4 Ways that you’re not helping the immigration debate

Sorrow.

That’s what my wife and I have been feeling this week as we have tried to follow the news regarding what is going on at our nation’s southern border (news, which, as time passes, will be forgotten in favor of other “news”). First and foremost it’s a sorrow for those families that have traveled far to cross our border only to be separated from one another. But it’s also a sorrow that breeds from watching conversations take place in the news and on social media. The lack of compassion, the jumping to conclusions, and, dare I say, the blatant ignorance that has come out of these conversations has been painful to watch.immigration-03-ap-mt-180623_hpMain_4x3_992

(photo credit)

In light of this, I would like to offer some solutions. These aren’t solutions to our immigration problems or ways to even help those who are coming across the border. Others have proposed and explained things that will be more helpful than what I could say on those matters (Treating them like Jesus, Following Laws and Being Gracious, Understanding the Flores Agreement). Instead, these are solutions to our conversational issues. There are many awful conversations on every side of this debate and I would like to address some of those. Some have been logs in my own eye, while others are specks in yours. Either way, please take these to heart the next time you’re considering speaking (or sharing a post) about the immigration debate (or any debate, for that matter).

Comparing this to…
…everything. Our current crisis at the border has now been compared to so many things. If you lean progressive, you are likely to compare Trump’s orders to Hitler and his concentration camps. If you lean conservative, you are likely to say something akin to “if you don’t care about aborted babies, why do you care about immigrant children?” Either way is unhelpful. As a society, we need to educate ourselves in a type of public discourse that can demonstrate the objective wickedness of a matter without fulfilling Godwin’s Law. We need moral absolutes. The separation of families can be wicked on it’s own accord without needing to be compared to Hitler, abortion, or any other atrocity. Some might not find it to be wicked, some might blame the parents or societal factors (more on that below), but over all let’s have conversations that can address the morality of this issue without feeling the need to draw up comparisons or red herrings that detract from the issue at hand (i.e, when conservatives challenge progressives to feel the same way about abortion, those conservatives are actively avoiding the conversation at hand). There is also no comparison to be made with those children of active duty members of our military. This is another red herring. We don’t have an active draft in this nation and no one has been forced into the military and away from their families against their will. It would also be helpful if we avoided comparing illegal entry with domestic crimes. There may be a similarity, but it stands to reason that this is a bigger issue than citizens or legal residents committing other crimes.

Playing the blame game
As mentioned, it is common to blame others for this crisis. This can be everyone from the parents “who should never have crossed in the first place” or former presidents “who are responsible for the laws that Trump is trying to follow.” To my conservative friends, I’m sorry, but the blame game has mostly been yours to play. Regardless of who is at fault or the actions of the parents who are coming over, this crisis is precisely that: a crisis that needs resolution. And resolution won’t come easily if we are busy blaming each other for what is going on. True, the children would not be separated from their parents by our government if they didn’t come over the border, but considering the crime rate in a place like Chihuahua, Mexico, they may still be (permanently) separated from their families if they don’t find a safer place to be. (This goes to the point made by my friend Ira in the post that I shared above, which you should read).

Speaking with your memes
This will be brief. My brother-in-law has said it well, “If your thoughts can be summed up in a meme, you’re not thinking deeply enough.” Please think before you share a picture with a caption. More often than not, these snippets don’t represent even part of the truth.

Accusations of ignorance
And lastly, when you accuse someone of “not knowing what is really going on at the border”, you are elevating yourself above that person and even above the truth. Let’s assume that we all have a level of ignorance regarding this issue and that we all have a lot to learn about immigration in general. One friend of mine shared this article explaining some of the ins and outs of the current situation and how one might help those in need. She began thinking one way, and then discovered that she didn’t have all the information and changed her mind. That sort of humility needs to happen in all of our hearts. I also found this video from the Gospel Coalition to be incredibly helpful in that regard.

I leave you with James’ words from James 1.19-20:

Know this, my beloved brothers, let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.

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Red Hands 318

Here’s the third of my occasional links to other ministries and ministry leaders. See also the first and second.

