Immigration, Hospitality and Love of NeighborBy Darrell Yoder on September 19, 2018
Our upcoming conference on Justice + Unity, focusing on the experience of Hispanic/Latino(a) Christians in the United States, raises important questions. When we first introduced this series, a number of people came up to me, looked carefully to their left and then to their right, and asked quietly, "Are you going to talk about immigration?" Each time, the urgency in their voices was clear. How can we not?
Given the political climate in the US, issues surrounding immigration, legalization, child separation and national sovereignty press on all of our minds. As usual, the world's system seems to offer two polarized options (inhumane policies and open borders), and many Christians despair of how we can sort through it biblically. As we planned Part 2 of this series, we decided to take up the topic of immigration carefully and confidently. It's an opportunity to apply the biblical teaching on justice and ask God to grant wisdom and bring shared understanding. That's our prayer for Oct. 2, and I hope you will join us.
We have another compelling line up of speakers who will speak for and on behalf of Hispanic/Latino(a) concerns.
- Justo Gonzalez, a well-known theologian and leader in Hispanic education will join us and walk us through a biblical theology of immigration. Spoiler alert: He will not be bound by society's false choice.
- Joanne Solis Walker, a leader in Hispanic/Latino(a) studies, will help us examine the attitudes and assumptions that lurk under the surface of these conversations. In majority culture, we don't often think about colonization and decolonization, so Joanne will help us understand just how much our history is still present—and what we can do about it.
- Tim Gombis will focus on Hebrews 12-13 and set before us the political implications of "receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken" (Hebrews 12:28). For the writer of Hebrews, this Christian reality results in communities that warmly welcome strangers, turning them into friends and treating them as family members. This presents a profound challenge for churches in the U.S.
- Lastly, Dr. Carl Ruby, an evangelical pastor from Springfield, Ohio, will share how justice became a focus of his ministry, in particular serving and advocating for immigrant families. He'll have some practical answers to the question "What do I do now?"
If you are a spiritual leader—a pastor, elder, deacon, small group leader, parent or friend—carve out time for this critical conversation. The people under your care need your leadership as we all live out the gospel in a divided world.