here are a few good things I’ve read this week:

&emdash; First, as Radical Congruency pointed out, TallSkinnyKiwi may have written the most important piece on ecclesiology so far this year. You need to go read it. Now. =)

&emdash; Miller asks perhaps the most important allegorical “What if?” question you’ll hear … today. (ok, this year … or in your lifetime) Well, would you?

&emdash; Mark shares his reflections — the good, the bad, and the ugly — on a year of living with another couple in intentional Christian community.

&emdash; Houston weighs in (sorta) on the immigration debate with this humorous post.

Last night, I heard D.L. Hughley on the Tonight Show talking about immigration. He quoted the poem at the base of the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, / Your huddled masses yearning to be free, / The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,” and said that if we don’t want immigrants here, we should sand that poem off. “Or at least add, ‘Except Mexicans,’ to the end,” he added. “Now we want to build this high wall down along the border,” he said. “We should at least engrave their names in it and tell them it’s some sort of monument to them.”

&emdash; Finally, some Episcopal churches in the Boston area are holding “U2charist” services, which will weave live versions of the Irish rockers’ spiritually bent songs into these churches’ normal liturgy.

What have you read of some profundity this week?  Do share.


17 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Terry from Texas on May 3, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    I attended a U2charist at a church in Fort Worth last November and it was really quite inspiring…even in a sweet non-high-tech Episcopal Church. “Father Fred” made everyone feel welcome as we shared the bread and wine together with Bono and the gang crooning in the background. Iloved it….go if you can.
    (Hopefully you will attend somewhere with a 21st century media system…Trinity Episcopal in FW has a slide projector…a pull up screen and a microphone strategically placed near a tape


  2. Your recollection of D.L. Hughley’s comment struck me. I liked it at first, because it makes good sense. Our country has always been a Melting Pot of sorts, eh? And, do we as Americans want that to end? I know that some do…but sheesh, it seems short sighted and cold hearted.

    However, I thought about those Immigrants who did come here, arriving at Ellis Island as it were, and signing their name on a roster and then becoming citizens, and then literally building our land.

    It would seem to me that there is an important balance here: We must never discard those who want to come and participate in our grand experiment, but we must always have a cautiousness joined with our welcoming hearts…a cautiousness which seeks to protect what our forefathers built for us.

    Hearts that welcome and protect are hearts that remember the sacrifices that came before and at the same time welcome the sacrifices that have yet to be made.


  3. Posted by Chris on May 4, 2007 at 3:01 pm

    I think it’s the INVASION aspect that we need to guard against.


  4. Posted by Steve on May 4, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    Unintelligent comments will not be taken seriously here, Chris. Want to try that again?


  5. Posted by Chris on May 4, 2007 at 5:46 pm


    Have you ever heard people along the border talk?
    It definately is an invasion.


  6. Posted by Chris on May 4, 2007 at 7:35 pm

    O.K., Steve let me try again. This is from Time magazine a couple of years ago and it hasn’t improved, in fact it is worse.

    “When the crowds cross the ranches along and near the border, they discard backpacks, empty Gatorade and water bottles and soiled clothes. They turn the land into a vast latrine, leaving behind revolting mounds of personal refuse and enough discarded plastic bags to stock a Wal-Mart. Night after night they cut fences intended to hold in cattle and horses. Cows that eat the bags must often be killed because the plastic becomes lodged between the first and second stomachs. The immigrants steal vehicles and saddles, they poison dogs to quiet them. The illegal traffic is so heavy that some ranchers, because of the disruption and noise, get very little sleep at night.”

    Just curious–what would you call it? Temporary guests, maybe?


  7. Posted by Steve on May 4, 2007 at 8:34 pm

    Chris – I’d probably call it “desperate,” because I have known immigrants — illegal and legal — for the last 7 years. East Boston, MA, is perhaps New England’s largest Hispanic population, comprised largely of immigrants from Central and South America (with some Puerto Ricans and Mexicans thrown in). Many of these immigrants came over here for work and have never been documented. (local businesses like the cheap labor, and the workers are getting paid much more than they would back home)

    I have met several men who left their wives and children back in their home countries so they could come work and have the opportunity to send a check home every two weeks. (there are check cashing and money-wiring locations literally all over my neighborhood) My neighbors are the most unassuming, peaceful people you’ll ever meet … they just want to earn a decent wage to help their families.

    Why don’t these people just “become legal” then? Well, the citizenship process is actually very difficult to navigate for non-English speaking immigrants, especially in large urban areas. And for men and women who depend on every hour’s wages just to survive (and for their families to survive), the time to learn English and go through the documentation process is quite costly.

    So I absolutely would never call this situation an “invasion.” That description makes my neighbors out to be violent occupiers, when in fact they simply want a chance to provide for themselves and their families in a nation more free than their own. These situations are complex, Chris, and never as easy as we often think.

    What do you think the role of those who follow Jesus is in the lives of immigrants?


  8. Posted by Chris on May 4, 2007 at 10:30 pm

    Actually some of them are violent, they bring all kinds of drugs in at the border. When the ranchers try to protect their property the government mostly sides with the Mexicans and the Americans get sued.

