I don’t know about your facebook feed, but mine is looking as varied and extreme as a bag of skittles as it has ever since our presidential nominations were set last fall. Lately though, the posts of my varied group of friends has become all the more intense by adding ferocity and challenge to their language and imagery pointing to their opposing “sides” of conviction and allegiance. Perusing and navigating through all the muck of the media outlets has become a drudgery at best and that is not an exaggeration. Currently, it is the subject of refugees and illegal aliens that is taking the cake of the debate and I am honestly saddened by how inhumane my friends from both sides (and remember that this blog is about finding the missing voice to counter the standard “two-sided” debate) are taking to hateful words and allegations to “prove” themselves in what seems to be an effort to be “right.”
Now, please hear me clearly: I applaud my friends who are taking quality stands for their convictions and even more so when those said convictions represent depth and truth, not misinformed or media-fed politics. If you live as a citizen of the United States you should take advantage of your privilege to protest and do so with integrity and protection. In my case, I desire to stand on convictions that are inspired by Scripture and mimic the steps that Jesus took and God affirmed. This means I will likely sound more broad in my stances while wrestling with the tensions that exist when multiple sides of debate each sprinkle samplings of “truth” in arguments that oppose one another. My goal is not to be right. My goal is to be holy as God is holy and loving as Jesus loves. Hence the text you noticed with the picture of an unlikely couple above: A white female missionary with a black orphan in a non-industrialized country.
The UNcommon Perspective I offer today is much less common than I wish: Instead of an “us” and “them” approach, the world requires a “WE” approach. Last week in a group Bible study, members of our church discussed the barriers we naturally raise in opposition to Jesus’ work to destroy barriers & dividing walls, and what we need to do to destroy – not merely remove or protest – such barriers that oppose Jesus’ work of making the far and the near become one. The discussion was critical and enlightening! Religion, socio-economic status, neighborhoods, race, and several other areas were noted as barriers that we must remove so that WE are one humanity, created in the image of God which He placed in each of us as He formed us.
Recognizing the government’s role in protecting its citizens and realizing that the government is not necessarily formed by Scripture, I must find my role and voice within the way the people are responding. The fact is that the “refugee” and “alien” are worthy vessels to God, and Jesus and Paul remind me in Scripture that I was once a refugee and alien without Christ, and as a Christian I am actually NOT a citizen of this world, which means I am an alien to the world and a citizen of God’s Kingdom! Thus, with a heart for God and a walk that desperately seeks Jesus’ steps, I am seeking the UNcommon Perspective of finding the WE approach instead of standing with any fragmented side. This is my contribution to the voices that are fighting each other: Please, cease being “right” and seek what is higher and far more impacting. Unanimity and peace are not easy to achieve yet both are worth the cost and effort.
“He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through Christ we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and strangers, but fellow citizens with God’s people and also members of His household.” Ephesians 2:17-19 reminds me that Jesus makes this all possible, and without Jesus we will continue down the same path, building barriers instead of destroying them. Those of you who follow Jesus, please put these words in action, or remove yourself as a barrier to the good news He has of taking the far and near and making them one. By God’s help we may see a difference made even before Jesus’ return.