Matthew 22:36-40 “Master, which is the great commandment in the law?  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.  This is the first and great commandment.  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

I Timothy 1:1-2 “I exhort therefore, that first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.”

The following is a slightly modified version of a message I sent to my deployed organization yesterday:


You are undoubtedly tracking the painful news from home regarding the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the nationwide unrest that has followed.  I can only describe it as heartbreaking.

It is heartbreaking that our nation continues to struggle with severe problems of discrimination, bias, and inequality.  It is heartbreaking that these problems are sometimes manifested in the actions of our public and community servants.  It is heartbreaking that some have seized upon this situation as an excuse to sow discord and prompt violence.  It is heartbreaking that noble institutions like the police are facing a severe crisis of credibility because of the actions of a few.  It is heartbreaking that our brothers and sisters in arms are facing a political tug of war as they are called upon to take action to support overwhelmed communities.

It makes it all the more heartbreaking that we are away from our homes and our families at such a time as this.  It is heartbreaking that this situation provides ample ammunition to our adversaries.  It is heartbreaking that we here struggle to determine what we can do about it.

Here is what we can do!  We can reach out to our friends and families and remind them how much we love and appreciate them.  We can commit ourselves to fostering an environment within our organization that is characterized by dignity and respect for all people.  We can demonstrate those characteristics and that environment to our host nation through our words and our actions.  We can explain to our hosts that we are an imperfect nation that strives to be known for upholding its amazing founding values, but that sometimes falls short.  We can stress to those with whom we interact that justice will be served in Minneapolis and that this turmoil will prompt much-needed discussion throughout our communities as we seek to better live up to those founding values.  We can pray for our nation, for our communities, and for our leaders.

Please know that I am committed to fostering an organization that is truly characterized by dignity and respect for all people.  If you see us falling short of those principles in any way, please let me know immediately.  In the meanwhile, I am proud to serve alongside of you.”