Freedom to Welcome Refugees

Twitter is not real life, I remind myself as I spend my lunch break scrolling through feeds often filled with vitriol and rage, where the loudest voices appear to be the most numerous. After a disheartening foray into a world where anyone can share their hate-filled opinions without the accountability of human contact, I return to my desk. I return to telling the stories of resilient immigrants and courageous refugees, and the selfless compassion of churches and individuals who sacrifice their time, talent, and resources to welcome them into their communities.

I look up from my keyboard and out into the parking lot. I see an older white man, probably in his sixties, gingerly toting a covered infant car seat toward the building entrance. He pauses to glance behind himself, and from behind a parked car hurries a petite African woman, a length of bright floral fabric carefully wrapped and tucked around her waist. She catches up to the elderly man, and together they walk inside for an appointment with a caseworker.

This is the story I am invested in telling, the story of strangers becoming family, unexpected and beautiful.

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Little Bee: Book Review

"We do not tell our stories. Our stories are the tellers of us." - Little Bee In his 2010 novel, Chris Cleave tells the story of Little Bee, a young Nigerian girl, and Sarah, a British woman, whose lives are forever changed when their paths cross on a Nigerian beach. Both of these main characters take turns narrating their sides of the story, until all the pieces fall into place and the reader understands the tangled web that their two lives have created.

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God is Stranger Book Review

“Had I been so keen to know God my Father, Lord, Friend, and Savior that I had missed the Bible’s consistent teaching that God is also other, higher, stranger?” (8). It is this question that Krish Kandiah sets out to address in his book God is Stranger (IVP, 2017). He posits that in the parts of Scripture we tend to neglect may just be the stories we most need to grow a whole, robust faith.

After years of focusing on the “simpler, happier, apparently more inspirational” stories of the Bible, Kandiah finds himself in a refugee camp where he meets refugee families and listens to their stories of unimaginable suffering. As he flips through his Bible looking for Scripture to comfort and encourage them, most of the verses highlighted in its pages seem hollow in comparison to the tragedy of global displacement.

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Immigration and Population Control

Earlier this week legislative solutions for Dreamers, undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children, once again failed to pass the Senate, falling short of 60 votes. While the vast majority of Americans, both Republican and Democrat, are in favor of providing Dreamers with a pathway to citizenship, President Trump has refused to sign a bill that does not also severely decrease legal immigration by limiting categories for family reunification (also called “chain migration”). When so many Americans support a legislative solution, it seems as though it shouldn’t be that difficult for Members of Congress to respect their constituents wishes and vote the legislation through. However, when it comes to immigration reform, many GOP Members of Congress aren’t listening to their constituents at all. Instead, they’re relying on the false “expertise” of anti-immigration lobby groups like the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), NumbersUSA, and the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). These groups have presented themselves as concerned for the future of Americans, and have garnered the support of many pro-life Republicans. However, in reality they are at the forefront of radical population control, which is quite literally the opposite of being pro-life.

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4 Ways to Meet a Refugee

Every day refugees arrive in the U.S. from all over the world. They each have a unique story to share and their experience is invaluable for teaching us about the resiliency of the human spirit. Refugees have been cast in a negative light over the past several years. They have been called dangerous, a threat to our national security, and a drain on our resources. There are many posts on this blog that explain why this is not true. But while knowledge about refugees is valuable, I have found that it is actually relationship that changes people's hearts toward the displaced. Here are 4 ways that you can meet a refugee, in order to hear their story and build a relationship that may just change your life.

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Book Review: Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration

“Make America Great Again” Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan, so familiar to us now, is a battlecry of hope for some Americans, while for others it is a sinister harbinger of a less inclusive era. In the year since President Trump’s inauguration, countless opinions have been written to dissect his policies and measure his motives. And while it is still only possible for God to reveal what lies in a man’s heart, 2017 has shown us that many Americans are nostalgic for a time in our country’s past when they believe things were simpler. A time when globalization had not yet required us to live alongside people of other religions and cultures. A time when upholding your own values also meant upholding nearly everyone else’s.

Whether you too feel this same nostalgia, or are opposed to its very basis, Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear by Matthew Kaemingk is a book you need to read.

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