Taking on Water...

I got word this morning that my father-in-law's boat was taking on water at the marina. He knew that it wasn't convenient; he knew that it wasn't easy, but he needed me to drop everything to come and help. What was once an annoying leak and a minor issue, has now become a moment of crisis.

News headlines are flashing everywhere you look this week (06.18.18) in our Nation's Capital about the current Administration's policy of taking children from parents. Amid outrage, the White House continues to defend an immigration policy that insists on family separation. The reality is, while this issue has been brewing for an extended period of time, a Father's Day visit to one of the detainment sites where children are being separated from their undocumented parents has brought things to bear; albeit the media has unquestionably over-sensationalized things, into a moment of crisis for our nation.

In addition, Attorney General Jeff Sessions quoted Romans this week to justify separating illegal immigrant children from their parents at the southern U.S. border. The Apostle Paul states Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. (Romans 13:1) This is a gross mis-representation of Scripture that is taken out of context. It must be dealt with. What we may have previously seen as "leaky" theology, must now be recognized as a moment of perverted theological crisis.

Taking this verse out of context, ignores the verses in the previous chapter: "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with the Lord's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink." Romans 12:9-13, 20a

Taking this verse out of context doesn't talk about the following verses in the same chapter: "You shall not commit adultery," "You shall not murder," "You shall not steal," "You shall not covet," and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore, love is the fulfillment of the law." Romans 13:9-10

Will Christians, the ones who want to carry the banner "Pro-Life," and "Pro-Family," sworn to the mandate of protecting children, including ones not yet born, be willing to protect and support their mothers and families too? We are in the midst of a serious crisis for vulnerable children and families, though it is not a new one. Those who grew up in the '50s and '60s have seen these same horrors, produced by the same deeply ingrained ideology. Joe Kay, a Church of Christ Pastor and Author from Butler Ohio reminds us: 

"While the dogs attacked and the bombs exploded, we saw millions of white "Christians" defend the atrocities. They quoted Bible verses, claimed the high moral ground, and blamed those who were being treated inhumanely. They said that if black parents would stop demanding a better life for their children, they wouldn't be attacked. If they'd obey the law and move to the back of the bus, they wouldn't be arrested and separated from their families."

The boat was taking on water. Crisis was upon us. The nation reached a turning point in the 1960s with civil rights legislation. In the following decades, there was a movement to recognize and protect the equal rights of all people. Our current political landscape marks a season we must do the same. 

Author and Christian activist Jim Wallis puts it this way: The Holy Spirit is at work even in the darkness of this political moment. We feel it calling us to reclaim Jesus from those who have appropriated, co-opted, and hijacked his name for worldly power. Will you join us and show the world that the followers of Jesus refuse to be complicit and refuse to be silent?

It isn't convenient; it isn't easy, but help is needed. Christ followers must find a voice that doesn't echo the politics of the day. Christ followers have a mandate to follow one voice and one voice only. The tangible and familiar voice of Jesus Christ. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

Pastor Milo



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