DMINLGP

DMin, Leadership and Global Perspectives: Crafting Ministry in an Interconnected World

Let Jesus be your guide

Written by: on June 21, 2018

Gene Luen Yang’s ‘Boxers’ and ‘Saints’, while delivered in quirky comic book style, tells a serious and important story about Chinese history and the boxer rebellion.  “Not all of the Boxers are noble, and Yang highlights this as the Boxers’ fear of polluting “Yin” and misogynistic rumors about Westerners that partly fuel their disgust. Like how history frames the Boxer Movement in various lights—anti-imperialist, xenophobic, revolutionary…”[1]

This Chinese story is important – but in light of the conflict in the United States the last few weeks, I can’t help but make an analogy between the Boxer Movement and the separation of illegal immigrant children from their parents (yes, I know it’s a stretch but the undertones of conflict are similar). One of the defining similarities between then and now is the source of conflict – and subsequent polarization.  During the boxer movement, westerners were targeted. In the current conflict in the United States – the “other” (aka immigrants) are targeted.

I agree that the issue is complex regarding illegal immigration but I always return to Jesus – how would he view the situation and what would he do.  I appreciate a recent tweet from Beth Moore…

Jesus loves the little children. Every wrong performed against them He takes personally.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven.”

—Jesus
Mt 18:10

What should the Christian response be to the zero tolerance policy? First – before I propose an answer – let me share some researched “myths” about the foundation and application of the illegal immigrant policy. These are taken from Michelle Martin, PhD from Department of Social Work at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF).

Myth 1: This is not a new policy and was practiced under Obama and Clinton. (FALSE)

Myth 2: This is the only way to deter undocumented immigration. (FALSE)

Myth 3: Most of the people coming across the border are just trying to take advantage of our country by taking our jobs. (FALSE)

Myth 4: We’re a country that respects the Rule of Law, and if people break the law, this is what they get. (FALSE)

Myth 5: The children have to be separated from their parents because their parents must be arrested and it would be cruel to put children in jail with their parents. (FALSE)

Myth 6: We have rampant fraud in our asylum process the proof of which is the significant increase we have in the number of people applying for asylum. (FALSE)

Myth 7: The Democrats caused this, “it’s their law.” (FALSE)

Myth 8: The parents and children will be reunited shortly, once the parents’ court cases are finalized. (FALSE)

Myth 9: This policy is legal. (LIKELY FALSE)

There is greater detail explaining why each myth is false – I encourage you to read and analyze for yourself https://www.michellemartinauthor.com/myblog/9-myths-about-trumps-zero-tolerance-policy. The bigger question is – as a Christian leader are you taking the time to be intentional about understanding the human rights issues associated with policies in the United States?  Are you doing your own research, while avoiding listening to/reading any political rhetoric that is created to suck you in to believing and/or being loyal to your own political parties beliefs?

I think it was a deleterious use of scripture when Jeff Sessions, U. S. Attorney General, made this statement when justifying President Trump’s zero-tolerance order “Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution,” “I would cite to you the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order. Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves and protect the weak and lawful.”[2] Even more disappointing is a recently released statistic that white evangelical Christians have become silent about the issue. “In a January Washington Post-ABC poll, 75 percent of white evangelical Christians rated “the federal crackdown on undocumented immigrants” as positive, compared with 46 percent of U.S. adults overall, and 25 percent of nonwhite Christians.”[3]

Jesus once said, “God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied” (Matthew 5:6) which connects brilliantly with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who said “We are called to be people of conviction, not conformity; of moral nobility, not social respectability.”

