Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Jesus sin Fronteras: who is "we"?

In some conversations I've had about illegal immigration, since I wrote that paper on it, I've been bothered by something. When people talk about the borders, they say "we" a lot. They say things like "we need to deport people" or "we have the right to maintain our borders." This is bothersome and puzzling for me because these people are Christians, what does we mean? If "we" is America then their statements might be true. But there's the problem; "we" for a Christian should not mean America, it should be the church. Our allegiance to God and to each other should be held at least a little higher than our allegiance to the state. Our identity should be in the church rather than in American society. This is a church that includes everyone, Mexican and American. If my allegiance is to God and to the church, then I cannot deport my brother into dehumanizing poverty. I cannot split up my sister's family because the state says she doesn't belong. The church has no borders. As Christians the very idea of a border should puzzle us. It is the same with military action, corporate oppression, and maximization of profit. These are all things that seem essential to American Society. May we come out from her (Revelation 18:4) however "impractical" it may seem. May we always remember that we were aliens once (Leviticus 19:34). And may our "we" always be the church, not the American Nation-state. May our "we" include immigrants and all those who are "illegal" and unwanted.

disagree if you want, but please don't write me off because I'm "leftist" or something. I hope I'm not just a liberal, I hope that I actually care.

3 comments:

Jamie Arpin-Ricci said...

Very well said. Sadly people seem to push this issue to extremes- absolute adherence to the state or absolute rejection. Here you have called for a priority of commitment and loyalty to Christ and His Body, yet recognize that we are still part of our nations. Well said.

James said...

Sadly, "the church" has lost alot of credibility over the years, and I blame alot of that on the conservatives who strive to keep the ten commandments alive when they were actually abolished 2,000 years ago. It is no longer a conservative "do not" gospel, it is now a liberal "do" gospel that doesn't condemn people in their sin, it meets them in their sin and brings them out!

WES ELLIS said...

James,
I almost agree with you. The ten commandments were never abolished. Jesus said he came to fulfill the law. It was actually never a "do not gospel." Read Exodus 3:7, it was always about God meeting us where we are. The ten commandments are all about freedom... remember that Moses was also the guy who freed them from Egypt. The ten commandments which, by the way were written in the soft imperative rather than the stark imperative, are about how to live a life of freedom in covenant with God. It's not the ten commandments which make the "conservatives" hard to deal with, it's that they forget that the ten commandments were given to free people as part of a covenant. They only becomes a "do not" gospel when we force it upon people who are not in covenent with God. No... they do not belong in court rooms, but they do belong in churches.

Thanks for your comments James! I really dig your thoughts.
Shalom,
Wes