Our Church: Embracing Refugees

syrian-migrant-boy-turkeyThough I have not blogged in nearly two months, I figured this was as good of a time as any to pick up my pen again (not really a pen as you can see). Today I came across the article, 25 Refugees’ Bodies Were Found In One Boat in the Mediterreanean Sea (click on title) and am more convinced than ever that America, to be a nation worth anything at all, needs to open the doors wider and wider to refugees. I am not a fan of necessarily reducing the “vetting” process, but rather, for reallocating funds so that we have more people in government helping with this process so that we can admit more people at a faster rate. And if you are a Christian, this should definitely be your position. At some point, your “red-white-and-blue” should probably take a back seat to someone’s little girl dying because you were afraid you might get bombed (there has never been a terrorist attack on American soil by a refugee).

I am a part of River City Spokane Church. It is a collection of Gospel Homes spread throughout the city. Last night a lady from World Relief came and spoke to our church. We have decided to become a “Good Neighbor” team. As a church team, we are signing up to essentially adopt a refugee family when they arrive in the United States. We will actually be at the airport when they get off the plane. Pretty amazing, huh?! After that, we will become their friends, go to their apartment and eat, hang out, show them how to use the bus system, etc.

In the midst of her presentation, she shared a YouTube video that I found very informative. It is only four minutes long, so please watch before going any further (Process of Screening Refugees).

In watching the video, I saw just how silly our fear-based, American-first, let kids-and-women die, mentality is. I mean, think about it. How do you follow Christ and think that prioritizing your red-white-and-blue at the price OF ACTUAL HUMAN LIVES is Christlike? It can’t be. The only reason a Christian can say this in my opinion is that they are not Christ-first. Okay, let me be more blunt: selfish. 

Christ always gravitated toward the most vulnerable. Who is more vulnerable right now than refugees?

There is a major difference between an immigrant and a refugee. A refugee is actually fleeing a country due to a “well-founded” fear of harm. If you recall, Jesus fit this description. When Jesus was an infant, Joseph and Mary had to flee to Egypt because of coming persecution that was a direct result of a decision by a political leader. If not for Egypt, what would have happened to Jesus? To Joseph? To Mary?

Jesus was once a refugee.

One thing I learned last night is that if anything, our country is almost too intense about the vetting process (I am only half kidding). I definitely see the value of the process being quite rigorous, but my desire is that instead of limiting the number of refugees, we would instead reallocate funds to help speed up the process so that we can receive more refugees. This is not about choosing others over America. As the video points out, this is more about the type of America that we desire.

As for my son, I want him to see the person dying on the other side of the world as his neighbor. They are people, and I can’t imagine Jesus protecting a national flag while more children like Aylan Kurdi continue to wash ashore.

So, donate online. Or if you are in a city, grab some friends or get your church involved.





Published by B.J. Condrey, PhD

Dr. Condrey holds a Bachelor of Arts in both Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Missouri-KC, a Master of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Ph.D. in Ethics & Practical Theology from the University of Edinburgh. He is ACSI certified. Dr. Condrey writes courses and teaches Psychology, Bible, and C.S. Lewis at Enlightium Academy, where he began working in 2016. He has served as a youth, young adult, and small group pastor in the local church, and currently teaches Ethics at the University of Southern Mississippi. He has a book published by Wipf & Stock (Breaking Ground) along with other publications. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and writing, spending time with his family, traveling, trout fishing, family hikes, and drinking coffee! He is passionate about helping young people construct a biblical worldview so that their faith involves both the mind and heart. He has been married since 2009 and has two children.

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