Do you picture a Mexican day laborer? A family you saw at the grocery store (buying tortillas)? Perhaps your mind drifts to political pundits and their squawking on telivision?
Here are just a few phrases that came up when I did a Google search on immigration:
- “America does not have an immigration problem it has an illegal immigration problem” –Yahoo! Voice
- “My solution to immigration begins with eliminating incentives for people to come to America illegally.” – Teen Ink
- “Leave. They don’t deserve equal rights, they are the reason California is so broke. Along with other states.” – Amanda on Yahoo! Answers
- “What do other nations do if someone crosses the border without permission? During war time, we should shoot to kill, that would stop most of them.” -Yahoo! Answers
Notice a trend in the comments? Is there a name used? A face? An individual story?
As a Christian, what should you believe and who should you support? Here are a few thoughts from Christian leaders taken from www.patheos.com that moves the conversation from a political platform into a biblical arena.
M. Daniel Carroll R. (Rodas) Professor of Old Testament at Denver Theological Seminary:
“What might a more fully biblically informed response to the immigration challenge look like? Where would it begin? The starting place of a discussion determines in large measure its tone and content. If we begin with Genesis 1 and the fact that all humans are created in the image of God with infinite worth and great potential, the debate will be quite different than what is witnessed now in media sound-bites. It will focus on persons with needs and gifts that can contribute to the common good, instead of taking a default negative defensive posture against newcomers in our midst.”
Jeff Barneson staff member for InterVarsity’s ministry to faculty and graduate students at Harvard University:
“What if God’s intention in the hyper-diversification of our country is akin to what happened when the Romans sacked Jerusalem in 70 A.D.? Historians question whether the message of the early Christians, without the presence of the Romans, would have spread beyond the local setting of Jerusalem. What if the present situation in the United States is just another accelerated opportunity to bring good news to people who are more than ready to hear it? I believe it with all my heart: If we spend all our time and energy on the policy discussion, and never reorient our perspective and realign our congregations to engage with actual immigrants and their actual circumstances, we may miss out on the extraordinary opportunity that God has placed in front of us.”
John March is a church planter, a pastor in Edina, Minnesota, a writer, and a blogger at Pilgrim March:
“We are all immigrants and sojourners in the world. As Christians, our primary allegiance is to God and to God’s kingdom. We are first and foremost citizens of heaven. Often times immigrants understand this intuitively because they are outside the dominant power culture in the country to which they come. White Christians living in the suburbs of America (like myself) are wise to recognize this implicit advantage immigrants have in living as though they are aliens and sojourners in the world. There is much we can learn from them. (1 Peter 1)”
Kelly Monroe Kullberg is an InterVarsity minister, author/editor of the bestselling Finding God at Harvard:
“Let’s leave behind the rhetoric and the easy sloganeering and confront the hard task of discernment. Just as Paul taught the Church to delineate among widows in order to find those for whom the Church would provide, we are called, I believe, to make difficult and principled decisions about stewardship and about providing the conditions for healthy flourishing communities that can welcome many strangers not with hostility but with hospitality. With kindness and grace. Obedience to the whole counsel of Scripture yields sustainable growth and goodness to those in need.”