Arnold says:

    Mike E.

    From the time of slavery, to Reconstruction, to Jim Crow, to the movement in the 60s, to Black Lives Matter, there is a continuous narrative. I think we need to listen to that narrative and measure what has and has not happened over against God’s plan in creation, the Incarnation and the most basic ideas concerning the nature of justice. If we do, we might come to some sobering conclusions…

  50. directambiguity says:

    How come black conservatives don’t agree with black and other leftists that America is racist?

  51. directambiguity says:

  52. Duane Arnold says:

    Whatever it takes to convince yourself… but the sort of people you describe are exceedingly rare, as you already know. Proving points by the “exception” proves nothing…

  53. Em says:

    Well…. I don’t think the problem is racism (have no experience with S.E. U.S.).
    From everything i observe, the problem stems from a lack of education, a lack of expectation…. the message the children get is that they are victims of white oppression. In reality they ARE victims, victims of political exploitation…
    Question is, how do we guide those children to realize that they DO have opportunities , that folk in this nation can work and achieve no matter their skin color?
    Just sayin…. cuz i can …. 😇

  54. Mike E. says:

    Duane–Could you elaborate briefly on the “narrative” and how it relates to God’s plan through creation and the Incarnation and measuring it against basic ideas about the nature of justice? What sobering conclusions might we draw?

  55. directambiguity says:


    I think school choice would go a long way, let these parents pick a charter school or something for their kids and perhaps some kind of incentive to stay married, these kids need dads. I think this would help a lot.

  56. directambiguity says:

    There are probably a million conservative black men at least besides women it just doesn’t fit the narrative.

  57. Duane Arnold says:

    Mike E.

    The narrative is of racial inferiority and, more recently, criminality applied to people of color. As I said in the article, it is the antithesis of what we see in Creation and in the assumption of humanity in the Incarnation. Justice, as in fairness, has largely been absent. It was absent in slavery. It was perverted justice in Jim Crow. It has been turned on its head in mass incarceration and systemic police brutality. Most important, too many of us have categorized these issues as “someone else’s problem”.

    My conclusion is that it is our problem, individually and corporately. Unless we deal with the systemic nature of racism in our society as a whole, any attempts at remediation will be just so many band-aids…

  58. Duane Arnold says:

    “There are probably a million conservative black men at least besides women it just doesn’t fit the narrative.”

    I’m sure there are. I’m not talking, however, about “right” and “left” in politics. Those are the categories you’ve brought to the discussion. I’m talking about right and wrong from a biblical and theological viewpoint. Racism is not just wrong, it is theologically bankrupt…

  59. JoelG says:

    Imago Dei church in Portland OR has a list of racial justice resources on their website. This is on my summer reading list:

    Be the Bridge: Pursuing God’s Heart for Racial Reconciliation

  60. MM says:

    “My conclusion is that it is our problem, individually and corporately. Unless we deal with the systemic nature of racism in our society as a whole, any attempts at remediation will be just so many band-aids…”

    Okay you and I have lived through all the turmoil and attempts a remediating the issue of racism in the USA and yet here we are with the anger and shouts of “systemic” racing. And again you maker blanket statements about how we have to “deal” with it and imply that past attempts are just band aids.

    Where is your solution(s)?

    Just saying this; “it is the antithesis of what we see in Creation and in the assumption of humanity in the Incarnation.” is just a repetition of words said so many times and by so many people over the decades if not centuries.

    In my lifetime across the USA and the world these remedies have been attempted and have often provided relief and progress to the issue of equality.

    School integration.
    Core curriculums of our public schools.
    Advanced education grants and opportunities.
    Political leadership positions (observe the race and genders of our political, corporate and religious leaders these days).
    Closing the pay gaps.
    The ability to have access to financial sources.
    Entertainment and media themes and heroes/heroines.
    News Media personalties.
    And the list of remedies can go on.

