Thursday, November 22, 2007


i really can't believe i'm writing this, because i've all but tired of political issues. you might not have realized that, but as my passions shift from the harsh political to the abstract personal, i am devoting less energy to that which governs peoples' lives and more to what governs their heart.

still, the illegal immigration to our country is something i've thought about quite a bit lately. i have something of a new perspective on it that i've never read anywhere maybe someone else thinks this way but i've never heard of it before. i'm going to try and be brief, but i have many more thoughts that aren't contained here. so ask questions if you have them.

so here is my "silver bullet" or the main point. i think my responsibility as a christian is different than the government's responsibility as...a government. i am saying that perhaps i am to behave one way, and the government is to behave another - and both are right, but neither can have it both ways. does that make sense? i am not the government so i am not obligated to behave as the government (although i am bound to obey any laws that don't require me to do wrong). and the government has a completely different set of goals and priorities that cannot - and maybe shouldn't - match up with my own.

my government's responsibility is not to care for aliens and sojourners. sure, there is the basic obligation to do no injustice, but maybe that's all. the government's main responsibility is to protect its citizens. and citizens means just that - those who are legally, fairly documented to live here. to those who do not take the proper steps to live here legally (morally), i would say our government owes them little but basic human rights. so no, i don't believe it's the government's role to have caring hearts towards those who are not even supposed to be here.

thus far i probably haven't stepped on any toes, at least any conservative ones. my guess is that most conservatives would strongly agree with my last paragraph. BUT, as i said, i am coming to believe that the obligations of the government are not those of the church. when we try and figure out how a christian should relate to this issue, the starting point is NOT the current law of the land and how we can adhere to it more closely. the starting point is scripture, particularly the breathtaking number of passages exhorting us to do good to foreigners. we are to obey our government, yes...but i am not aware of any laws requiring us to personally deport immigrants, turn them in, or to ban them from our society. and if there are laws to that end, i believe we would probably be fully justified in breaking those.

from scripture, i can find nothing except that believers are to care for aliens (also called sojourners or foreigners). there's an inexhaustive list of verses at the end of this post, that i believe demonstrates this end quite capably. so i'm taking it as given that my first and greatest responsibility comes from the bible, and not from manmade laws. THAT is my reference point, not the facts about immigration reform or burdens on society or high insurance or who will pick crops or the feasibility of a fence between us and mexico. sure, we can discuss those things and they are all valid issues, but all of that has to be viewed in light of what we should already be convinced of from scripture.

the government has their role, and i support that fully. as a resident of this country, i think laws should be enforced, and i think the government should be extremely careful about immigration. that is their job. but being a citizen of the United States is not my first job. it's not my starting point. my role as a resident of the Kingdom of God is different, potentially opposite, but not more or less valid. i wouldn't be upset at my country for tightening immigration laws, because that's what they should do. but that's not what i should do; it isn't my role. my job as a believer precedes my role as a citizen. my job is to love and serve and share Christ with aliens, but i wouldn't get angry if they were sent away because that is also justice, but from another place. my justice to an alien probably looks 100% different than the justice doled out by federal legislators - but that does not mean one or the other is more or less right. it means we are here to do different things.

so that's all i'm going to say for now, except one disclaimer. if i was in constant contact with an undocumented immigrant, i would definitely encourage them to take the steps to live/work here legally, especially if that person claimed faith in Christ, as i would try and encourage them to live rightly in every area of their life. there are so many hypothetical situations i could talk about, but i'll leave any more questions to my readers.

here is my incomplete list of verses speaking of our obligations to aliens. the initiated reader might also consider the heap of verses reminding us that we are all aliens in this world, just as the israelites were aliens in egypt.

Malachi 3:5 "Then I will draw near to you for judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers and against the adulterers and against those who swear falsely, and against those who oppress the wage earner in his wages, the widow and the orphan, and those who turn aside the alien and do not fear Me," says the LORD of hosts.

Ezekiel 22:7, 29 They have treated father and mother lightly within you. The alien they have oppressed in your midst; the fatherless and the widow they have wronged in you. ...The people of the land have practiced oppression and committed robbery, and they have wronged the poor and needy and have oppressed the sojourner without justice.

Jeremiah 7:5-7 For if you truly amend your ways and your deeds, if you truly practice justice between a man and his neighbor, if you do not oppress the alien, the orphan, or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place, nor walk after other gods to your own ruin, then I will let you dwell in this place, in the land that I gave to your fathers forever and ever.

Deuteronomy 27:19 Cursed is he who distorts the justice due an alien, orphan, and widow.

Deuteronomy 24:14, 17 You shall not oppress a hired servant who is poor and needy, whether he is one of your countrymen or one of your aliens who is in your land in your towns. You shall not pervert the justice due an alien or an orphan, nor take a widow's garment in pledge.

Deuteronomy 14:29 The Levite, because he has no portion or inheritance among you, and the alien, the orphan and the widow who are in your town, shall come and eat and be satisfied, in order that the LORD your God may bless you in all the work of your hand which you do.

Deuteronomy 10:18 Your God...executes justice for the orphan and the widow, and shows His love for the alien by giving him food and clothing.

Deuteronomy 1:16 Then I charged your judges at that time, saying, 'Hear the cases between your fellow countrymen, and judge righteously between a man and his fellow countryman, or the alien who is with him.

Numbers 9:14 If an alien sojourns among you and observes the Passover to the LORD, according to the statute of the Passover and according to its ordinance, so he shall do; you shall have one statute, both for the alien and for the native of the land.

Leviticus 23:22 When you reap the harvest of your land, moreover, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field nor gather the gleaning of your harvest; you are to leave them for the needy and the alien. I am the LORD your God.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

the internet is no cure for boredom

sorry it's been so long since i posted...that last one took every ounce of writing energy i had, and then i had to borrow from the future. so here is something that i promise will not challenge you, make you think, or take the weekend to read through.

i usually have a lot of time on my hands every day, when i have little to do but explore the internet. i recently concluded that the internet is not updated as often as i would like, because i have a very brief attention span and because sometimes i look for updates to things every minute. so i want you, faithful readers, to suggest cool things for me to view on the internet...that are never the same twice. or at least, are frequently updated.

i have this dull little menu of pages to visit every day. it goes something like this, but not in any particular order. facebook, asyetunnamed, boundless, the drudge report, fox or cnn (if i feel like reading news), various photography sites, christianity today, and friends' blogs. needless to say, there's not a minute-by-minute update on most of those sites. i just get this ADD thing going where i need a new page every few seconds or i will get bored. i don't think it's healthy, but i also don't know how to make it go away. (internet ADD is quite similar to radio ADD, which i also suffer from.)

i'm not saying everything is boring, but i need some new material that will always be new. YouTube and TV shows are generally out, as i can't sit at work with headphones in all day (on most days). any suggestions to help cure the boredom?

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