I’ll Take Some Syrian Refugees At My House.

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.

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That word is “Christian.”

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.

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One of the dumbest things ever.

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.

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Everything that is awesome about Twitter. Right here.

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!

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55 Responses to I’ll Take Some Syrian Refugees At My House.

  1. This is good stuff.

    I’m saddened that the first reactions here, in America, were fear and hate instead of love, compassion, and heartbreak.

    I can’t imagine what it would be like to be forced to leave your homeland, forced to flee over thousands of miles of land and ocean, forced to bring your family through great dangers and imminent death to escape certain death–only to find the doors shut in your face.

    These are brave people.

    And even if they are not uniformly brave, they are certainly people.

  2. Susan Christian says:

    Once again, you have restored my faith in humanity and Christianity. I must say that most “Christians” make me cringe at this point, but they are not representative of Christianity. I so love the Ghandi quote about Christianity and how he likes our Christ but how Christians are not very much like him. Maybe not all of them, but you certainly are. Thank you. 😊

    • theboeskool says:

      Cringe-worthy Christians is a decent name for a band.

      I am very happy to restore any bit of faith I can, Susan. Humanity has plenty of brokenness, but there is plenty to be proud of as well. Thanks for reading.

  3. Karen Clark says:

    I read this because my Jewish friend shared it on Facebook. It is that good…….

  4. This is garbage. Yes Christians have exiled themselves into a world of hate and evil. But that doesn’t mean that letting some refugee from another country stay at your house will change the world. You want to change the world? Teach someone to read, learn another language or learn anything that makes you slightly more interesting than a jerk writing about how his rich assjouralism

    • Beej says:

      I’m pretty sure letting a refugee stay with you would change the world for that refugee

      • Susan says:

        It certainly would. Saving someone’s life is pretty amazing. I’d say people would rather be illiterate than dead.

    • We have to do what we can to help the people we can.

      Being a follower of Jesus means risking things for the sake of Jesus.

      One thing we have to give up is fear, though. We have a command to love the unloved and reach the unreached. It means we have to be a little more like Jesus and a little less like our old, cramped, fearful selves.

  5. This is garbage. Yes Christians have exiled themselves into a world of hate and evil. But that doesn’t mean that letting some refugee from another country stay at your house will change the world. You want to change the world? Teach someone to read, learn another language or learn anything that makes you slightly more interesting than a jerk writing about how his rich ass jouralism job allows him to make ideological conclusions. None of which need proof.

    Don’t hate, but find a way to love that is not turning people away and doesn’t include the Richie Richs need to give one Americans entire year salary as a way of sacrament for making 20 times one Americans entire year salary.

    • theboeskool says:

      Thank you for letting us all know the only ways to actually change the world. If I may, can I add to the list of effective, world-changing strategies this one: “Going on people’s blogs and trolling their comments section with incoherent ramblings.”

    • Clive says:

      Because someone has a differing point of view to yourself, you refer to it as incoherrent ramblings!! Hmm I understood what was being said by the writer. Do you always respond in such a patronising and pious way when you have no reasonable response? This is a public blog, and there is no way that comment could be termed as trolling. If you don’t want to encourage debate then why have you made this blog public?

      • theboeskool says:

        I don’t need to respond, but I will… and I will try to be as straight forward as I can be. I genuinely don’t know what you are talking about with the whole “rich ass journalism” comments. I make no money from this blog, though I offer people a chance to help support my writing if that want to. That amounts to about $200 a month. Which I think is pretty fantastic, but is far from Richie Rich status. Your first words (“This is garbage”) was the clearest part of your comment. You lead with that, then you tell me that taking in a refugee would be worthless, followed by your own pontificating of activities that ACTUALLY have worth. Then you call me a jerk, and accuse me of hating. Which is weird, because I look at this post as one of my more loving posts.

        Then you go around to a bunch of the other commenters and pester them (and me) with challenges. I’m about 75% sure that you are a person I have already attempted to block from this page–mostly because the way you handle yourself is so similar to another guy who was overly aggressive. The reason I used the word “incoherent” is because this–“find a way to love that is not turning people away and doesn’t include the Richie Richs need to give one Americans entire year salary as a way of sacrament for making 20 times one Americans entire year salary”–is not a sentence. Not even close.

        But make no mistake, what you are doing is trolling. And I don’t care one bit if you are here or not. So behave and be nice, or you won’t be… and this time I’ll flag your IP address.

