Hi. My name is Chris. I’m a Christian… and I realize that word carries with it a whole lot of baggage–probably more negative than positive, unfortunately. When people ask me if I’m a Christian (it happens every once in a while), I feel like I’ve got to explain what I mean when I say that. Because for a lot of people, that word–“Christian”–has come to mean anti-Muslim, pro-gun, anti-science, pro-war, anti-immigrant, pro-death penalty, anti-gay, and a litany of other things that have nothing at all to do with Jesus. But yeah… I love Jesus, and I believe he is the best example we have of the heart and nature of God. I sometimes swear. I enjoy bourbon. I don’t believe that God is the sort of being who sends people to a place called hell to be tortured for a billion years. I do believe we are all loved by a God who really wants us to know him (though God is not a gender). And to be good to each other. And to ourselves. And to creation.
A few days ago, some really misled and demented people killed some people in France. This tragedy has really affected a whole lot of people here in the United States… Though, for whatever reason, when tragedies like the one that happened in Paris have happened in other places around the world, we have not been nearly as affected. For a pretty extended period of time, there was a bombing/shooting that killed 20+ people just about every day in Iraq… But I didn’t see anyone change their Facebook profile pictures to the colors of the Iraqi flag. Now everybody is best buds with France… Though I seem to remember a lot of these people eating “Freedom Fries” back when France voted against going to war with Iraq… Which is interesting.
Anyway, in Europe right now (and for the past several months) they have been dealing with a giant group of refugees who are fleeing a civil war in Syria and economic conflicts as well. Germany has been the most welcoming of the European countries to the Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans looking for a safe place to live and work–taking in what could be almost a million refugees. And Iceland (one of the most atheistic countries in the world) has had over 11,000 people offer their own homes for the refugees to stay in. But whenever a tragedy like the one in Paris happens, people look for someone to blame. And usually they end up finding someone to fear. And hate. So when the explosions rang out in the streets of Paris and the gunshots ended the lives of so many, many of the fingers of blame landed (as they so often do) on the immigrant population.
Now European countries (including Germany) are closing their borders, and the sea of people (who are fleeing the very same sort of people who carried out this awful crime) are left with nowhere to go. Meanwhile, here in the US, there are a whole lot of politicians trying to pass legislation to keep Syrian refugees out of their states. Now, I know that (as Rob Bell says) “The word Christian is a great noun and a terrible adjective” (or something thereabouts), but I have to say this as clearly as I can say it: Turning away immigrants and refugees who are in need of help is about as “un-Christian” a thing as someone can do. That is actually what the Bible is talking about when it talks about “the sin of Sodom.” If you are one of the millions of “Christians” in this country who are calling for a ban on refugees (many of whom happen to be Muslims) because you are afraid that some “ISIS people” might slip through, you may call yourself a Christian, but you are acting nothing like Jesus. Nothing. You are letting fear keep you from loving people… But you know what? Perfect love casts out fear. Here’s an awesome video that has a lot to do with what I’m talking about….
So here’s the deal. I haven’t talked to my wife about this yet, but I’m willing to bet I can talk her into it. We don’t have a big house… There are five people living in a 1200 sq. ft. home, so we don’t have a whole lot of room. But we have a futon! I would be more than happy to share our tiny home for a time with some Syrian refugees. If the word “Christian” starts meaning “KEEP OUT!” instead of “How can I help?” then that word isn’t worth a shit. And if that’s how it’s going to be, I would rather stand with the atheistic Icelanders than the “Christian” Americans any day of the week. And twice on Sunday. And if you agree, maybe share this post. Oh Church… let us start living and loving like the Christ we claim to follow.
I can’t tell you how cool it is that people I have never met believe in this blog enough to help support me. One of those people is named Rianna Hampton. I know nothing about her, other than the fact that she is generous. And generally kick ass. THANK YOU!