Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Derek Chauvin


In 564BC Arrichion of Phigaleia, the new Olympic champion in the pankration - a cross between boxing and wrestling - received his victory olive wreath posthumously.  Competing for his third Olympic crown, Arrichion had found himself being choked in a stranglehold from behind. Unable to free himself from the ferocious grip, Arrichion managed to grip his opponent's ankle and twist it until it broke.  In agony his opponent submitted, but by then the damage was done - Arrichion's throat had been crushed and even as he was proclaimed the winner, he breathed his last. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/3534988.stm)

Arrichion died because he could not breathe.

George Floyd died because he could not breathe.

Arrichion's opponent has been forgotten but George's assailant is Derek. 

Derek Michael Chauvin (/ˈʃvən/ SHOH-vən; born March 19, 1976) is an American former police officer who was convicted of the murder of George Floyd in MinneapolisMinnesota. The murder set off a series of protests in the Twin Cities and across the rest of the United States, later spreading around the world. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Derek_Chauvin)

In this season, I've been entrusted the opportunity to provide spiritual care to sworn officers and the communities they serve.  What I've heard from officers can be distilled to, "Chauvin #u(&*d up."  I share my experience among officers but do not speak for officers.

Derek and George placed me in crosshairs: an urban Black male among officers.  I'm asked, "What do you think about all of this, Alex?"  My mind has been on the Bible. 

Paul, the Apostle, wrote, "...all have sinned (read "#u(&*d up") and fallen short of the glory of God," (Romans 3:23)  The expletive is "hamartano" in Greek.  To "hamartano" is to miss the mark, fall short, come late, be behind, come short, lack, suffer need or be inferior.  Arrichion's opponent fell short, so did Derek and so have we.

Indignation may pounce if anyone compares us to Derek but our self-righteousness melts by considering the word "all".  All of what we do today, night or day, will unfold under the sky.  Orbiting astronauts share the same sky with each of us.  The totality of the sky is the totality of the inclusive language in Paul's indictment of those who've sinned.  All of us.

Arrichion died under the sky.  

George died under the sky.

Jesus died under the sky.

Jesus of Nazareth died because he could not breathe.  

Crucifixion was invented by the Persians in 300-400BC and developed, during Roman times, into a punishment for the most serious of criminals...Someone nailed to a crucifix with their arms stretched out on either side could expect to live for no more than 24 hours. Once the legs gave out, the weight would be transferred to the arms, gradually dragging the shoulders from their sockets. The elbows and wrists would follow a few minutes later; by now, the arms would be six or seven inches longer. The victim would have no choice but to bear his weight on his chest. He would immediately have trouble breathing as the weight caused the rib cage to lift up and force him into an almost perpetual state of inhalation. Suffocation would usually follow...  (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2004/apr/08/thisweekssciencequestions)

He died on a cross for our hamartano:  big ones and little ones, hidden ones and those caught on camera.  God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.  Christ died for our sins.  Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the name that is above every name. 

As the sky is above all things, so is the name of Jesus above every other name.  If the sky has seen what Derek did, and what we've done, how much more the Maker of the sky?  

Arrichion received a crown of olive branches under the sky.

George Floyd became a martyr under the sky.  

Jesus was raised from the dead under the sky.  

The Olympian and martyr had unexposed sin, for which Jesus died: so too readers and this writer.  In the wake of the Derek's verdict, we are still experiencing the result of sin.  Juries help; protesters help; politicians, schoolchildren, housewives and officers help; judges, preachers, businesspeople and homeless citizens help; straight, LGBTQI, White and colored people help, but each of us falls short.

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  We need a Savior.

And being found in appearance as a man,

he humbled himself

by becoming obedient to death—

even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

and gave him the name that is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:8-11)


  1. Powerful words from a messenger who serves a powerful God. Thank you for sharing these thoughts my friend. Honest, sincere, well thought out and written, but most importantly biblical references and truth with regards to the depravity of humanity and the reality that ALL...not just some sin. Blessings my brother and keep up the good work. I will be in touch soon.

    1. Pastor Bouyer, Thank you for your readership and life giving comments. Scripture is our gold standard and including in a blog is a privilege. Your blessing is received with gratitude. May the Lord prosper you, First Lady and the entire church family.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Alex, I'm always encouraged when I learn of how God is using you to shine the light of the gospel of Jesus Christ in our community, not only with our law enforcement personnel, but with others. There are always others watching and listening. Cindy and I consider it a privilege to assist you in your ministry. May God bless you and your family.

    1. Victor, Thank you for your partnership in outreach to first responders. In the Garden, the Father knew you, Cindy and I would be ministering together. Your teamwork is needed and appreciated. Together we are trusting Jesus for changed lives.

  3. Thank you Alex for taking the focus off of Derek and George, and putting it on Jesus Christ and the demonstration of God's great love for us. Thank you for reminding All of us of our common need for Salvation, which is only made available in Jesus Christ alone.

    1. In Christ alone my hope is found,
      He is my light, my strength, my song;
      This Cornerstone, this solid Ground,
      Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
      What heights of love, what depths of peace,
      When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
      My Comforter, my All in All,
      Here in the love of Christ we stand.

  4. Great job! AMEN and thank you for reminding us of Philippians 2:8-11

    1. Great God Sally. We serve the Great God of Philippians 2.

  5. Brother Alex, you are a true warrior for Christ. It takes the love of God, poured into our hearts to fight the good fight of faith (Rom.5:5; l Tim.6:10; II Tim.2:3).
    The Lord has given you a very special ministry for such a time as this. May his grace continue to work through you, in ministering to the broken hearted, and winning many souls to Christ.

    Pastor Louis E. Dixon Sr.

    1. Pastor Dixon, Thank you for sending words of life. The power of the Holy Spirit works through you and the community is strengthened by you. May this season of suffering produce perseverance; perseverance, character and character, hope in the soon coming King.

  6. All have fallen short. Thank you for this reminder. Let me stay focused on the cross.

    1. Chareese, We are thankful for the privilege of confessing the name of Jesus and join you at the foot of the cross.