    So how is systemic racism defined and why haven’t these and other remedies proven to end and or provide greater life opportunities for people of all colors and genders?

    Here’s my answer:
    Because of what is in your’s and my hearts.

    It would and should be as simple as helping the men and women we find abused on the road by showing them personal care, kindness and respect.

    Stop telling (and yelling) and start doing.

    As a side note, it is amazing to me how the places and the people who are defining them, like Seattle’s new Capital Hill neighbor hood, haven’t brought peace, mercy and justice to the “conversation” at all.

    They have become the very thing they claim to be protesting against. Hatred, destruction, chaos and have empty hearts to those around them.

    “love your (my) neighbor…” is the second place where the healing will begin.

    Here’s an example of a very simple “act of love” someone did for me the other day.

    I stopped at my locally owned, and recently opened again for business, coffee shop with my grandson. Ordered my favorite beverage and pastry and when I went to pay the owner said its was covered. Someone ahead of me paid “it forward.” I don’t know who did that or why, but that kind of simple stuff is how this healing begins.

    Let’s hear, do and show how it’s done!

    All another new law will do is build a barrier which someone will want to tear down.

    Stop “systemic racism” by starting with me!!!!

  61. Duane Arnold says:


    It does start in our hearts… and it calls for individual, corporate and, very likely, national repentance. We won’t repent, however, until we see racism as sin.

  62. filbertz says:

    Ultimate change will happen within the individual heart, mind, decisions, and actions. Governmental “systemic” changes will be difficult to monitor and enforce and ultimately will not function as intended (bureaucracies are poor management models). All of us need to listen, learn, engage, and improve. Even if I (for example) am not racist, I need to learn to spot it, call it out, and be part of the conversation to change it. Protesters are accurate when they point out that silence is part of the problem.

  63. Duane Arnold says:


    As an African-American friend said to me, before there’s improvement we have to sit in the pain and listen… You’re right, silence is part of the problem…

  64. MM says:


    Each generation has to both desire and work hard to overcome the natural, genetic (yes it seems to be in our very nature and genetic make up) and programmed prejudices. We cannot blame the sins of our fathers and nor should we repeat those same sins out of ignorance.

    However, I find this statement of yours at minimum difficult and possibly pandering to the crowd.

    “and it calls for individual, corporate and, very likely, national repentance.”

    In my lifetime there has been no greater time in the history of humanity where teaching, training, opportunities and conversations about ending racism and prejudice have taken place. I can’t think of one institution in the USA and probably Europe which hasn’t either done its best or as required by law to effect this change in a positive way. So why have things come to a crisis and call for an end to these institutions of people and are replacing them with emptiness, no answers or solutions just nothing but chaos and destruction?

    I go back to the individuals. Corporation, businesses, governments, councils, clubs, and mobs are individuals. Sadly individuals follow other individuals, become groups and communities and begin to follow the mantras of their leaders. And what are the mantras those leaders today?

    To begin the process of “saving lives” it would seem they want to destroy the lives of others. Is that the method of revolutions and change? It would seem so for many.

    Why isn’t this being taught:

    I will not divide, I will love my neighbor!!
    I will help bring order and love to their lives!!
    I will respect their rights to live!!
    I will treat all men as God’s special creation!!
    I will repent and choose whom I shall follow today!

    A very good friend of our family said this truism, “when you disrespect the color of my skin and the life I live you disrespect God.” I added, “you also hate God.”

    And she doesn’t have a PhD!

    This I can take to the street I live in. No excuses.

    However, I know this to be true, without a God of creation there will never be a true end to racism as long as the economic and personal struggles to live are the end goal.

    My son once said to me when he was young, “the only reason I say, I’m sorry, is to not get punished.”

    When speaking of individual, corporate and national repentance he confession was more truth than anything in our media today.

