Brickner: Fireflies in the night

Joan Brickner, Forum Readers Board

In Michigan, I recall summer nights sparked by fireflies. Their twinkle was almost like Christmas lights. Kids might capture them in jars.

I don’t see fireflies here, but I still seek them in the chaos, in the dark.

The dark of over 120,000 COVID-19 deaths.

The dark of the response to the disease, turning masks into political statements, or dismissing its severity.

The pall of the deaths of George Floyd and others, prompting protests – many of value, but some descending into chaos. Why not petition the city for statue removal? Why not do a little history check, so that you’re not tearing down statues of U.S. Grant or Lincoln? Dark ignorance.


Or a president who raves about protecting the bloody heritage of the Confederacy; traitors willing to die for the “states’ right” of violent slavery, treating blacks as sub-human.

White evangelicals support amoral self-interest. Hoodwinked, perhaps, by a president who stands before a church he does not attend, to hold a Bible he does not read.

The sinister dark language of lies that promote bigotry towards Asians or Democrats, of fear mongering that turns Joe Biden, “Uncle Joe” into some left-wing Godzilla, roaming the country to destroy our institutions. A president who claims he’s done more for blacks than any president since Lincoln, forgetting the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of LBJ.



  • Brickner: One of the good ones

But I find light in the darkness. Those fireflies.
I find light in seeing conservative Mitt Romney march with protesters, declaring “Black Lives Matter.”

In the mornings, I find worship songs and a Joshua Dubois devotional.

I hear Max Lucado messages of spiritual encouragement.


I find light among those promoting truth. People still call this a Christian country. If so, it would be wise to remember something Carl Lentz said several years ago: “The racial division in our streets reflects the shallow Christianity in our churches.”

T.D. Jakes hosted a powerful meeting on race with several younger pastors and a psychologist. He said, “Our silence is abuse.” Judah Smith admitted his silence rested on his fear of losing members.

Jakes said, “When your missionaries are your masters, the message gets polluted.”

Black Americans were taught a gospel that twisted the message: focused on verses of that supported slavery, not the verses of justice, equality or love, like, “If you do not love your brother who you do see, how can you say you love God who you do not see?” Or a passage in which the complaints of the Greek widows, were not silenced, but solved.

Jakes added, “I don’t want to go back to the Founding Fathers…I’d be picking cotton.” Not all heritage is praiseworthy.

At Flame of Faith Church, in West Fargo, I find light in a small book club on Austin Channing Brown’s "I’m Still Here; Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness." As the only Black person in the group, I am free to share a different perspective; bonding in ways I might not have otherwise.

Connecting with my husband and friends, giving to others also illuminates.

Worship, truth, and fellowship – these are my fireflies in the night.

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