Gentle Joseph Heard a Warning, by Carl P. Daw Jr. (Hope Publishing Company, 1990)

Harvard University Choir sings Gentle Joseph Heard a Warning

Gentle Joseph heard a warning,
from an angel in the night;
valiant Mary, maiden mother,
roused from sleep, prepared for flight:
thus the Christ-child’s family lived out
what the prophet had foretold,
that he might be called from Egypt
as God’s people were of old.

Targets of a tyrant’s army,
seeking safety, fleeing strife,
leaving house and land and kindred,
spurred by dreams of peaceful life;
through the desert of unknowing
and the night of doubt they went,
guided by God’s promised presence,
by that trust made confident.

Give us, God, such faith and courage
when we move from place to place,
and to those who come among us,
make us channels of your grace.
Let us see in every stranger
refugees from Bethlehem,
help us offer each one welcome
and receive the Christ in them.

Hagar, abuse, and the naming of God

Tomorrow morning we will examine the complicated stories about Hagar in the book of Genesis. A slave brought to Canaan from Egypt by Sarai and Abram (later Sarah and Abraham), she is forced to bear a child with Abraham, then kicked out of the house after Sarah has a child of her own.

Yet God protects her. And she gives God a new name: El Roi, the God who sees.

What can these stories tell us about ancient views of foreigners and how communities of faith should view them?

The presentation for tomorrow’s class (November 10, 2019) is online. You can find it here.

Karen Gonzalez, The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong

This week I listened to an episode of The Deconstructionists podcast that consisted mostly of an interview with Karen Gonzalez, author of The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong. The book has been recommended highly by theologians, biblical scholars, and social activists. Here is what Rachel Held Evans, author of Inspired and Searching for Sunday, had to say about the book:

“With this stunning debut, Karen González makes her mark as one of the most talented storytellers of faith in a generation. The skill with which she weaves together personal narrative, biblical text, intimate detail, and sociopolitical analysis is as impressive as it is seamless. Every single page of this beautiful, timely book pulses with prophetic truth. It left me changed in all the best ways.”

I encourage you to listen to the interview. Just click on the image below!

Toxic Stress and the US Mexico Border

Child standing in water waiting at the US/Mexico Border

What is happening to children on the US/Mexico border will have long term effects on their health and mental development. The video above discusses these effects and their causes.

A few days ago Greg Sargent at the Washington Post published an opinion piece that begins by contrasting the backlash that occurred after the news of children in cages broke with the near silence that now accompanies the humanitarian crisis at the border. A new report by the U.S. Immigration Policy Center at the University of California at San Diego, details the trauma facing asylum seekers who are sent back to Mexico to await processing. Living with that trauma daily will impact the future development of children for decades to come. The report, published only a few days ago, is available online.

On Sunday, November 3, we will discuss this issue in the context of the biblical injunction against mistreating widows, orphans, and foreigners. We would love to have you join us.

I have added the presentation for tomorrow morning’s class. You can access it here.

Churches Declare their Opposition to Trump’s Deportation Program by Providing Sanctuary

This Sunday we will watch this short video, read Jeremiah 22:1-3, discuss the historical situation behind that text, and look at what our own moral obligation might be in a time characterized by hateful government policy.

The presentation for this Sunday’s class (October 27, 2019) is already online. You can access it here.

US Influence in Central America and the Growing Asylum Crisis

The following two videos examine US involvement in Central America and its impact on Central American’s fleeing to the US in search of asylum. The first is from Al Jazeera and contains some disturbing images of violence in the region. The second is from the History Channel and is less graphic, but makes very similar points about US responsibility for the crisis we are now attempting to stop by force at the border.

What has US involvement in Central America done to augment demand for asylum in the US? An analysis from Al Jazeera
What’s causing the Central American Migration to the US? A view from the History Channel

The presentation for tomorrow morning’s class is already online. You can access it here.

Love your Neighbor

Rapid deportation often leads to deportation of the wrong people. (Australian Broadcast)

On Sunday we will watch this short video giving the story of a person wrongfully deported and discuss the parable of the “Good Samaritan” from Luke’s Gospel. What would Jesus have us do when our neighbors are being mistreated by our own government?

The presentation from this day’s class (10/13/2019) is now available online.

Welcoming the Foreigner

This morning’s presentation, “Welcoming the Foreigner” is now online. You can view it here.

We read the 1 Kings account of Solomon’s dedication of the first temple to YHWH in Jerusalem, and considered what that text implies regarding what it is to be church for immigrants today. I thank all of you who attended.

Welcoming the Foreigner

Tomorrow morning we will read 1 Kings 8:41-43 and discuss what we can do as a church to welcome the foreigner. We will watch the short film (3+ minutes) “The Inn Without Borders / La Posada Sin Fronteras” and contemplate what it means to be church for the undocumented immigrant.

DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals): What will become of these young people?

Video by The Atlantic, Feb 3, 2017

On September 29 we will discuss the plight of DACA recipients in light of what Ancient Israel’s legal tradition had to say about treatment of foreigners within Israel’s borders. Should those same principles apply now? What would be different if they did?

Two texts will frame our discussion, both from the book of Leviticus: 19:33-34 and 24:22.