  65. Duane Arnold says:


    I must say, this is the first time that I’ve heard of the suggestion of repentance to be “pandering”…

    Yes, it is individual, but it is also institutional. It is within law enforcement, the justice system and within the corrections system. Simply look at the statistics on sentencing between people of color and white defendants. In Ferguson there were an average of three warrants per household as fines were a major income stream for the city and law enforcement. This is more than individuals…

    Recently in my city, a video came to light of five policemen beating a single young black woman. They did it in concert with one another. There is a culture here that goes beyond individuals…

  66. bob1 says:

    Of course the individual is important.

    It’s naive to believe that we aren’t affected by others, the environment we live in, etc., etc.

    When we say structural change is needed, it’s things like the
    Portland police chief who resigned from her job, and an
    African American will become the Chief. She was only in the
    job six months. She said, “It’s the right thing to do.” Good
    on her!

    Without sharing of power, the individual efforts won’t be enough. I really believe it’s a ‘both and.’

    And yes, repentance as pandering? Bizarre.

  67. Em says:

    I’m a little tired of this racism mantra… My grandson is married to a lovely black woman. Her father and grandfathers are mature black men who rose above prejudice, achieved stable careers and families. One served our nation as a USN Seal. My daughter’s best friend was a black girl whose father was service manager for a major Seattle Auto dealer.
    I will say it again, there is exploitation of the Black community by a segment of those with political power. Victimhood preached to children, no matter their skin color, is toxic! These children need encouragement, challenges, mentoring. Yes, opportunities to find their niche in society. Not all of us can be bigshots with Mercedes, mansions and millions in the bank.
    There will always be bad actors, murderers, thieves -“evildoers.” They come in ALL skin colors and societal strata.
    I just heard a story of a young black male, solid citizen, who was walking through his neighborhood with an older white male – walking and talking. All of a sudden they were surrounded by cop cars as someone reported a suspicious person casing THEIR neighborhood. The police verified who these men were and left Bad actors and nervous nellys will always be part of the landscape. They don’t deserve affirmation from the rest of us.
    Give the fatherless kids a chance to learn, a chance to see what they can do that improves their lot in life. Shun the rednecks, the victim players and the spooks AND we can “all get along” together…
    Grow uo ‘merica…. 😏

  68. Jean says:

    “I will say it again, there is exploitation of the Black community by a segment of those with political power. Victimhood preached to children, no matter their skin color, is toxic!”

    We clearly have a long way to go as a nation, because this opinion is probably held by a fair number of people.

    You know what preaches victimhood to children? When they see their fellow black citizens killed by police repeatedly. Murder preaches. Discrimination in employment and housing preaches. Blackface and racial jokes preach. Long lines at polling places in black neighborhoods, as compared with polling places in white neighborhoods, preach. Discrimination in funding public education for schools with predominately black children preaches.

    Our society preaches victimhood to people of color pervasively, daily, victimizing and making victims, and what seems to be the case is that the preachers appear not to be willing to acknowledge the content of their sermons.

  69. MM says:

    Daune and to others:


    “pander to someone/something. — phrasal verb with pander to verb. us/ˈpæn·dər ˌtu, ˌtʊ, tə/ to please other people by doing or saying what you think they want you to do or say: She accused the other candidate of pandering to radical environmental groups.” Cambridge dictionary.

    Yep, we pander to the crowd and does include acts of repentance. Why is that?

    And this statement:

    “They did it in concert with one another. There is a culture here that goes beyond individuals…”

    Group think maybe; or is it the nature of individuals to be a part of the group or community? Why do we get tattoos, like Starbucks over the locally owned coffee shop, by a Toyota instead of a Ford, maybe we are sheep who conform to the group shepherd? Such is historic and recoded since humans have had the ability to record such things.

    My point, why don’t we as individuals go against the group narrative?

    Simple we are afraid it will bring harm or some loss to us.

    The proof of faith and belief systems are always in the accompanied actions.

    If we want to end “systemic racism” then you and I as individuals and members of groups need, no must make the change personally first. And repentance is about the change, not the confession.

