A Grenade

I know what you're thinking..."Enough with the TFIOS metaphors." But this post has nothing to do with Hazel Grace and Augustus and everything to do with what is going on at the border of my beloved state, my home sweet Texas, and the southern borders outlining America. 

Yep. I'm going THERE. 

Confession: I've purposely ignored the crisis at our border. I caught glimpses of images on the news, heard bits and pieces from soundbites, gleaned a few facts from newspaper and internet articles. But I chose to keep my head in the sand on this issue. I continued writing my words, reading my books, enjoying my vacation, and living my easy suburban middle-class life. It's been a Summer of bliss. And indifference. 

And I am ashamed. 

This is wrong. 
This is unchristian. 

Thanks to a Friday morning Facebook scroll, the veil of indifference was yanked away. 

First, I came across a beautiful blog post by my girl, Jen Hatmaker. If you know me at all, you know that I ADORE Jen. (I talk about her like we are BFFs because I think we would be if we ever met.) Her words, her faith, her humor, her view of the world and her place in it all align very closely with mine. (This is an example of how social media can connect you to people in rich and wonderful ways.) This post is about Jen's trip to Rawanda and her passion for this country that is trying to rebuild after the atrocities of genocide. She describes the important search for justice in a country with broken systems, and how we, suburban middle class Americans, can get involved through the International Justice Mission (IJM) and Noonday Collection. Jen's Facebook comment thread in response to this blog post is a beautiful example of humanity--everyone rallying around these Rawandan women and their fight for justice. 

With tears in my eyes, warm-fuzzies coursing through my heart, and a prayer on my lips for the beautiful, brave women and children of Rawanda, I continued my morning scroll and landed on another beloved Christian blogger, Kristen Howerton who writes Rage Against the Minivan. She had a link to this article written by David R. Hensen and the title caught my attention: "The Evil at Our Borders: Migrants, Refugees, and the Spiritual Crisis of Immigration."  I clicked and read, not knowing that my warm-fuzzies would be replaced with shame, guilt, and anger. 

This post unpinned the grenade and rolled it into my conscience. 

Even though Hensen's article is written in response to the protests that occurred over the last month in Murrieta, CA, I think it applies to the crisis at all of our nation's borders. Let me make it clear that I don't agree with every word of this post. I don't feel like I have enough information to make a completely informed opinion about every point that he makes. But one chunk has stuck with me and prompted me to write this morning. I can't get it out of my brain: 

"So, if you consider yourself pro-life, you had better be on the side of life on this one. And that means asylum for these child refugees.
If you take the Bible to be God’s literal, inerrant truth, then you had better be on the side of these refugee children. God is unequivocally clear in Scripture that we are to welcome the alien and the refugee, not question them, detain them, and deport them.
If you want to be a Christian, you have no choice but to let the little children come. You have no choice but to welcome the stranger, who just happens to be your neighbor."
Unfortunately, I read the comment thread on this article, and it did not represent the best of our humanity. Not at all. 
But I couldn't help but think about these two posts and see the connections between them: 
  • both are about the suffering of innocent children
  • both are about a lack of justice
  • both are about broken systems that require a response
  • both are about a problem that calls for American Action
The one big difference is that the Rawandans are still in their home country; these refugee children are trying to come into our's--illegally.  

To some that makes all of the difference in this debate. 

My eyes are open now. This debate has been ongoing, and most of it is taking place behind the protection of a screen, which sadly has become the way of the American Response in this age of social media. Fingers fly across keys hurling insults, blame, and accusations. Some might think this is hypocritical of me to state because you think that's what I'm doing right now with the writing of this post, but I'm not looking for someone to blame. I'm not trying to criticize, to judge, to hurl insults. 

This is wrong. 
This is unchristian. 

Writing is my way of thinking--my way to wrestle with this issue and how I will respond. 

All I know is that I can't keep the veil of indifference pulled firmly down over my face with "not my problem" as my mantra. 

When I was in the classroom and my students read Ellie Wiesels' Night, his haunting memoir about surviving four concentration camps, I always shared this quote by Edward Yashinsky and asked my students to write an analysis of what it meant to them: 

"Fear not your enemies, for they can only kill you. Fear not your friends, for they can only betray you. Fear only the indifferent, who permit the killers and betrayers to walk safely on the earth." 

This quote has been banging around in my brain. 


It is wrong.
It is unchristian.

So...what do I do? This is a COMPLICATED, COMPLEX issue that has many sides to analyze and examine. Do I hop into my minivan and drive down to the border and load up some of those precious children to bring home with me? I don't know if this is the right solution. But I do think we need to start a CIVIL conversation, and  I don't think it needs to be in the form of a rant on a comment thread. I think this conversation needs to start

in our hearts
in our homes
in our families
in our churches.

And here's the question that needs to guide the conversation:

What would Jesus do? 

We Christians like to throw that question around don't we? We wear it on our arms and on t-shirts.  We've even reduced it to a catchy acronym: WWJD?  But if we are really honest with ourselves, that question can be a grenade. When unpinned and rolled into the depths of our hearts, that question can blow up every bit of our comfortable, controlled lives. If we are honest, the answer to that question can change EVERYTHING and rock us to our core.

It's a scary, yet essential question.

So I will start with prayer. And I will keep my eyes, ears, and mind open to this magnanimous problem right now. I will not ask God for the American Response, but for the Christian Response.

What would Jesus do? 

The question starts with me.


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