So I ask you again – how should Christians respond to this human rights issue?  With love, with the hands and feet of Jesus, with love of the foreigner, and with conviction of right and wrong. Have you taken a stand?  Worked to educate people about the “truth”? Have you prayed about how God/Jesus/Holy Spirit would want you to stand on this issue? These are complex times which call for complex answers. Let Jesus be your guide…

[1] https://www.tor.com/2013/08/26/graphic-novel-book-review-gene-luen-yang-boxers-saints/

[2] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/06/15/on-looking-to-the-bible-to-support-hard-line-immigration-policies/?utm_term=.ee4869894762

[3] https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2018/06/18/why-many-white-evangelical-christians-are-not-protesting-family-separations-on-the-u-s-border/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.03a64162e6b0

About the Author

mm

Jean Ollis

9 responses to “Let Jesus be your guide”

  1. mm M Webb says:

    Jean,
    Nice quick review and then right into your dissertation problem and linking Boxer Rebellion in China to the Immigration challenges in the U.S. WWJD is always a good place to start and your myth-buster review is compelling. When I read your Romans 13 comments about Sessions statement, which I did not hear or read due to my isolated context, caused me to reflect on the era that the Apostle Paul was writing. Much like Yang in Saints, Paul was also writing to Christians to prepare them for martyrdom. If history is cyclical, which I think some of you would agree, then I just wonder where our global societies and their position against Christianity will be in the next 50 years. I know if Satan gets his way, Christian martyrdom in 1st world countries will return.
    Stand firm, 站立得住
    M. Webb

    • mm Jean Ollis says:

      Mike, I always appreciate your feedback. I think you’re absolutely right when you refer to martyrdom and Satan’s intentions. There are so many instances of evil in this world and I’m worried that we (as a country) have become part of that. Stay safe – hope a return home is in sight.

  2. mm Jay Forseth says:

    Hi Jean,

    I was hoping you would broach the subject of immigration this week! Well done. I was hoping you would comment on Melania’s jacket. I was bewildered to put it mildly…

    Your closing paragraph was of the highest quality. My favorite part was your closing line (and Blog title), “Let Jesus be your guide.”

    In reading your Blog, I read an interesting article on MSN that listed the top states for bringing in legal immigrants. Ohio was #37. Of course Montana was near the bottom at 49. It was amazing to me that actually, the numbers per year are seemingly small, including in such a populous state like Ohio.

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/most-popular-states-for-new-legal-immigrants/ss-BBKjEaV#image=3

    • mm Jean Ollis says:

      Jay, thanks so much for supporting my blogs on immigration. I appreciate your resource link as well. Clearly we have work to do in Ohio and Montana! Does it even feel like it’s an important conversation to have with your congregations? I’m not sure how many immigrants or refugees find their way to Montana?

  3. Shawn Hart says:

    Jean, I too have grown tired of those in political power wielding the Bible improperly. Though I too suspected this topic would come up in your posts, the very nature of how this issues is reflected to the world is part of what I took from the reading. I was curious how China would view America’s treatment of these immigrant children. If this story was part of the reading, I venture to think the author would have been very graphic in the methods our government “ripped” the children from the hands of their parents. With that imagery in mind, I wonder how they would view an American who then tried to share the Gospel message with them. Would they see all of us as child-stealing monsters or would they see us as bible-toting Christians?

    • mm Jean Ollis says:

      Shawn, I wonder the same thing about how Christians in America are perceived. No matter the immigration status, it’s never ok to traumatize children. Thank you for your thoughtful feedback.

  4. Powerful post Jean! I feel much more educated on the immigration issue thanks to you and those Myths were are a brilliant thing to bring forth. Regarding your question…”So I ask you again – how should Christians respond to this human rights issue? With love, with the hands and feet of Jesus, with love of the foreigner, and with conviction of right and wrong. Have you taken a stand?” I wish I could answer this with a more resounding YES than I can but it inspires me to keep my eyes open to do more. Thanks again for all you do as the hands and feet of Jesus.

  5. mm Jean Ollis says:

    Hi Jake! Thanks for your feedback. I’m curious about the Tri-Cities…do you have many illegal immigrants/refugees? If so, how does the community approach the scenario? Is there any way for you to get involved there?

  6. mm Kyle Chalko says:

    great connection. You bring up a strong point about doing your own research. I agree with this. I begin to doubt all other presentation of research. Fox, CNN, people named Michelle. Doing my own research would mean getting as close to the source data as possible. That means studying the wording of the law itself. And often times I dont even know how to get started with that!

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