    Laws will never make people have faith or act out of anything more than the avoidance of punishment. However, they may do one thing, protect the innocent from the abusers and like traffic lights bring some order to chaos.

    What common ground do we have? It obviously isn’t God, so where does the world go to achieve common ground and how do you make the definition of such commonly agreed upon?

    Eventually it ends up being authority and the ability to enforce the what the decreed common ground is.


    “Our society preaches victimhood to people of color pervasively, daily, victimizing and making victims…”

    What you just wrote has been pointed out more than any of us can count.

    So how are you going to effect a change?

    Pay it forward, what a simple idea each of can do.

  70. Em says:

    Jean, it appears that what you call “our society,” i call political machination – but it has been a long time since i have lived among the ignorant – I’m sure there are still pockets out there in every state…. we had quite a few midwest transplants in the neighborhood where we raised our children in the 70s .. Having black friends, my children felt the heat…. That was nearly 50 years ago, however

  71. bob1 says:

    Our society preaches victimhood to people of color pervasively, daily, victimizing and making victims…”

    Doesn’t matter how many times it’s said…doesn’t change the truth of it
    one bit.

  72. MM says:

    OKay let’s see what changes are being demanded, demanded, to end this systemic racism. From the City of Seattle and the takeover of Capital Hill, “CHAZ.”

    BTW has a very narrow tolerance for narrative and conversations outside their guidance, especially when it comes to ideas and conversations pertaining to the COVID-19.

    1. The Seattle Police Department and attached court system are beyond reform. We do not request reform, we demand abolition…

    2. In the transitionary period between now and the dismantlement of the Seattle Police Department, we demand that the use of armed force be banned entirely. No guns, no batons, no riot shields, no chemical weapons, especially against those exercising their First Amendment right as Americans to protest.

    3. We demand an end to the school-to-prison pipeline and the abolition of youth jails. Get kids out of prison, get cops out of schools….

    4. We demand that not the City government, nor the State government, but that the Federal government launch a full-scale investigation into past and current cases of police brutality in Seattle and Washington, as well as the re-opening of all closed cases …

    5. We demand reparations for victims of police brutality,…

    6.We demand that the City of Seattle make the names of officers involved in police brutality a matter of public record…

    7. We demand a retrial of all People in Color currently serving a prison sentence for violent crime, by a jury of their peers in their community.

    8. We demand decriminalization of the acts of protest, and amnesty for protestors generally, but specifically those involved in what has been termed “The George Floyd Rebellion” against the terrorist cell that previously occupied this area known as the Seattle Police Department. …

    9. We demand that the City of Seattle and the State Government release any prisoner currently serving time for a marijuana-related offense…

    10. We demand the City of Seattle and State Government release any prisoner currently serving time just for resisting arrest if there are no other related charges,…

    11. We demand that prisoners currently serving time be given the full and unrestricted right to vote…

    12. We demand an end to prosecutorial immunity for police officers in the time between now and the dissolution of the SPD and extant justice system.

    13. We demand the abolition of imprisonment, …

    14. We demand in replacement of the current criminal justice system…

    15. We demand autonomy be given to the people to create localized anti-crime systems.

    16. We demand that the Seattle Police Department, between now and the time of its abolition in the near future, empty its “lost and found”…

    17. We demand justice for those who have been sexually harassed or abused by the Seattle Police Department…

    18. We demand that between now and the abolition of the SPD that each and every SPD officer turn on their body cameras,…

    19. We demand that the funding previously used for Seattle Police be redirected into: …

    In addition…

    1. We demand the de-gentrification of Seattle…

    2. We demand the restoration of city funding for arts and culture…

    3. We demand free college for the people of the state of Washington, due to the overwhelming effect that education has on economic success…

    4. We demand that between now and the abolition of the SPD that Seattle Police be prohibited from performing “homeless sweeps”…

    5. We demand a decentralized election process to give the citizens of Seattle a greater ability to select candidates for public office such that we are not forced to choose at the poll between equally undesirable options. …


    “Although we have liberated Free Capitol Hill in the name of the people of Seattle, we must not forget that we stand on land already once stolen from the Duwamish People, the first people of Seattle, and whose brother, John T. Williams of the Nuu-chah-nulth tribe up north was murdered by the Seattle Police Department 10 years ago.