My good friend Stephen Brush has begun a new Twitter account.

@Redhands318

From his blog:

It’s the account I created to post information about Human Trafficking. Human Trafficking- especially Sex Trafficking- is something that I’m becoming more and more passionate about fighting and informing myself and others about. It’s something that everyone needs to be aware and knowledgeable about.

What about us?

Is this really a problem? Is Human Trafficking really still going on? Well, according to the CIA, there are 45,000-50,000 victims of sex slavery and trafficking each year in the U.S. alone. I cannot imagine how many others there are throughout the world. So what are we to do? Surely we must pray well for those who are trapped in this horrible slavery. But as the Church, it is our duty to act as well. Stephen has shared a few different links including one to another ministry: Unearthed (twitter).

I would encourage you to follow both of these as the Church continues to fight this war. And speaking of Human Trafficking, here is a gripping half-hour video that speaks through the analogy of The Candy Shop. I have posted this before, but it’s too good to leave out!

Australia’s Voices

On February 1, I began an occasional look at little known ministries and people within ministry who have big things to say for Jesus. Here is the second installment.

As mentioned in my previous post, many Westerners (especially non-believers) are unaware of the persecution of Christians that goes on around the world on a daily basis. I was personally made aware of this ignorance while preparing to go to China a few years ago. I was at work talking with some co-workers about the upcoming trip when one girl asked, “So when you get there, are you going to do street preaching or something like that?” I was surprised at the question because in my narrow view everyone knew about China’s distrust of the Christian Church. It is for this, and many other reasons, that Thirteen Three exists.

Who they are

As their site says,

Thirteen Three is a youth initiative of Voice of the Martyrs Australia. Our mission is to empower and mobilise a generation of passionate youth to be bound with their persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ through praying, giving, writing, serving and telling others.

Thirteen Three is committed to inspiring Australian youth to live out Hebrews 13:3 by remembering persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ.

“Remember the Lord’s people who are in jail and be concerned for them. Don’t forget those who are suffering, but imagine that you are there with them.”

Their ministry has committed to serving the global church– especially those who are undergoing persecution. They go on trips to serve Christians in persecuted nations by bringing Bible training, encouragement, resources, and even medical supplies and expertise to those who need it. But most of all, they are prayers and they live to lift up the specific names and issues that are going on around the world right now.

Meet Brad Konemann

Brad is the director 0f Thirteen Three. I’m blessed to have met Brad at my former Church a couple years ago and he is a great man of God. His heart for the Gospel and the Church of Christ is well seen and God has used him (and this ministry) in powerful ways throughout the world. For more information, as I have not done much justice to Brad’s Bio or the ministry in general, please see his page as well as his message from Lead 2010 (low audio quality).

Connecting

Perhaps the best way to get involved with Thirteen Three is to subscribe to their blog. Lift these brothers and sisters up in prayer as they minister to our other brothers and sisters.

Journey to Rwanda

One thing I want to start doing more on this site is highlighting different ministries and people around the U.S. and World who are serving Christ well. We begin with Rachel Andreason.

Rachel is a college student at Eastern University and a part of our FBC family. Earlier this month, she began studying abroad in Rwanda. She explains,

My journey to Rwanda is through the study abroad program Go-Ed. The purpose of this program is to learn about peacekeeping and reconciliation. By going into Rwanda we are going to learn about the culture and the history. I am going into this country with an open mind, ready to learn and experience a new life.

Not only is Rwanda a third world nation, but it was the center of a quite horrific genocide in 1994. During this time, it was believed that one could find safety within Church buildings:

With 90% of the population being Christian, people believed they would find sanctuary and refuge in Churches. However, they found no mercy, the churches became main targets for massacres. In the Ntarama church they threw grenades inside killing many people, then went in and killed the rest with machetes, clubs, spikes, guns, and spears. Outside of the church there was two other small buildings: a worship center and a sunday school. People were actually worshiping and singing when the killers came. They killed without mercy. They brought babies into the sunday school room where they smashed and threw the babies against the wall. The wall inside is still stained with blood. The sunday school room was also used to rape and mutilate women… (Read the rest, here)

 

 

 

Think about that. Members of God’s Church, hoping to find physical refuge in that building, being tortured. How devastating. How bold of God’s people to rest in their Father as death’s blows came. Pray for continued healing in this country, as time hasn’t taken the pain from women like Saraphina (mentioned later in the post). Pray also that, as Rachel has commented on her blog, we would not forget our past or that of others.

