My name is Bryan and I read your blog regularly (I’ve only
commented a couple of times). I noticed you posting on the immigration
situation (I read the one you posted today). I was wondering if you’ve
read Bob Ekblad’s book Reading the Bible with the Damned? It’s a
really good book. What he writes about has to do with the fact that he
works with a lot of Mexican immigrants and illegals (along with other
groups on the margins) and how he reaches them with the Bible by helping
them hear how it speaks to them. You might like some of his perspective in that book (or at least find it interesting).
One of the points he makes is that he doesn’t turn illegals in and he does whatever he can to help them and support them. He talks about how often illegal immigrants
(even the illegal immigrants who are pastors) don’t trust American
pastors because they think they’ll just turn them in because of the big
emphasis on not breaking the law and obeying the law of the land. He
says illegals think Christians are here to do the work of the government
and he cautions Christians about being too closely aligned with the
government (or at least to appear to be here to serve the will of the
government). Anyway it’s an interesting book that I think you might like
if you haven’t already read it.
Rikk Watts makes the point in preaching on the “give to Caesar what is
Caesar’s and what is God’s to God” passage that everything belongs to
God. At the least I would say people belong to God and people should be
our first priority as Christians, even above the law of the land (at
least it was to the people who helped escaped slaves in the underground
railroad even though it was against somebodies law). Another thing he
says a lot is that the Gospel “is not about law keeping, it’s about
people keeping”. I think as Christians we should be careful about how we
invoke the Bible in this issue because although it gives us direction,
so did the law and the Pharisees and scribes put the laws above the
people and loved it more than people. We can’t put the law above people
because only people were made in God’s image, not the Bible.
I’m kind of sympathetic to the immigrants myself, probably because I’m
half Mexican and I wonder what it would have been like if my grand
parents weren’t able to come to America ( I know my Grandfather was
illegal and only gained his citizenship after he fought for America in
WWII). I wonder if people who aren’t close to the issue or can’t see how
it would affect them too easily give their opinion on the issue. It’s
easy to say kick all the immigrants out or don’t let them come in and
make it a felony when you don’t know any or aren’t related to any and
your family came to America so long ago that it wouldn’t matter at all
today. I understand people having their opinion but I don’t think they
should hold it too tightly if they aren’t invested in the issue.
Something else I noticed is that people are giving reasons of fear of
terrorism or drugs as the motivation for what side of the issue they
fall on this. Fear seems like it should be one of the last things we use
in making decisions that have to do with right and wrong. Fear shouldn’t
be allowed to control our ethical and moral decisions.
Anyway just some thoughts. Please let me know what you think.
Grace and Peace,