    Black Lives Matter — All day, Every day.”

    Where’s the common ground and how will this end for Seattle’s Capital Hill neighbors and our Nation as a whole. Oddly they posted a white man with an AR-15 rifle, which BTW was criticized when the “right” protested the COVID-19 lockdowns.

    We are not good at being true to about almost anything. Makes me want to agree with Calvin and his thesis on depravity.

    It’s all your this stuff mentally wears me out.

    Pay it forward to someone else and end “systemic racism.”

  73. MM says:


    “Doesn’t matter how many times it’s said…doesn’t change the truth of it
    one bit.”

    You want to change personally? Repeating something over and over again will allow one to memorize the slogan. However to make it a part of us we have to apply and repeat the action over and and over again, something we call practice.

    Practice, practice practice and we all hated hearing that from our music teachers. Which is why we don’t play at Carnegie Hall. But we can practice loving our neighbors until it be systemic in us (BTW the official scientific term is “myelination,” which refers to the changes in our nervous system through systematic and regular practice of a task. It probably applies also to the establishment of beliefs systems within our brains).

    Yes I understand the need to talk, but talk without doing is empty air.

  74. Duane Arnold says:


    It is an example of what one small group is saying… that’s all. You could find similar statements from any number of groups over the space of decades… on the right and on the left… They are equally ridiculous.

  75. bob1 says:

    I think a lot of the institutional change is going to come when various cities and municipalities reform their
    police practices with inclusion much more in mind. From what I’ve read even the last few days, that’s already occuring in many places across the country. The other channel will be the November elections.

    Personal change is good. But in this situation, I believe, it’s far from the whole picture needed.

  76. Duane Arnold says:


    I agree…

  77. Em says:

    bob1 @ 1:30
    The point is, telling a child that they are victims does NOTHING positive.. . Christians are victims of the unbelieving – God tells us to stand. There’s an old chorus ” Be strong IN THE LORD, gird your armor on… “. The song ends telling us to fight and i don’t think that is sound, but we can contend, we can stand… Teach the children to be strong, to grow. Nurture and educate them.
    I will not concede that telling some, especially a child, that they powerless victims is good. We, society, should be examining avenues that nurture and encourage them. Victimhood produces war, chaos and rebellion – what we’ve sown, we are beginning to reap now

  78. bob1 says:


    Doesn’t really matter that much what you tell someone…words and talk are cheap. Words and attitudes don’t always change everything. What’s needed is change, action, a willingness for people in authority to share power. Otherwise it’s all more or less window dressing. Sure, nurture and education are good…but often the resources haven’t been made available to them. Those are the facts. And that’s part of what the protests are about, iindirectly.

    And to tell oppressed folks that their attitude is the problem…well, I think that’s insulting
    and insensitive to them. Tell that to the family of Emmitt Till or George Floyd.

  79. Jean says:


    There is a fundamental disagreement among white Americans. There are those who don’t think there is any systemic racism in America and place injustice on a combination of liberal whites who encourage victimhood and lazy people of color. On the other side are people who acknowledge the systemic inequality that runs through almost all areas of life, which can be supported by data, and has its roots in history.

  80. MM says:

    “It is an example of what one small group is saying… that’s all. You could find similar statements from any number of groups over the space of decades… on the right and on the left… They are equally ridiculous.”

    I’m glad and happy for you, because you’re an expert in these things and you choose to de-value the experience others.

  81. Duane Arnold says:


    Try the political discussions of Monty Python in ‘Life of Brian’…

  82. MM says:

    Duane I need to clarify my statement and sarcasm.

