At Emerging Scholars Network, we love to crowdsource ideas for following Christ faithfully and serving others well in the academic life. In the 2018/2019 academic year, we’ve been sharing brief insights on how to grow spiritually in the academic life from many of the writers in our network. Read the series to date here, or check out more of Chandra’s work for ESN at this link. [Read more…] about Spiritual Disciplines for Graduate School
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put [Jesus] to the test, saying, â€œTeacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?â€ He said to him, â€œWhat is written in the law? How do you read?â€ And he answered, â€œYou shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.â€ And he said to him, â€œYou have answered right; do this, and you will live.â€
But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, â€œAnd who is my neighbor?â€
â€”Luke 10:25-29, RSV
Our national immigration laws have created a moral, economic and political crisis in America. Initiatives to remedy this crisis have led to polarization and name calling in which opponents have misrepresented each otherâ€™s positions as open borders and amnesty versus deportations of millions. This false choice has led to an unacceptable political stalemate at the federal level at a tragic human cost.Â â€” Soerens and Yang (2018) quoting the Evangelical Statement of Principles for Immigration Reform in, â€œImmigration Policies and Politics,â€ Chapter 8 in Welcoming the Stranger, p. 150.
What effects do people like Guillermo, who come to the United States to pick our produce for a low hourly wage, have on the overall economy? Does immigration hurt the American worker? Are foreign workers even needed? What about the costs of providing education, healthcare, and other public services to these people? Can our country afford to welcome so many immigrants? Could we afford not to have them here?
From a Christian perspective, these questions ought not to be primary: the scriptural witness is that we are to care for the immigrant stranger living among us, without any caveat that exempts us from this responsibility if it is not in our individual or national economic interest. Furthermore, immigrants contribute much to our society that is not easily quantified, and we err if we reduce the immigration dilemma to one of mere mathematics. God created and delights in cultural diversity, and immigrants have added richly to our communities through their different cultures. Nevertheless, economic considerations are among the most common concerns raised in the ongoing immigration debate in our country, and they need to be addressed.Â – Soerens and Yang (2018) in, â€œThe Value of Immigrants to the United States,â€ Chapter 7 in Welcoming the Stranger, p. 124.
We continue engineering professor Royce Francis’s Monday series on immigration, partly inspired by Royce’s attendance at the InterVarsity Northeast Retreat in 2017. Royce is also training to run a half marathon in support ofÂ World Relief, and today’s post includes a training update for those of you following Royce’s progress in that endeavor.Â If you’ve started reading more recently, or just want a refresher, you may enjoy browsing the series to date. You can also explore Rocye’s Masterclass series on writing here.
Living in relationships with immigrants, refugees, and other low-income people has forced us to grapple with the question of what it means for us, as followers of Christ, to love our neighbors as we love ourselves. It has also awakened us to the ethically complex questions of immigration and refugee policyâ€”who do we let in, what do we do with those who came in even though our government did not allow them in, and what effect will our policies have on those already here and struggling to get by? Of course, our attempts to address these questions have been shaped by our own personal journeys.Â â€” Soerens and Yang (2018), â€œThe Immigration Dilemmaâ€ in Welcoming the Stranger, p. 9.