I should probably be working on one of my three term papers right now, but something is on my mind. Also, this one is just for the Christians. If you’re not a Christian, go ahead and read it, but it’s not really directed at you.
As I am writing this, 17 state governors have declared that they will not accept any Syrian refugees. I’ve seen a lot of praise over this, largely coming from Christians.
I understand the fear. Really, I do. It is, I admit, quite plausible, as we have seen from Paris, that ISIS operatives can and will sneak in with the hundreds of thousands of people fleeing from certain death or worse. However, there is a holocaust going on, and speaking for myself and I am sure many others, we cannot understand the coldness toward refugees coming from other Christians. If you will please stick with me for a few paragraphs, I will explain why we just don’t “get it.”
I was raised in a small-town Baptist church. I was taken there Sunday morning, Sunday night and Wednesday nights. I don’t care how much you like to goof off, if you spend that much time in a church, you’re going to pick up on major themes whether you want to or not.
One of those major themes is that we should be courageous. Another is that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. Another is that life is eternal.
These themes are all over the Bible. “Be strong and courageous,” God told Joshua. “Perhaps you are here for such a time as this,” Esther’s uncle said. “Do not fear those who can kill the body,” Jesus said. Jesus also told a story that would be, on the danger scale, the equivalent of a Native American carrying a bloodied and beaten white man into an Old West town saloon for help in the pioneer days. (The Good Samaritan)
And the stories didn’t just include Bible stories. Just about every evangelical (especially Baptists) know and praise the Jim Elliots of the world and their wives. If you don’t know, Jim Elliot was a missionary to somewhere in the Amazon. He and several others were killed by the natives. Later, their wives evangelized the same people who killed their husbands!
We were taught to admire people like that. The idea that nothing, and I mean absolutely NOTHING in this world is more important than expanding the Kingdom of God — not even my own life — has been drilled into me since I was a small child. And, you know what? I believe it’s the truth still!
Am I not supposed to actually believe all that stuff? I find myself today witnessing some Christians who seem to want to be as not like Jim Elliot as possible. I do not understand this. This is what I do not “get.”
For years and years and years it has been nearly impossible to get missionaries (even sneakily) into parts of the Middle East. It’s so dangerous, some, assuming they can even get in, are likely to be killed so quickly they can’t do much evangelizing. And now, hundreds of thousands of beaten, hurting, orphaned, widowed (google “pure and undefiled religion) and broken people are trying to come to US.
Is it possible that a small percentage of them want to kill us? — Let me counter that question with another question:
Does it matter?
Maybe it’s because I grew up in a post Columbine, post 9/11 world that we youngsters think this way, but refugees or no refugees, some folk are getting murdered in the United States today. Refugees or no refugees, there will be another school shooting somewhere. Refugees or no refugees, terrorists will find a way. Life is terminal. You WILL die.
I find it astonishing that many people want America to be recognized as a Christian nation. God forbid!
“Dear Syrian refugees,
We, the Christian nation of America, do not want you. There are some bad eggs mixed in with y’all. We’ve seen the photo of the little boy who washed up on shore. We’ve heard from Christine Caine and the A21 people who talk about how desperate the situation is. But we also have some news sources that told us that it’s all men and the women and children aren’t even there! Whew! You almost had us fooled! Have a nice life in that land of opportunity you just floated to, the bankrupt and socially troubled country of Greece. We’ll send some food over for a while. Please, steer clear of the human traffickers and report all suspicious activity to the police.
Maybe I’m just wound up. I suppose it’s possible to be too wound up or emotionally stirred at something like this. But if you want to curb my youthful enthusiasm, here’s all you need to do:
Open up a Bible and make a convincing argument that Jesus wants us all to be safe more than he wants us to reach the lost and help the hurting. I was taught, after all, that Jesus trumps all — even those teaching me that Jesus trumps all. Am I supposed to believe that or not?
It’s not like I’m declaring all of us must quit our jobs and go. But not only will we not go, we don’t even want them to come to us? I am genuinely confused. Somebody help me out here.