    This is not some sort of small group think or as common as you state and or imply. These people have taken over the neighbor hood of a major US city and driven the police out, stormed the Seattle City Hall and called not only for the disbanding of the police but the removal of the City Mayor.

    They have used both threats and violence and have demonstrated the willingness to bear arms in the achievement of their goals.

    Their demands and narrative are a kin to all that has led up to the protests and violence of the present day. If you disregard the serious of the issue then you are sadly mistaken, a part of the problem and not the solution.

    Will it eventually be ended? Yes, but it may or not end well. Cooler heads should be involved.

    I am always surprised about how, if something does not conform to your narrative, you so easily brush it off, use a despairingly comment or ignore it completely. I guess you’re human after all.

  83. MM says:


    I have a lot of respect for the efforts of Michael and what he has achieved through PP.

    When I read stuff like this:

    “Try the political discussions of Monty Python in ‘Life of Brian’…”

    It makes me realize you are nothing at all like him.

  84. directambiguity says:

    “Racism is not just wrong, it is theologically bankrupt…”

    Racism is foolish, stupid, and evil.

  85. directambiguity says:

    “systemic inequality that runs through almost all areas of life, which can be supported by data”

    Data or political propaganda?

  86. Em says:

    bob1 @ 3:47… Much of what you say here i agree with… EXCEPT … 😁
    While talk IS cheap, words DO hurt children – especially when you enforce negatives

  87. bob1 says:


    Would it be even possible for you to quit running down Duane and attributing motives to him that you have no way of knowing? It’s getting really tiring.

    In fact, maybe you should find some place to hang out where you can do some good.

  88. MM says:


    “Would it be even possible for you to quit running down Duane and attributing motives to him that you have no way of knowing? It’s getting really tiring.”

    I’m happy for your support of him and your ability to speak what ever is on your mind, including your political prejudices you’ve mentioned in the past. But if you can’t take opposing comments or critiques of Duane then what’s the point?

    Is all you want sweetness and agreement with Duane’s subtleties and ideas? If so this really isn’t a conversation at all, just another narrative we should all agree with.

    Personally, in contrast to Michael’s approach, I find Duane’s comments on this thread very directive and in agreement with the general native of what is commonly being called the liberal media these days. Now that neither makes that direction right or wrong, but it does make it political and moving outside the purity of teaching our faith as Christians.

    I believing in doing and teaching doing. We are now in a time where doing love for others is essential. If there’s no middle ground in that then clang the cymbal a bit louder and joined the cacophony filling our street with chaos.

    Right now it’s your right as a citizen of the USA.

    And If you side with those who have taken the neighbor hood of good people in the City of Seattle then I feel very sorry for you. But that too is your right in the USA.

    Ask yourself whose neighbor hood is next and what is the good you see in that?

  89. Duane Arnold says:


    I’ve never really subscribed to a nationalist creedo. I’m a Christian first, before nationalist identification…

  90. Duane Arnold says:


    … and by the way, I’ve always considered Michael to be not only a friend, but a person of consequence and worth… We have always been honest in our agreement and disagreement. It’s a matter of respect.

  91. bob1 says:


    I think you need professional help. I don’t say this to be snarky. Your comments are obsessive when it comes to running down Duane, and maybe to a lesser extent, others of us who aren’t overall conservative.

    You don’t seem to be able to separate a person from his/her belief system. I feel sorry for you.

  92. Em says:

    Well ….. FWIW
    Although i completely disagree with many views on topics outside the Faith (& a couple inside, obviously) held here..
    I MUST appreciate ALL here who have come in repentance to the cross of Christ, who honor Jesus Christ as THEIR Redeemer, who know they and all the human race are
    desperately in need of forgiveness and reconciliation to our Creator….
    God keep … 🙏
    P.S. I believe that includes all who’ve posted on THIS tread

  93. Duane Arnold says:


    Many thanks, but this appears to be about partisan political concerns and little about matters of conscience or faith…

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