      • Clive says:

        Not sure who your response was aimed at as some of the response appears to be aimed at me and the rest at someone else. You really need to be clearer. I have never written on your responses before so it can’t have been me you tried to block. Getting to that, you block people who disagree with you?? How bizarre! Why post to the public if you are just searching for an adoring public? I am still waiting for any form of response to any of the points I have made. Generally the sign of someone who really isn’t too sure about their ramblings when they won’t engage in discussion. I wonder if ISIS would enter into discussion with the west?

      • theboeskool says:

        Nope. I block people who are overly aggressive jack asses who make this a unsafe place for people to share their thoughts.

      • Clive says:

        Listen, I’ll leave you be now. Not for any other reason than you don’t understand what discussion means. You do not know how to debate and it is quite obvious you and your ilk live in some weird parallel universe and have little understanding of what is actually happening in this world and even less any constructive suggestions on how to put it right. WOW =D

  6. Gil Gonzalez says:

    Reblogged this on Gil Gonzalez and commented:
    We need to not let fear and rhetoric keep us from what we’re called to do as Christ followers.

    “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’ Matthew 25:40

  7. jhaney says:

    Yay! Great post, Chris! I have a sofa to share 🙂

  8. Clive says:

    Seriously, when the nearest neighbours to Syria (apart from Lebanon) won’t take these refugees, and are ALL islamic nations. Then think to yourself why this is. It has nothing to do with being safe, as when they arrive in Turkey another islamic nation where they are safe and many then find work to then move into Europe. Why? Because in many European countries we have state benefits which we are required by law to pay those in need. So then they take these benefits and send them back to their home nations where that £1 is worth £50. How many of these refugees/migrants do you see with mobile phones? Yes most of them. Have you heard about the massive increase of rapes in both Germany and Sweden. Seriously your religion blinds you to what is actually happening.

    • theboeskool says:

      We got it, Clive. Refugee = Rapist

      When Jesus was talking in Matthew 25, he probably forgot to mention that we shouldn’t love the outcast if we have a general sense that they are bad people… Just like we shouldn’t love our enemies if they are actually mean to us. We should probably only love the enemies who are safe and kind to us. Wait… Wouldn’t that make them friends? But everybody loves their friends… Cool! This “following Jesus” stuff isn’t hard at all…

      • Clive says:

        Is this typical of the brand of religion you believe in? You take one sentence and ignore the rest? You’re as fanatical as they are!

    • fraochjean says:

      How can you fault them for sending money back to their loved ones who are still living in a war torn country? Wouldn’t you do the same if you were in their shoes? And of course they have phones! So being a refugee means you have no right to basic necessities like a phone?

      • Clive says:

        Are you serious? My country is as near bankrupt as makes no difference. We have just shed 30K Police officers because we cannot afford them. We have an NHS (Our health service) needing 5 Billion just to stay afloat. We have holidaymakers coming to the UK to get medical treatment because they know they can get it for free. We have soldiers living rough because they cannot get the treatment for PTSD. We have multicultural schools where there are classes where the kids speak 12 different languages and extra tutoring has to be paid for so they can at least learn something. We have a 1 1/2 Trillion of debt and a deficit that is still after 8 years not under control. We have social housing waiting lists of 5 years for UK residents and now you’re wondering why I am opposed to my hard earned taxes, firstly housing migrants, and refugees that we cannot afford. Then furnish these homes. Then provide them with benefits so they can actually live. These people have paid nothing into our social system or tax system and now you think it’s okay for them to send my money back to their home nation!! I have a cheap crappy mobile phone and many of them has new expensive internet phones. Demanding this that and the other when we have old age pensioners told by our politicians to put and extra jumper on to keep warm, as they cannot afford to have the heating on. So please before you want to give my money to everyone who wishes to come to my country because they get free money, then sorry but no. It is NOT my fault that your government and my government want to rampage around the world dropping bombs on people and then come to me for MY money. Sorry but NOT my fault. IF you want them to come to my country and claim my benefits. then I i tell you what how about you sponsor one of them If you send me a cheque for lets say 2k then I accept you will have a valid position for your argument to give them everyone’s money. My email is clivenorman@hotmail.com I’ll provide you with my address so you can send a cheque. Oh and to sign off. MOst have travelled thousands of miles through many countries that can provide them with safe haven.

