Last week we talked about the earth as neighbor, one who shows us compassion. She provides the possibility of life, so it seems a peculiar act of violence to carve her up like the concubine at Gibeah (Judges 19). We imagine ourselves as God separating the light from the dark. In a tragically misguided sense, that is exactly what we are doing. The lines we draw, the cuts we make, the wounds we leave — on each side of those lines are people.
Of course, violence begets violence. I’m an American. She is a Mexican. These are Indians and those are Pakistanis. Ireland and England. China and Tibet. America and Iran. The conflict seems eternal, so we patrol those borders and penetrate them as our needs dictate.
If we can’t conquer, we convert. “We” go to “them” and tell “them” how “they” can be like “us.” If they just work hard enough and adopt our form of virtue, they can become our mirror reflecting our glory back to us. Growing up an evangelical Christian, we called that “missions.”
When we go over there and convince them how great we and our ways are, they naturally want to come here to experience that greatness first-hand. It turns into more violence – and not just drug wars and anti-immigration vigilantes. The line between America and Mexico runs straight through the middle of millions of families and individuals. The lines we draw can cleave a body in two.
Please join us this Sunday, 11am at the Kessler, as we talk about immigration, missions, and the redemptive power of border-crossing.