Thursday, August 26, 2010

"...and you wanted me deported..."

no doubt Jesus' words in Matthew 25:31-46 are pretty intense. i've talked about them a lot. Those words (and many others like them in Scripture) are changing the way we see everything.

To sum up - basically Jesus said that when we help the hungry, thirsty, foreigners, poor, and prisoners it's just like we're helping Jesus Himself. When we ignore them we're dissing Jesus. it's a very sobering talk from Jesus.

Yesterday i read about half of A Hole In Our Gospel by the President of World Vision, Richard Stearns. When he was talking about this passage his paraphrase almost knocked me down. i literally had to go and sit down and write some thoughts.

After reading the passage from Matthew he gave his contemporary paraphrase:

"I was hungry
while you had all you needed.

I was thristy
but you drank bottled water.

I was a stranger
and you wanted me deported.

I needed clothes
but you needed more clothes.

I was sick 
but you pointed out the behaviors that led to my sickness.

I was in prison
and you said I was getting what I deserved."

*is that us? we do that right? is that me? is that you?
i'm still just letting that sink in. i hope you'll do the same.


Anonymous said...

Seems like no one wants to weigh in on this one Patrick, so I am going to wade in! Forget wading in I’m jumping in ;)
I think I understand a little where Stearns is coming from with his paraphrase but one that I cannot fully agree with. No, it's not my politics getting involved but rather ones understanding of Justice.
It seems that Stearns is trying to work on the emotional level (not that it's always wrong to do that) however his comment about "I was a stranger and you wanted me deported." is in my observation way off target. In the context of where I think he is coming from it's almost like he wants to blame the USA for not letting the "stranger" as he calls them I'll call them "Illegal’s" to stay put, or continue to enter illegally even though they broke or are breaking the law.
We seem to pick and choose (myself included) what passages we will use for our arguments. Our tendency to shy away from passages that go against our arguments both pro and con! However one area we must not compromise in is, the "Context" of the passage in which the text was written. Basic hermeneutics...the Who, What, When, Where etc questions.
I am not the greatest in putting my thoughts on paper, or in this case blog post, but I think we must be careful to not interpret the Scriptures based solely on an emotions. Which I believe Stearns is doing with the deportation comment.

I would encourage you to get the recent copy of Leadership Journal on Evangelism + Justice titled “BEYOND BONO Doing justice God’s way in more than a fad.” Then read the interview with Mark Dever and Jim Wallis (Wallis being one of the guys you’ve mentioned in the past that you learn from).

Dever puts in words and context my arguments better than I could, thus the referral. The interview is titled “Personal But Never Private.”


patrick mitchell said...

hey Gene, sorry i'm a little slow in responding.
thanks for the comment and the recommendation on the article. i definitely like to learn from Wallis and have even heard of Dever and heard him speak and definitely have respect for him.

i think it's interesting that you say "it's not my politics getting involved" but it looks like to me that they are. it's a little curious to me that from this short post & quote this is the conversation you begin. i'm sure this is just the part that grabbed your attention (maybe because of your politics, maybe not...)
but i'm wondering if you missed the whole point? did you miss the bottom line?
i'm sure you probably didnt... not entirely anyway.

Jesus said when we ignore the poor, thirsty, hungry, prisoner, sick, and STRANGER (whoever that may be...usually synonymous with "foreigner" in Scripture) that we're really ignoring Jesus. i know we both agree that's a horrible thing to do.

so when Jesus praises people for "inviting in the strangers" and condemns others when they don't, what does He mean? sounds like welcoming the foreigners to me...
are WE as American Christians doing that? doesn't feel like it. (politics aside.)

that's the big idea... not "foreign policy" or "national security" or "border control" or "immigration" whichever political category it would fall into.

i could be WAY off, but for me it FEELS like some Christians treat & think of "illegal immigrants" in the same way as some Christians treated and thought of "Slaves" a little over a hundred years ago. less than people. less than human.
but maybe i'm way wrong. i hope so.

i love ya Gene. i'd love to continue the conversation some time voice to voice where i'm sure it would be easier. i hope you're doing awesome man.