      • Clive says:

        Oh and since when has a phone been a basic necessity? Or is that a US basic necessity?

    • Actually, surrounding Islamic nations have taken refugees – 1.7 million of them.

  9. Robert Horner says:

    I too am a Christian. But that has little to do with this discussion. If you saw a pit bull sitting outside your house would you let your five year old daughter run outside to play with said dog? Maybe if you knew to whom it belonged, was it mean, did it like children had it ever bitten someone. The same should be true of the refugees. They must be vetted, as best we can before we open our arms and cities to them. We now live in a dangerous World and it only takes one brain washed and demented person to cause a whole lot of grief. I am not anti-refugee. But I am cautious and careful on who I invite to my home.

    • 5 year old orphans aren’t pit bulls.

      You might not know this about pit bulls, though. They were originally seen as the best protectors for infants and children. Check the old ads from the early 20th century.

      What changed isn’t pit bulls. What changed is how people see pit bulls. People let their fears and crazy stories drive them to the belief that pit bulls are dangerous.

      Maybe that’s what’s happening here. Maybe we’re being made to fear people who have no other defect than being homeless and destitute.

  10. Clive says:

    I don’t want to get into a slanging match as that would be demeaning to both of us. However I’ll leave you with two things to ponder. Firstly you do not believe in Hell. So what is the point then of becoming a christian as the Bible quite clearly shows that non believers and those who do not accept Christ as their saviour, will in fact go to Hell. So, sounds like a bit of cherry picking to me. Then we come to the fact that you would welcome a complete stranger into your home who believes more fanatically than you do that Islam is the only true religion and the Infidels must be slaughtered. I challenge you to go to Calais and the first Syrian you find with a passport. Take him back to the US on a holiday visa and have him live with your Beautiful wife and Beautiful children (incidentally many Arabic men take the comfort of young boys as much as they do girls, as women in their brand of Islam are just short of being slaves and baby makers).

    Finally here is a video most of which I know personally to be very recent. If your are genuinely interested look up You Tube videos about Islam in Luton, England.

    http://www.jewsnews.co.il/2015/11/11/the-most-shocking-european-islamic-refugee-video-that-you-will-ever-see-however-bad-you-think-it-is-its-way-worse-this-proves-it/

    If you are unwilling to do these things then I can only come to one conclusion!

    • Beej says:

      If avoidance of eternal damnation is the only reason you are a Christian, then you are doing it wrong…and missing out of a lot of great stuff, I might add. Ponder that, Clive.

      • Clive says:

        I am an atheist and think all your religions are lunacy, and the cause of so many deaths in this world. You are all frankly certifiable. Still talking to imaginary beings in the 21st century. Hilarious. Judging by many of the comments on here I am even more convinced that many of you actually need psychiatric help.

    • The early Christians didn’t use the rescue from hell as the basis of their gospel. They used the resurrected Christ and the power of His love in the life of believers. They convinced the world because they reached out to those who were their enemies with very few tools other than words of hope and acts of kindness.

  11. fraochjean says:

    Yes, yes, a million times yes to everything you said. I’m not Christian but I read your blog because it shows me that there are still good Christians out there. When the attacks happened in France it made me sad but at the same time I looked around at the U.S. reaction and shook my head at their ethnocentric way of reacting to it. When these atrocious and horrible things happen to the “other” people of the world on a daily basis it’s just business as usual and give me my Venti latte please, thank you and have a nice day. But when it’s white Europeans it happens to then we all “stand with” them and cry and shake our fists towards the sky at the inhumanity of our sad world.

    The Facebook/Twitter filters drive me crazy because my first reaction is “what makes the 132 people in France more important than the thousands of Iraqi, Syrian, and Afghani lives that have been lost in recent years?” I saw this a couple days ago: http://observer.com/2015/11/many-call-for-syrian-flag-filter-after-facebook-asks-users-to-change-photos-for-france/ But the question now is will social media hear our pleas for Middle Eastern flag filters? I really hope so, but I have my doubts.

    Even if you aren’t successful in providing a temporary home for a refugee family, I hope you know you have helped them in other ways by simply using your voice. Thank you for continually being a good egg, Chris.

  12. jlbrew says:

    I hope you find the song in the link relevant to your message. Whenever I feel hopeless about our world I find comfort in listening and singing.

    FYI: The non-English words are Sanskrit. The song or kirtan is used alone or with yoga as a devotional practice. The story of Sita Ram is a Hindu mythological love story.

