Intruder Alert

Just thought this was a intriguing comic on the whole Arizona Immigration law, given that land once belonged to Mexico.  Honestly, I think it is a complex issue and I refuse to fall into either the liberal or conservative camp on this one.  I liked what Robert Gelinas asked on his blog… not whether or not we agree with the law, but rather what Christian principles were people applying to arrive at an faithfully christian response.  Obviously, many people found scripture to justify both sides of the argument. I just wonder if God is pleased with either answer.  Ultimately, whatever our response is to the law, we must be convinced that it is a demonstration of our love to God and our love for others (specifically, undocumented immigrants).

Published by Drew G. I. Hart, PhD

Drew G. I. Hart is a theology professor in the Biblical & Religious Studies department at Messiah College with ten years of pastoral experience. Hart majored in Biblical Studies at Messiah College as an undergraduate student, he attained his M.Div. with an urban concentration from Missio Seminary in Philadelphia, and he received his Ph.D. in theology and ethics from Lutheran Theological Seminary-Philadelphia. Drew was born and raised in Norristown, Pa and has lived extensively in Philadelphia and Harrisburg, PA as well. Dr. Hart’s dissertation research explored how Christian discipleship, as framed by Black theologies and contemporary Anabaptist theologies, gesture the Church towards untangling the forces of white supremacy and the inertia of western Christendom which have plagued its witness in society for too long. As two traditions that emerged from the underside of violent and oppressive western Christian societies, he found Black theology and Anabaptism each repeatedly turning to the particularity of Jesus in the gospel narratives. From that arises an ethic of solidarity with the oppressed and pursuing liberation in Black theology and an ethic of radical peacemaking and ecclesial nonconformity in the Anabaptist tradition. Each challenge the violent and oppressive logics of mainstream western Christianity and salvage the call to follow the way of Christ. Together in dialogue they deepen our analysis of the churches failures and the need for Jesus-shaped repentance. His work beyond teaching and writing has included pastoring in Harrisburg and Philadelphia, working for an inner-city afterschool program for black and brown middle school boys, delivering lectures and leading anti-racism workshops, collaborating with local faith-based organizers and activists in his city, and doing a broad range of public theology. He is also a co-leader for a local Harrisburg faith-based relational network called FREE Together which has collaborated with POWER Interfaith, MILPA, the Shut Down Berks Detention Center movement, and a little with the Poor People’s Campaign. Trouble I’ve Seen: Changing the Way the Church Views Racism by Drew Hart, has received great reviews by Publisher’s Weekly and Englewood Review of Books. Endorsing this resource, Shane Claiborne said, “This book is a gift from the heart of one of the sharpest young theologians in the United States. Hold it carefully, and allow it to transform you--and our blood-stained streets.” As a text, Trouble I’ve Seen utilizes personal and everyday stories, Jesus-shaped theological ethics, and anti-racism frameworks to transform the church’s understanding and social witness. Trouble I’ve Seen focuses on white supremacy as an overarching framework for understanding racism, with careful attention to its systemic and socializing dimensions. However, unlike sociology textbooks on the subject Dr. Hart also considers the subversive vocation of Jesus and the nonviolent yet revolutionary implications his life ought to have for his followers today. His newest book project is entitled Who Will Be a Witness?: Igniting Activism for God’s Justice, Love, and Deliverance and will be published September 1, 2020. Who Will Be A Witness? invites the church to liberate its centuries long captivity to supremacist practices, and to expand its restricted political imagination in view of Jesus’ messianic reign. The book guides disciples of Jesus into joining God’s delivering presence through scriptural reasoning, historical reflection, practical theology for congregational life, social change theory, and the Christian call to love our neighbor. It is written for congregations, leaders, and students that understand that pursuing God’s justice goes way beyond waiting around for electoral seasons to come around. It is about the ongoing vocation of the Church right now, at the grassroots level, seeking after the wellbeing of their neighbors through faithful, strategic, and concrete action. Drew recently joined the Inverse Podcast team serving as a cohost along with Australian peace activist Jarrod Mckenna. Together they interview interesting people and explore how scripture can turn our ethical imagination and the violent and unjust systems of our world upside-down, which contrasts with interpreting the Bible as a tool for the status quo. Dr. Drew Hart was the recipient of bcmPEACE’s 2017 Peacemaker Award, a 2019 W.E.B. Dubois Award from a Disciples of Christ congregation, and in October 2019, Dr. Hart was chosen as Elizabethtown College’s 2019 Peace Fellow. Each award recognized him for his local and national justice work and public theology. You can find Drew Hart on Twitter and Facebook, or you can catch him as he travels and speaks regularly across the country to colleges, conferences, and churches. Drew and Renee, and their three boys (Micah, Dietrich, and Vincent) live in Harrisburg, PA and attend Harrisburg First Church of the Brethren.

4 thoughts on “Intruder Alert

  1. To no one in particular…
    Can you show the fruit of the Spirit and yet maintain a law abiding stance?
    If stopped by the police for a traffic violation or such can I not expect to have to provide ID? I went yesterday with my wife to an Open House at Princeton University and before we were let in we had to show a picture ID. Should I have cried foul?
    How did God bring His people into the land flowing with milk and honey? How did he bring them out of Egypt? How did the nationals in both places fare?
    If this land belongs to someone else, where should the rest of us go?
    Who will be willing to lead the way?

  2. Those are all fair points, however what i’m really looking for (but probably didn’t communicate it clearly enough) is what specific biblical principle should we as Christians apply to this situation to attempt to arrive at a “christian” response. For example, the biblical teaching of obeying the government or another principle is taking care of the aliens and strangers in the land. What are the primary biblical principles that you think are most relevant for this issue? Probably, as it seems you are suggesting, it is not an either or, but rather holding several principles up in tension.

  3. No, Dru, you were clear. and my first question was an expression of, as you have well said, “holding several principles up in tension.”

    I believe we can show compassion while still upholding laws that keep society from crumbling into anarchy.

    “Equal Justice” dispensed in a fair and compassionate manner is what I would say. Not social justice or political justice or racial justice… just plain old fair and equal justice.

  4. Oh ok, i got what ya saying. My guess, I’m not sure, but I have a feeling that if you asked people what was equal justice in this situation you would get different answers based on what side people were on. However it gets flushed out, I do think you are right in wanting to have some law upheld which benefits all and also respond compassionately. I do struggle with what a Christian ought to do when they see a law that they “believe” (it is personal opinion, i admit) is against God’s Kingdom. Some say submit, others say resist. It’s not easy, and I guess hopefully people are taking up either side in good conscience and conviction. Most of the time, I don’t hear that concern for God’s desire in either side… but it just might be from where I’m standing.

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