Last week the finishperiod.com research department went on a fact finding mission. Our objective? To gather opinion statistics about the immigration issues we are facing as a nation. This means that I went to Starbucks twice between January 8, 2018, and January 12, 2018, for some polling data. I asked two questions of ten individuals in each statistical sample. They were of varied ages and backgrounds---students escaping campus; professionals from the medical complex across the street; retirees solving world problems; young moms sharing survival tips; and a couple of coffee snobs. The questions were:
1. What is DACA?
2. Who are the Dreamers?
Not one could identify the acronym DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals). Half of them knew it was something related to immigration issues in the United States. In the same disconnected manner, none of them could identify Dreamers in this context (Development, Relief and Education, for Alien Minors). Their answers to this one gave me pause---my ex husband; the loser my daughter is dating; members of the legislative branches of government; President Trump; the solar panel sales people that call my house everyday; and several other similar comic twists.
Both of my readers know references to a research department and statistical sampling are written in jest. Even so, the questions asked of coffee drinkers, while amateurish and unreliable, do reveal one of the detours we fallible humans must make in navigating our nations immigration crisis. And, by detour I mean a path away from the objective that must be explored, perhaps a side trip. In this case, you just can't talk about the immigration crisis without turning aside to deal with issues germane to the final question. Here, that are a couple occupying my study right now----
The information under-load.
Living in the information age we're most often weighed down in decision making by an information overload. TMI (too much information) is a recognized acronym in contemporary verbal interplay. Here, discovering where we stand on the many issues about who enters or resides from sea to shining sea is hindered not by too much information, but by too little. Few of us know the intricacies of government, the roster of legal precedents, or the complicated rhetoric of immigration law. Sadly, even as a resident of the information age, I'm ill-informed. Most of us know little about the topic beyond media sound-bites and clever one-liners
In the same way, as a person committed to a Christian or biblical worldview, I find myself confused about Scriptural direction. At this point my deliberative systems are governed more by political sway than truth. This means that I must accelerate my biblical literacy to the point that truth guides my decision making and not political blather.
In either event, the first detour I must make on just about any life issue is to get up to speed about it, that is, to become informed.
Thus saith the Lord, sort of.
Please don't tell me we humans won't use Scripture to accomplish our own personal goals or justify our own decisions. How many revelers have checked off their fun and games lifestyles with Ecclesiastes 8:15 (...man has nothing better under the sun but to eat and drink and be joyful..."). We sinful humans, even the elites in our evangelical world, will hammer another person with a Bible verse when given the opportunity to alibi our stance on a critical subject. It's true in the immigration debate as well. On one side I've heard that the critical point in opening the floodgates to foreigners, whether legal or illegal, is the protection of our families against terrorists (see 1 Timothy 5:8). In the same way, many on the other side have hammered us with our responsibility to love strangers and sojourners because we were once strangers and sojourners ourselves (see Deuteronomy 10:19). Well, yes, almost. But, the instruction to Israel also included the expectation that these resident aliens submit themselves to the law of Israel and the worship of God (see Leviticus 24:22 or Deuteronomy 27:19). We must resist the human tendency to position the Lord God of all things on our side of any temporal argument.
So, its a complex process, this decision about where we stand in the immigration crisis that has so polarized our nation. It's temping to go with flow, that is, to jump on the cultural bandwagon and do what the people around us prefer. Or, just as alluring, to draw Bible lines and declare, as spiritual heroes, "Here I stand...". Even more, it's time to do two things: (1) be informed, and (2) pray for spiritual guidance in applying biblical truth to this important question.
This kind of spiritual guidance is a certainty if we are teachable. And, that's an obstacle for many of us. Jesus promised the coming of "The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things" (John 24:26, ESV). Jesus also promised that the Holy Spirit will teach believers in critical moments of witness and mission. I may be stretching things a bit but he warned in Luke 12:11-12 (ESV) about being challenged or threatened when brought before synagogues, rulers, and authorities. He said, "Do not be anxious about how you should answer or defend yourselves or what you should say, for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say". My faith reminds me that God the Holy Spirit will guide and direct me in important decisions if I remain teachable.
it is a hard world. But, Jesus prepared his disciples to not only live effectively in this kind of world, but also to influence it greatly. Sometimes we must make detours along the way to insure biblical preparation for life and mission.
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