Thursday, November 26, 2015

About the Refugees....

Articles, memes and opinions about the refugee crisis have been lighting up my facebook for the past few weeks. A lot of the stuff is clearly….bullshit….and is based more on knee jerk reactions than truth. Some of the links, though, lead to insightful, informative and thoughtful articles. Some of the opinions are balanced and not hateful. I am going to post some of the diamonds I found in the dung heap.

Two articles that might be helpful for Christian trying to make heads or tails of the situation were, of all places, on the Desiring God website. That is John Piper’s website. I’m really not all that fond of Piper or his Calvinist theology. He didn't write either of them. One of the articles was written by D. Glenn; the other by David Crabb.

We shut ourselves off so that we only hear voices from a narrow slice of the political spectrum, and then we listen to these voices day after day and week after week, so that they begin to shape our thinking in profound ways. 

How would we view Muslims if we were steeped in God’s words so that we were thinking his thoughts after him? What would be our perspective on the refugee crisis if the Bible, and not our favorite news channel, was guiding our thoughts and directing our behavior?

Good question…..

The article by D. Glenn ponders Eight Words from Jesus in a World with Refugees

Reminders of what Jesus actually said and how we might apply it to orphans, widows, sojourners, foreigners and enemies.

And I found the following comments in a short post written by Harry Monroe on his Facebook wall....

However, while I agree with those that insist ad nauseum that compassion is not the final word, I wonder why they don't acknowledge that it must be at least part of the equation. The fact that the second great commandment requires thought with regard to present realities does not mean it can be ignored: it only means that we must wrestle with realities in light of our convictions. God's Word is intended for the place where the rubber hits the road. Christian thinking must be both hard nosed and warm hearted in facing a depraved world as a redeemed people.

Remember Jonah? He didn't want to go to Nineveh, because he FEARED God's MERCY. God might be so merciful that he would have the audacity to hear the Assyrians' repentance and forgive them. Jonah didn't want that to happen. And, for all his faults, he was honest enough that he admitted he preferred that the Ninevites be damned. I read many of my friends essentially saying the same thing,

Me, too. There are people who post the most hateful messages about Muslims....all Muslims....and about their go to "love to hate" guy....Obama.

And another article I happened upon on FB….written by Scott Hicks, an immigration attorney (and UMC pastor)….details the vetting process for refugees. It is a realistic look at what the requirements and time frame for the process really are. He explains the interview process for refugees with very little documentation. It is rigorous and repetitive. Families are interviewed multiple times, together and separately, by trained investigators. He also talks about the much easier and quicker ways to gain entrance to our country if you are bent on destruction and terrorist acts.

Frankly, there is more screening of refugees than ever happens to get on an airplane. Of course, yes, no system can be 100% foolproof. But if that is your standard, then you better shut down the entire airline industry, close the borders, and stop all international commerce and shipping. Every one of those has been the source of entry of people and are much easier ways to gain access to the U.S. Only upon passing all of these checks (which involve basically every agency of the government involved in terrorist identification) can the person actually be approved to travel.

And check out the comments. While most were overwhelmingly positive, there were a few “Obama is a liar” ssdd remarks and some have even tried to get his post removed from Facebook. If the Facebook link does not work, you can read his comments within a blog post on Patheos.  

I am still sorting and pondering. The authors of these articles are all Christians. They write from a Christian perspective. I think as Christians we have to remember that we are not merely citizens of an earthly kingdom...but also of a heavenly kingdom that holds us to a higher standard of love and compassion.

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