There's no uncertainty here
Yesterday I read a blog that saddened me. it was from the site of someone with more than two readers. Writing about the refugee discussion, this writer advised readers to pray that Christ would build his church as we settle this issue.
It's a good sentiment and was offered as Godly counsel while we navigate what I've called the tightrope of wisdom and innocence. But, the comment about Christ building his church drove me to Scripture so that I could once again separate the wisdom and innocence components of this discussion. The lightening bolt in this study was simple: Jesus said, I will build my church. There's no uncertainty or qualification or conditions attached to this promise. It wasn't offered in brackets, footnotes, or asterisks. The building of his church doesn't hinge on what we do in this situation or any other. He will and is building his church in spite of us humans.
It's a big world and humans collide in it at every intersection of language, creed, tradition, race, ideological orientation, and geography. Christ is building his church where Christianity is forbidden, where his people gather underground, in human trafficking lanes, and even among the displaced Syrian refugees. In fact, many chapters in church history were scripted when world populations and his church as well experienced times of great hardship and trial. So, the unknown of these times isn't whether or not he will build his church. That is a given, assured by his promise.
The real unknown, at least in my limited opinion, is whether or not our passion and care for the displaced people of the Middle East will move us to eliminate those obstacles that make us reluctant to open our doors to them. Several of them are known---
1. Can we identify known terrorists in the refugee population?
2. What ways can we limit the exposure of our citizens to the
known dangers posed by Islamic radicals?
3. Will we exercise due diligence in vetting the refugee population?
4. Will we recognize and honnor states rights in determining placement
of accepted refugee populations?
5. Will the Constitution of the United States be abridged to accommodate such
a large number of immigrants?
The resources and energy required to quote Scripture, write blogs, express opinions, demonize people with opposing views, and draw lines may yield greater results if we were lighting up the telephone lines to our elected officials demanding resolution of these and other questions. Americans have the capacity to welcome disenfranchised people into our borders, even our homes. Just the same, even the most reticent of us would be more prepared knowing that effective screening would superintend the process. Should we not expect an increased level of security in something so important to the welfare of our fellow citizens?
Contacting elected officials isn't rocket science. You can find a complete inventory of contact information by clicking right here. But, that's the real unknown of this particular debate. How many of us will be moved by compassion to make a phone call or send an e-mail to the people we've elected to represent us in these circumstances?
We all know that not all of these refugees are agents of the Islamic State or their many factions. One of the numbers floating around indicates that a small percentage of them are men. But, as we've seen in past terror attacks, it doesn't take many of them to kill hundreds or thousands of innocent people. Expecting a high level of scrutiny in granting refugee status to them shouldn't be such an odd request.
Fear? Find someone around you who isn't afraid of something. I've always said publically that I'm only afraid of two things---snakes, and Harriet T. Holmes, said tongue-in-cheek. But, I do have two precious grandchildren: John Lewis Carpenter, age 8; and Laura Carpenter, age 4. There are fears for them and all of their generation. Yes, my God said, "Fear not, I am with you" (Isaiah 41:10, and others). Still, I don't want them playing with matches or being over-run by bullies. And, while I know his promise isn't conditional, I've not played Russian roulette recently either.
Once again, it's the tightrope of wisdom and innocence. His wisdom leads me to guard the young ones around me so I can care for those hurting people in our fallen world.