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Monday, April 26, 2010

What I’m Reading Today: Acts 7

As I watched the controversy around the immigration bill recently passed by the state of Arizona, I wondered if most folks realized how delicate this issue is in terms of their own identities.

As I read today’s passage from Acts, for instance, I was reminded in Stephen’s speech that all of us who come from a Jewish or Christian background have spiritual ancestors who were immigrants. “So [Abraham] left the country of the Chaldees and moved to Haran,” Stephen noted, “After the death of his father he immigrated to this country where you now live.”

In addition to having spiritual ancestors who were immigrants, many of us in the United States are also descendents of immigrants as well. My father’s family came from Norway, for instance, and my mother’s family came from Germany. Therefore, if I’m being honest about my social location I suppose I would say I’m an immigrant of sorts. For this reason, I feel some degree of personal investment in this conversation.

As I’ve listened to folks debate the issue of immigration, I realize I have a profoundly different way of approaching the issue than most folks in the media. For most folks, the central question in the debate is, “Is a person a legal immigrant or is a person an illegal immigrant?” The answer to that question often tells a person everything they think they need to know. I have a different question that tells me how to act. My question is, “Whose land is this?” The answer to that question – at least for me - is “God’s”.

Thinking about the issue has got me thinking about how incredibly possessive we human beings are about most things. We throw possessive pronouns around as if they were nothing – this is “my country”, “my church”, “my house”, “my car”… The list is endless.

Today I would ask you to consider how your life might be different if you changed the word “my” in each of these phrases to “God’s”.

Til next time…

1 comment:

Ruth said...

When one looks at the earth from space there are no lines or boundaries. They are drawn arbitrarily and usually only changed when someone wins a war. I don't think God had that in mind.