The day of our president's recent Executive Order regarding immigration and refugee resettlement I posted an article along with the following statement:
This Executive Order is wrong. Christians who support it are wrong. Many things in the Bible are shrouded in mystery but the call to help the orphan, the widow, the alien, the poor are pretty clear. What does it mean to trust God with our lives and take risks to save people? America, who is your neighbor?
In that statement, I believe that I made an unfounded assumption. I assumed that the only motive a Christian could have for supporting the order is fear. Underneath all of the arguments about the vetting process I admit that all I heard was fear. But that's not fair. There's no way that I could possibly know the mind and motives of every Christian. I'm sorry.
Instead of accusing Christians of supporting the order out of fear, I should have simply expressed my concerns--and I am concerned. During my days working in campus ministry I remember we had a staff training session with a prominent evangelical leader. He shared some solid theological lessons with us and I was genuinely enriched. He ended his time with us by imploring us to get out and share the gospel. He told us that if we didn't hurry, Islam was going to take over our country and the whole Western world.
He told us that our granddaughters would be forced into harems, and that we'd be living under sharia law. I was terrified, and I promptly went home and had a series of dreams about being beheaded.
I had a similar experience as a newly wed sitting under the teaching of a pastor who my husband and I genuinely respect and felt spiritually fed. He believed and openly taught that Muslims were silently taking over our nation by coming here and having children at a higher rate then Christians.
Make no mistake that kind of teaching has no place in the kingdom of God. These men and those like them may be afraid that Western civilization is dying, but that is not relevant to the teaching or the kingdom of Jesus Christ.
Western civilization, like all human civilization, was founded using the tools of empire: genocide, slavery, exploitation, and tyranny. But the kingdom of God is not like the kingdom of men. It is a kingdom and not an empire. It was not founded by it's king's rise to power but by his descent from power. Jesus came into the world as a penniless baby born in a stable. The kings of this world secure their kingdoms by leaving a long trail of bodies. Jesus secured His by offering up His body broken for the world.
The church's preference for Western civilization makes us ill-equipped to aide Syrian refugees or anyone else who will not assimilate to our cultural standards. It can also make us callous to the experiences of minorities who have suffered under our civil "progress" or those we think might threaten the survival of it.
Brothers and sisters, this should not be so. As I hear Christians talk about nuking ISIS and killing the families of terrorists I think we need to remember that in the empire of man might equals right, but in the kingdom of God not one soul is irredeemable--not even the soul of a terrorist.
The truest allegiance of a Christian is not to a civilization, or a country but to the kingdom of God. The inevitable fall of Western civilization might upset your comfort, but it can never shake your kingdom.
And now, because Jesus has promised that his kingdom of peace shall have no end, let us follow him into the world, reconciling men to God and to one another through the trail of our broken bodies.
The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come.- Hebrews 13:11-14