The very evident systemic social and political problems in the United States are not likely to be solved using the systems of the United States. How can the very system, with built in tricks, traps, and dead-ends (reserved for certain types of people) resolve it’s own deficiencies? How can we even call them “deficiencies” with a straight face?
When something works the way it’s designed to work, that’s an indication of the absence of deficiencies. If a plant takes in carbon dioxide, while also receiving photons emitted by the sun, and those photons make contact with chlorophyl, then the plant turns green and releases oxygen, we would hardly call the green leaves and the oxygen we breathe indications of a defect. We call that photosynthesis.
Now let’s say that a group of law enforcement officials, tasked with—let’s say—executing a warrant in an attempt to retrieve monetary evidence (read: cash) of alleged drug crimes. Then let’s say the person named on the warrant has already been arrested, but these law enforcement officials still want to seize the ca—I mean—secure the evidence. It’s a bit of a conundrum, but they’ve got a plan for how to work out the inconvenient details.
Preparing to execute this warrant, these sworn officers case the location and make ready to breach the door. Since they possess a “no-knock” warrant, they intend to enter the premises without warning.
It’s night. The occupants of the apartment unit are in bed. The noise caused by the entry of the officers wakes one of the occupants—who is unaware of the identity of the person or persons who have broken into the home where he is staying. Prepared to defend himself and his girlfriend, asleep in the bed, he grabs and discharges his legally carried firearm.
Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion dictates that, “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
Defying physics, the law enforcement officers unleash a barrage of bullets. 32 shots ring out. As many as 25% of them entering the body of the woman in the apartment, who had been asleep in the bed. That night, 26 year old Breonna Taylor, a first responder herself, died.
Oh… Breonna and her boyfriend are Black.
So, let’s say all that happened, and then the highest law enforcement official in the state where this takes place says that his fellow law enforcement officers… the ones who let off 32 rounds into Breonna Taylor’s apartment, killing her… are not responsible for her death. The only bullets anyone has to answer for are the ones that did not hit anybody.
If this all happened, one could hardly say there was any problem or defect in this system of justice. It protected exactly who it was designed to protect. From its very conception, the United States justice system was never designed to protect Breonna Taylor, or anyone else who might fall into her ethnic (and gender) category.
On one occasion, as recorded in Matthew chapter 12, a demon-possessed man was brought to Jesus. Not only was this man possessed by a demon, but he was also unable to see or speak. Jesus restores the sight to his eyes and verbal communication ability to his mouth. People who see this are amazed and (correctly) speculate that Jesus might be the Son of David.
Some religious leaders heard this, and in their jealousy and spite, gossiped amongst themselves that Jesus probably got His demon-casting power from the devil. Jesus didn’t even have to hear them say this, because He knew their thoughts (since He’s God). He took the opportunity to challenge their erroneous assertion.
Jesus, in so many words, said to them, “Now how the devil gonna cast out demons? What’s that gonna look like? How in hell can hell cast the hell outta somebody? What sense that make?”
Narrator: In fact, it made no sense at all.
(If you didn’t read that in Morgan Freeman’s voice, you can’t be trusted)
“Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand.”Jesus of Nazareth
This is simple math. Division always splits up the original number. The same is true for every kingdom, every city, and every home. I imagine the same is true for systems as well. You cannot effectively use a system to break down that same system.
In one of his follow up letters to the church he had set up in Corinth, the Apostle Paul explained:
2 Corinthians 10:3-5 | “For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
Paul also explains this to the members of the church he planted in Ephesus:
Ephesians 6:12 | “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
He then institutes the original ‘stand your ground’ statute (verse 13), and tells us how we should gear up for this fight. We can stand firm and fight the systems of this world with this armor:
- The Belt: Gucci, Ferragamo, or Gap, fastening our belts will help to keep us from getting caught with out pants down. We would look kind of dumb (and well exposed) standing firm with our pants around our ankles. This belt is the TRUTH.
- The Breastplate: A breastplate covers your whole chest area—all of your vital organs; most importantly, your heart. Our hearts must be guarded! The breastplate is RIGHTEOUSNESS.
- The Shoes: You’re never really ready until you’ve got your shoes on and tied. You’re never going to tie your shoes and get in the game unless you’ve got peace that you’ve been prepared. The Gospel gives us that assurance.
- The Shield: Not the show; an actual shield. A shield can’t stop things from being thrown or shot in your direction, but it can block the attacks. This shield is our FAITH.
- The Helmet: Head shots will take you out. Helmets protect your head. Protecting your head really is a matter of life and death. The helmet is quite literally SALVATION.
- The Sword: Without an offensive weapon, our armor is nothing more than an elaborate costume. God didn’t save us from the penalty of our own sin just so we could play dress up. The sword is GOD’S WORD.
Once we’re geared up to fight the system, all that’s left is to pay attention and pray. Be alert… and pray. Watch… and pray.
To win this battle, we’re going to have to stand firm and advance against these powers. Take notice: no part of this armor is designed to cover our backs. God’s got our backs so that we can continue to move forward! The system isn’t going to fight itself. Counting on that type of division doesn’t add up.
Keith Goosby II is the founding minister of NET Church. He has served in ministry for over 20 years, in various capacities–including music, social media management, teaching, preaching, consulting, and leadership. Keith’s first church experience as a child was a home church. Since then, he has attended and served at churches sizing from just a few to over 10,000–of various denominations and affiliations. As NET Church is being planted, Keith continues to serve at his Dallas home church, Golden Gate MBC, in Dallas, TX, under the leadership of Minister Vincent T. Parker. Keith is married and currently lives in the Dallas area with his wife and three sons.