Continue to pray for Rachel and her classmates as they learn much in Africa. Follow her blog, here.

What has been missed

So, when you change your password on Facebook, there are many things that get reset. One such item is the Networked Blogs feature. Case in point: this past May, I changed my password and my blog ceased posting on Facebook. So below are links to the (few) posts that I wrote between May 10 and July 15.

First, I want to make people aware of something awful that I am very sad didn’t get posted at first. This video is about child sex trafficking and is truly gripping. Please take half an hour to watch this and apply yourself to fixing this problem somehow. Even if you can only pray at the moment, do so, for our Father listens well.

For all you lovers… SO MANY of my friends are getting married this Summer. I guess you could say that Emmalie and I were a good motivation for others! So with three weddings behind us and another two coming up this late Summer/Fall, I have begun reviewing some good reads for couples.

What He Must be… was the first book that I reviewed. Men, this is technically written for dads and daughters as they’re seeking a man, but you should be the audience of this book if you want to be a good man of God in your marriage.

The Christian Husband was the second book I reviewed. This again challenges men to be who they need to be for Jesus and their brides.

Speaking of Marriage, Emmalie and I celebrated 6 months at the beginning of July. I shared some thoughts on becoming more holy through marriage here. Also, it was my parents’ anniversary shortly after that!

With this year’s Lead 2011 conference in Auburn coming up, I shared an analogy of the Church here (along with a pretty crazy picture!) Also, info on the conference here.

And finally, there is Happy Birthday America! This post served as a recap of some thoughts from previous years regarding our worship of America. Just a list of three points, really.

This Happens

Sexual slavery exists in vast amounts around the world and just as the Church stood against slavery (think William Wilberforce) we must once again rise against the ever increasing act of human trafficking. Jesus bought us with a price and enabled us to stand for Him and His kingdom. Whether it be through the clutches of pornography, the vileness of prostitution, or the horrible scenes of child trafficking, this vileness has taken a hold of thousands of cities across the world. The Church must preach against it and take a stand to cease the actions of those who would be slave holders.

Where is it in our neighborhood? What can be done against it? A few Churches in Atlanta got together and put out a short fairy tale/parable displaying this horrible behavior. Please watch it (it’s about half an hour and is really intense) and remember, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.**

** Attributed to Edmund Burke

Safe behind our walls

I was struck by this picture from Boston.com’s Big Picture Blog last month (You may wish to click through to the actual site).

Can’t you see the flood?

If you’ll notice, those are two baseball teams carrying on as normal behind flood walls built to keep the water off the field. Now, this isn’t a post about what the teams should have been doing, although it may have been wise to forgo their game on the behalf of serving the cities around them. But they played on, business as usual, regardless of the fact that there were very few in attendance at this game (as noted by the empty seats) because, “We always have baseball! We can’t change our season for the flood!”

Come out from there

This is a great picture of the Church sometimes. We get into a rut saying, “This is the way we’ve done things forever, and it works! We just need bigger programs to draw people in and bigger walls to keep the bad stuff out!” Then the numbers dwindle, and we wonder why people aren’t showing up for game day. What if we focused on coming out from behind our walls and ministering to those in our communities. This doesn’t mean stop going to Church, but instead means that we should not neglect meeting together meanwhile remembering our neighbors, caring about them, seeking their welfare, and bringing God’s love.

Am I good at leaving my walls behind? No. Quite frankly, I’m not good at it at all. I need the Spirit to guide me greatly through that. What are some ways in which you minister to neighbors? Do you?