HOT TOPIC: Immigration Reform: What Christians Need to Know

IMMIGRATION

With media sound bites, misinformed conversations, and sometimes inappropriate preached rhetoric, it is imperative that Christians educate themselves on the immigration reform debate.

And I charged your judges at that time: Hear the disputes between your brothers and judge fairly, whether the case is between brother Israelites or between one of them and an alien. Do not show partiality in judging; hear both small and great alike. Deut 1:16-17a NIV

In July, President Obama has asked Congress for $3.7 billion to confront the issue of unaccompanied children crossing the border into Texas from Central America. World Relief predicts that 60,000 unaccompanied children are expected to cross the border this year alone. That is just the latest news concerning “illegal” immigration in our country.

Over the past few decades, immigration and immigration reform have been one of the most challenging political issues. With the media sound bites, our misinformed table conversations, and sometimes inappropriate rhetoric that we hear from the pulpit, it is imperative that all professing Christians become more educated on this critical humanitarian issue. Together, we must determine how the Bible might call us to respond to this issue not only as citizens of America, but rather as citizens of God’s kingdom.

At first glance, it may appear that immigration reform is simply a question of border crossings and national security. However, a closer look reveals that it is also a conversation about extreme poverty, greed (including exploitation and economic injustice), violence, a broken judicial system (at least concerning this issue), and human trafficking. In spite of this reality, immigration reform has stalled in this Congress, and therefore, will be a highly contested issue of the next political elections.

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Hot Topic: Hope for More Diverse Conference Lineups

Today I’m replacing Mentoring Monday with a relevant article I have published on Christianity Today’s Hermeneutics website:

Hope for Diversity

Dear evangelical conference planners: Thank you for your diversity statements. Thank you for inviting feedback. Thank you for listening.

In response to concerns over lack of diversity at past conferences, the Leadership Network released a statement to say, “We welcome your input and ideas or how we can do better in the areas of diversity, and how we, together, can work to represent Christ and the Church in the best way possible.”

Just a year ago, the organization’s annual conference, The Nines, came under fire on Twitter when Rachel Held Evans, Jonathan Merritt, and others drew attention to the 100-plus lineup, which only had a few women and people of color. Since then, it seems, Christian conferences increasingly get subjected to scrutiny on social media over whether their lineups are sufficiently diverse—particularly when it comes to gender and racial or ethnic divisions in the church.

As an African American woman, I understand the tensions on both sides of this outrage. Ultimately, with such events, the evangelical community has an opportunity to think about what our featured voices say about the church and the gospel we cling to. Given the drastic change in the speaker lineup for this year’s Nines conference, held last week, we see how our constructive response to a lack of diversity may actually bring forth voices from a broader range of backgrounds.

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Race Matters: Let’s Go To the Movies Part II

There has been a lot of chatter about race, racism, and racial reconciliation over the past few weeks. In our media driven and social connections, it is so easy to follow the latest trends and then forget why we were initially outraged in the first place. We forget that God is outraged too, and we forget that people lives are being impacted by racial injustices. We forget that when humans die, they often have loved ones who remain. These loved ones are not following the latest trends. They are not forgetting; they are still mourning, crying, losing sleep, and possibility waking up in cold sweats. We should not forget them. As Christians, we should not forget to rejoice with those who rejoice and to weep with those who weep.

Today’s post is Part II of last’s Friday original feature of movies which draw us closer to racial reconciliation. Racial Reconciliation expert, Dr. Brenda Salter McNeil believes that to truly become reconciled people, “We need to feel what we don’t experience.” Movies have a way of making us feel by intimating connecting us to the life experiences of another.

Part I featured highlights, some commentary, and video trailers from the movies: Crash, 12 Years a Slave, The Help, Schindler’s List, Hotel Rwanda and 42.

Today, I feature six more movies that you will actually need to rent or purchase through your favorite movie viewing mechanism. In no particular order, here are movies that I recommend to better understand racial and ethnic issues. These movies can be a great starting point for having important dialogs with friends:

  1. THE BUTLER

Why watch it: This is a movie that is inspired by (not based on) the service of butler, Eugene Allen, who served under eight presidents, including Harry S. Truman, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan. While it is a fictional story, it is honest in the presentation of the experiences of Black people over a period of time as America was drastically changing. More than being yet another movie about “The Help,” I feel this movie does a great job of presenting the challenges and two faces of minorities who oftentimes live in a white culture that is automatically assumed “American.” The movie also does an excellent job of confronting generational conflicts, specifically how two generations of Black people saw the issue of racism but decided that the solution and strategic course for confronting that evil was distinctly different. This all begs the question, “How will we address the issue of racism today?”

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