  13. Thanks for being one of the growing number of voices for sanity in the Christian world. I, too, am a Christian who doesn’t buy into the old constructs but rather focus on the words of Jesus himself. I usually just call myself a Jesus follower now, to avoid being mistaken for a hate-filled, fear-mongering nut case. So sad. Peace, brother

  14. And Clive, I wish you peace, too. I’m sorry you are so unhappy.

    • Yeah, me too.

      We who follow Christ do so for many reasons, but one thing’s that clear is that we are all on a journey. We all start from different places, and we all have a long way to go–and when we come across those who are still bound up in fear and despair, we have to have grace for them.

      We don’t know where Clive is coming from, but it appears it’s a place of fear and despair.

      We can pray for him and support him as best as we can given the limitations of the Internet and its anonymity.

    • Clive says:

      Melanie and Stephen you really do live in another world. I am not unhappy in the slightest. I am retired and thoroughly enjoying life. But when I see people writing about things they clearly know nothing about, and twisting scripture to suit their ideal of what christianity is about then I will not flinch from putting them right. I do notice that not one of you have addressed any of the points I have made.

      • theboeskool says:

        You are an atheist who is upset because you believe that I am twisting scripture? Nah, you’re not trolling at all…

        Clive, in all honesty, if you asked 1000 people to read the things you have posted here, and then asked them the question, “Do you think this guy is happy?” how many of the 1000 do you think would say, “Yes. That seems like a happy person.”

      • Again, I am sorry you are unhappy and I wish you well in your faith-journey.

  15. Pingback: 16 Things Refugees Are Like… | The Boeskool

  16. jhaney says:

    I think Clive should read the comments on your post, Substitutionary Atonement Is Miracle Gro For Atheists (October 27). Because I think he is happy as he is.

    • Clive says:

      None of your comments have addressed anything to do with the original post. I wonder why? None of this makes me sad or unhappy. I am just finding it hard to believe in the 21st century there are still actually people like you who insist that an imaginary being controls your lives. Not unhappy. Scared, yes. Not of you god but that you guys are not getting help lol

  17. I suppose you are right, Clive. I do live in another world, at least I’m trying to. It’s called the Kingdom of God, and it’s where people love one another and don’t need to “put other people right” but rather humbly seek the divine in everything and everyone. As an atheist, of course this sounds like madness to you. I understand. I used to be there. Perhaps you are “happy,” as you say, but you sound extremely angry to me, which doesn’t equate to happiness in my book. Again, I wish you peace. I won’t be responding to you anymore, though, because your behavior is very clearly “trolling,” and I don’t want to encourage it on this valuable blog.

    • Clive says:

      Seriously what do you consider trolling? Someone who disagrees with you! Then why post a public blog if you don’t wish to be disagreed with. Stephen you can’t just say “Not true” and then not gives credible examples of why my very true statement is in fact not. HAve any of you ever had a discussion with someone of an opposing view?? I very much doubt it lol

      • The word “debate” has a specific meaning, and it does not mean “read a long, long, incoherent set of sentences, attempt to parse some kind of meaning, set out that meaning, ask if that meaning is rightly decoded, then attempt to discuss each idea in the decoded argument.”

        I literally do not have time to unscramble your thoughts to form any kind of coherent set of ideas that could be then addressed in a debate.

        What you appear to want is simply an argument on various ideas that aren’t clearly defined (so they can’t be refuted or proved), and do so in such a way that personal issues become part of the discussion.

        I’m not up for that. If you want to have that kind of discussion, you’ll have to have it without me.

      • Clive says:

        You are hilarious. Have you actually read what you just wrote? Wow you really have no idea what debate or discussion is. I imagine you never made it to college and have subsequently lived with that massive chip on your shoulder. Take an evening class. What I find so humorous is that you actually believe that writing random words into what you believe to be well constructed sentences actually means that you are holding a debate/discussion LOL

  18. Brian Ansorge says:

    Random? Random?

    Ha, Clive, I was in your corner, until I read that last post and decided, you don’t have to be “certifiable” to be a basket case.

    Good luck with that, really.

    Good luck!

  19. Hi Chris, I’m French and I’m Christian, thank you for your article. Thanks bro. I also write about my faith, I’d love if you check out my blog, here’s what I wrote after the attacks in Paris ; https://madamemorgane.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/parisjetaime/
    God bless
    Morgane

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