Just in cased you missed the memo, here’s the news: no Syrian refugees can come to America indefinitely, no folks are allowed into US who hold passports from Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen.
And in case that makes you want to shrug, let me emphasize that the second part of that ban isn’t just about refugees, it includes residents, it includes GREEN CARD holders. You may not know what it means to have a green card, but I do, because if took my family ten years to get access to one and I still remember the long days standing in the hot sun on the Mexican border while we waited in line for our final approval.
Green cards are for permanent residents. That means people who live, work and have families here, not first time folks coming to America, but people who have built their lives there, got married here, have kids here. And who maybe, last weekend had a work trip to Canada for the weekend, and now can’t get back home to their families.
I find myself crying one moment and enraged the next.
And here’s what I just. cannot. handle. today:
Christians being stupid on social media and talking about how much safer we are now. You know why I can’t handle it? Besides the fact that is is 100% counter the biblical culture you profess to cling to, you also sound an awful lot like some voices from the 1930s that turned out to be on the side of history that I feel confident Jesus was not on.
Americans being stupid on social media. You know why I can’t handle it? Besides the fact that is is 100% counter the ‘American’ culture you profess to cling to (which is founded on religious freedom, separation of government powers to avoid one guy making all the decisions, and a welcoming of people fleeing persecution), you also just sound really freaking uninformed.
Church leaders staying silent. I can’t handle hearing a quick intro to a sermon about how God is in control followed by an exhortation to pray for our leaders before moving on to programming as usual. I can’t handle leaders who stand for ‘radical’ christianity staying silent because they don’t want to isolate anyone by talking about ‘politics’.
I know I’m supposed to be gracious. I know I’m supposed to take deep breaths and have love for all – the crazy facebookers and the hypocritical leaders and the Donald himself.
So I will ask for help because I don’t feel love, but I believe that He who is love is able to help even me. And I believe there is power in the humility of knowing, just as I am no better than any refugee, I am no better than any villain. I believe there is a God who can convict and comfort and give me a peace that surpasses understanding in trusting Him. But let me be very clear – that peace will not play out in me being ‘okay’ with this. It will not play out in less anger over injustice or less action or a quieter voice.
My peace and trust will play out in power, in action, in faithful stewardship of the things He has asked me to use to glorify His name: my words, my hands, my heart, my voice, my money, my time.
These are the three things I’ll be doing this week:
I’m ashamed to admit this wasn’t the first thing that came to mind and it’s maybe the thing that feels the least ‘useful.’ But maybe that’s because I’m thinking of the wrong kind of prayer. There are three kinds of prayer as far as I can tell:
- The kind that you say you’re going to do but never do
- The kind that is a gentle wishing heavenward; a thought tossed up.
- The kind that you do when people are dying and husbands are leaving and you plea with God like His intervention is your only hope
If we’re honest – when we say we should pray, we very rarely mean the third kind. Cause when the third kind comes, you don’t have time to talk about praying. It’s how you breathe.
Prayer is not a cover for lack of action. It’s not an caveat to get you out of uncomfortable conversations. If you’re doing it the way the Bible teaches (with all your heart) it’ll be the most exhausting action you take. The work that requires you turn yourself inside-out and causes you hunger from fasting and headaches from weeping. Active prayer. May God give me the grace to spend myself in prayer this week.
Call your representatives’ local office. here’s what you can say:
I’m —- —–, a constituent calling to ask <Name> to put pressure on President Trump to continue to allow refugees into the U.S. The State Department vets all refugees extensively. Turning away people in need does not reflect American values. Please ask the <Senator/Representative> to denounce all plans to deport refugees or eliminate programs to accept new refugees.
CARING FOR REFUGEES
Look, here’s the deal. If this executive order had gone through a little bit earlier, you wouldn’t live in America. Because there wouldn’t be an America.
Oh, and while there are many things that God says in the Bible that are hard and confusing and we have to wrestle through and make sense of – His attitude toward refugees isn’t one of them. He’s pretty explicit about it and He’s sort of obsessed with caring for them. Jesus points out that how you treat these outsiders is what reveals if you’re a Christian or not. Not how you talk about them being treated, not what you write on your blog about how they should be treated, but how you ACTUALLY treat them.
Not sure where to start? Google ‘refugee services in [your city]” then email them. Tell ‘em you would love to serve. (They might be busy, so go ahead and shoot them a follow up email. And a call too. And maybe even stop by their offices.)
I’m sure we all think about what we would have done if we had been around in the 1930s and 40s. We all wonder – would we have spoken up when the rhetoric began about the danger of outsiders? would we have protested when leaders began to isolate specific groups of people as a threat? would we have lost our damn minds when the Jews around us were required to carry identification cards?
I guess, now, we all get to find out.