"As the Syrian refugee crisis continues to grow, the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship wants to resource you as you and your congregations and communities discern how best to respond to the more than 4 million Syrian refugees seeking safety in Europe, the United States and other countries around the world. As our government leaders debate how they will respond, the welcome of the stranger is being challenged because of fear and a poor understanding of the difficult journey Syrian families face when fleeing their homes." Click here to read the rest of the article.
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
Monday, November 23, 2015
Thursday, November 19, 2015
In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris, Parisians did something amazing, and probably unexpected to most of us westerners.
A twitter campaign #PorteOuverte was started to let people who were impacted by the attacks, where an open door was, a place to stay that was safe.
This is a stark contrast to the response American Governors have had. 30 Governors, as of 3 days ago have said they will not accept any Syrian refugees into their state.
There are strong opinions on both sides so let's look at what scripture tells us on how we are to deal with refugees and our enemies.
What does scripture say on how we are to treat a refugee?
When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. (Leviticus 19:33-34)
“As for the foreigner who does not belong to your people Israel but has come from a distant land because of your name— for they will hear of your great name and your mighty hand and your outstretched arm—when they come and pray toward this temple, then hear from heaven, your dwelling place. Do whatever the foreigner asks of you, so that all the peoples of the earth may know your name and fear you, as do your own people Israel, and may know that this house I have built bears your Name. (1 Kings 8:41-44)
No stranger had to spend the night in the street, for my door was always open to the traveler
(Job, discussing his devotion to God) (Job 31:32)
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
Monday, November 16, 2015
ISIS terrorists strike again
CNN - ISIS' affiliate in Egypt says it brought down Metrojet Flight 9268. And U.S. officials are more confident that terrorists bombed the Russian plane, killing all 224 people aboard.
CNN - A pair of suicide bombings struck southern Beirut on Thursday, killing 43 people and leaving shattered glass and blood on the streets, Lebanese authorities said.
CNN - ISIS claims responsibility for Paris attacks
I really could use some peace, couldn't you? The thing to realize is that as we ask that question we need to understand that we are the answer. We can continue to spread the hate, vilify all Muslims, and call for war. But then we will only get more of what we have gotten. In times like these my mind returns to two famous quotes.
If we want things to change we must start with ourselves which leads me to one question for the Christian Church? Will we be a religion of peace?
A dear friend of mine, Dr. Steve Harmon, who is also my former theology and ethics professor of mine wrote so well the choice that is before us. I share it with you now, with his permission. Read with a heart that is willing to be challenged and shaped by God in this very moment.
Regarding much being voiced by American Christians in the wake of the horrific violence in Paris: We advanced and acted upon similar rhetoric post-9/11, and ISIS is one of the things we reaped. Responding to violence with violence does not participate in the shalom of the reign of God; the cycle of retaliation will without exception only continue to foment more violence until some party decides to stop, regardless of the actions of the other, and respond in non-violent ways that do live into the shalom of the reign of God. And that may well be a cruciform practice of following our Lord, as it was for the martyrs of the church for whom the ultimate victory of the nonviolent, suffering Lamb was encouragement in the book of Revelation. Over the next two centuries they lived out what Origen encouraged with these words explaining to critics of the faith why Christians did not serve in the Roman military: "For we no longer take up 'sword against nation' nor do we 'learn war any more,' having become children of peace, for the sake of Jesus, who is our leader." We should do likewise, or we will continue to reap ISIS and its successors in the cycle of retributive violence. Rather than denouncing another religion as failing to embody a claim to be a religion of peace and demanding violent responses to such failures on the part of some of its adherents, let's be a religion of peace.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
Please take a moment to re-read this verse but insert your name where you see a blank.
"________ is patient, ________ is kind. ________ does not envy, _______ does not boast, _______
is not proud. __________ does not dishonor others, ___________ is not self-seeking, _________
is not easily angered, __________ keeps no record of wrongs. ________ does not delight in evil
but rejoices with the truth. _________ always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always
perseveres. __________ never fails."
When you insert your name do you slow down your reading? Do you question the validity of each statement when we say our name in context? We are all human and no one is perfect but we should always strive to live fully these qualities of love as we live this life with everyone?
Now that that the Presidential election is in full swing I think this would be a valuable checklist to use often to be mindful of how we treat one another during this politically divisive time as well as all the time.