    I don’t think our country can stand much more of this. The Mexicans for the most part are not interested in learning English or becoming citizens.


  9. Posted by Steve on May 5, 2007 at 6:59 am

    Chris – A couple questions:

    Are you a rancher on the border?

    From where does your current knowledge base (and I use that term loosely…) about immigration come?

    Finally, you never answered my question: What is the role of Christians in the lives of immigrants?


  10. Posted by Chris on May 5, 2007 at 11:22 am

    The role of the Christian in the lives of immigrants should be the same as the role to any other person. My husband lives this out daily in his volunteer work at a couple of prisons.

    I am not a rancher but I have seen TV specials on the subject. Are you saying they do not tell the truth?

    Real immigrants come here, learn the language, they assimilate, seek to become part of the distinct American culture that exists here. That is not what is happening with all of this. It’s the job market being flooded, it’s not about immigration.

    I heard the other day where it is almost impossible for an African American or
    anyone else for that matter to get an entry level job in California because they are all taken by illegals.


  11. Posted by Mitch on May 5, 2007 at 1:44 pm

    I’d hire an immigrant (for a lot of jobs) over an American any day.

    Bottom line: we have no clue as rich, full-stomached Americans what it’s like to live in poverty and be forced to leave our country to survive. Sure, some people may bring drugs into this country, but you can say that about anyone, American or not. If you call yourself a Christian, your first priority should be taking a compassionate approach to dealing with everyone, not deciding if there should be a wall built between the U.S. and Mexico or what you can do to stop illegal immigrants from coming into our country.

    “I am not a rancher but I have seen TV specials on the subject. Are you saying they do not tell the truth?”

    I don’t think this statement deserves a response. I just think it’s funny.


  12. Posted by Chris on May 5, 2007 at 2:42 pm

    Google “ranchers, illegal immigrants” or something akin to that. Then you will see the problem.


  13. i’ve lived on ranches along the border of Texas and lived in a small town along the border for a significant part of my life… i’ve had my house broken into and my stuff stolen by illegals. but i’ve also worked alongside illegals who were better men than some i’ve sat next to in the pew.

    better men than me…

    i believe it is valid to say that it is an invasion and it isn’t.

    there are a range of experiences here and some of them are very bad while some are very good and a whole bunch of them that probably don’t really register one way or the other, maybe the bulk of them. most folks are just trying to live, including the people who have suffered from the flood at the Rio Grande.

    the question “Are you a rancher on the border?” might be asked of anyone on any side of this argument. if you were in a different pair of shoes you might feel differently about what’s true.

    and i don’t think its generally a good idea to deny the potential viability of a statement because someone gets their information from a source other than personal experience.

    i get a lot of my information that way.

    so do you…



  14. ‘…the citizenship process is actually very difficult to navigate for non-English speaking immigrants, especially in large urban areas.’

    I realise my comment might not be too welcome or popular here with any of you. But America’s citizenship process is not just difficult for the poor victim’s south of America’s borders. It is also very difficult for educated individuals who happen to speak English and are married to Americans.

    You might think that because my husband is not a poor person or Mexican or has tried through the legal system, he doesn’t count in this debate. But because of America’s immigration system and process, we have come to the conclusion that we will never be able to come back to the US to live permanently. It is much easier for me to get a British passport than for him to become an American.

    But you guys probably don’t give a damn.


  15. And as for your pithy question, ‘What is the role of Christians in the lives of immigrants?’, our church of over 2,000 Christians in the Dallas area new we were trying to stay in the US after my husband’s secondment ended 7 months after Sept 11, but no one lifted a finger or a prayer to help us stay. (I was’t angry then like I am now. I thought it would be easy.)

    Christians don’t always make things right.


  16. Posted by Steve on May 7, 2007 at 9:21 am

    Deb – Thank you for sharing that. Actually, your example of your husband’s experience is a case-in-point about the obstacles that face every immigrant — rich, poor, educated or otherwise — coming to this country.

    Those of us who were born in this nation (into privilege, no doubt) making quips like, “They should just become citizens!” is akin to the same demographic saying of the homeless, “They should just get a job!”

    It’s not that easy!

    Miller – I am not denying the viability of statements made outside of personal experience, but it has been my “experience” that people make some pretty sweeping, often damning conclusions on immigration … and homelessness … and poverty … and minorities … having never gotten the “other side of the story.” I asked “Are you a rancher?” because I was trying to get a feel for Chris’s closeness to the immigration situation in our country. If we’re not careful, we all can begin to believe what we want (even myself!) about a situation instead of developing a robust perspective on an issue.

    So, I ask again, what should the church’s response be to the “alien and stranger?” I ask this in all sincerity, not knowing a definitive answer.


  17. the church’s response cannot be separated from the individual’s response…

    so the more pertinent (in my opinion) question is this, what should my response to the alien and stranger be?

    i think the reason you don’t have a definitive answer is because there isn’t one. it all depends doesn’t it?

    its easy to talk about what the church’s stance should be…

    harder to ask myself what i should be doing


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: