Posted by: theNuetzels | May 22, 2007

Peterson Vs. Immigration

I know it’s been a little while since the last post, and that angers me.  I haven’t been at the computer too often of late.  But I got plenty going around in my head.  Two things that I’ve been thinking about.

1) Eugene Peterson is still the man.  I have been going thru "Reversed Thunder" with our Youth Bible Study and it has been really really good.  The book is a look at Revelation, and Peterson goes thru it a couple of chapters at a time.  The sub-title is the Revelation of John & the Praying Imagination.  The way I assume that it was written is like this…  Peterson cracked open a couple different translations, and slowly read through, picking out different things for different reasons.  He’s read his Bible many times, so anytime he read something that sounded like it was repeated elsewhere in the Bible he went back to see what it said in that instance.  Then he prayed for God to give him guidance and understanding concerning what he read.  Finally he threw himself into John’s shoes and asked, ‘what would I write as a pastor to my seven churches.’  The way he did that was to just use his imagination to see what he thought was going on.  And after meditating on the references, what was said, and his own guesswork, he weaved it into a coherent thought pulling in the whole of a chapter or two.  The book deals with sections, (Jesus, church, worship, politics, judgement, heaven, etc.) and pulls everything together very nicely.  One quote that I like…

"One of the unintended and unhappy consequences of St. John’s Armageddon vision is that it has inflamed the imaginations of the biblically illiterate into consuming endtime fantasies, distracting them from the daily valor of dogged obedience, sacrificial love, and alert endurance.  This is exactly what St. John did not intend, as even a cursory reading of his Revelation makes evident.  When people are ignorant of the imagery of prophets and gospels, and untutored in the metaphorical language of war in the story of salvation, they are easy prey for enteratining predictions of an end-time holocaust at Mount Meggido in Israel, conjured up from newspaper clippings on international politics.  Jesus told us quite clearly that the people who make these breathless and sensationalist predicitions are themselves the false Christs and false prophets that they are pretending to warn us against (Matt. 24:23-26)."

Great book and the best intro to the book of Revelation that I could imagine.

2) I have been wondering about this Immigration Bill that is in the news these days.  There are an estimated 12-20 million illegal immigrants in the country, and I have heard that the passing of this bill would give them pretty much instant amnesty.  Now I wonder about this in two different ways.  The first way is as an American citizen.  What are the perceived gains of granting these people instant citizenship?  How will this make things better?  I’ve heard that something like 15-20% of the people in our prisons are illegal immigrants.  Obviously not every illegal immigrant is here to murder, steal, or cheat American people.  Many, if not most are just trying to find a place where they can do a better job of raising their families.  But if we grant instant amnesty, without stopping the root of illegal immigration, why wouldn’t three times as many people flow into our country awaiting the next wave of amnesty?  The benefit would be that these new citizens would be paying taxes, but would that be enough to compensate for the cost of the illegal activities of other illegal immigrants?  Also wouldn’t we be rewarding illegal immigrants for just being here?

The other way that I view this is a Christian.  What does God think on American immigration policy?  Does God want me to bring my neighbor in and feed and clothe and take care of him.  A resounding YES!  But as a whole country, are we to care and clothe and feed our neighbors?  Again, a resounding yes.  Now is the way we do that through governmental legislation, or should it be through private personal conviction and hospitality?  I believe that ultimately it should be thru personal private conviction.  I think that I should be caring for my neighbors (whether legal or illegal immigrants) but I feel that if we do it as a country then there will be huge ramifications that hurt America in the long run.  Personally I believe that I am a heavenly citizen first and foremost, so therefore my allegiance to God and others, comes before my allegiance to my native country.  Bottom line, is this… I believe that God is going to take the wealth and blessing he has been pouring on Americans for a long time and he will redistribute that to more and more people.  The only question is whether his people are going to do this themselves, or will God take our money himself and redistribute it (read -failing economy and etc.)

Regardless of what happens I hope to love my neighbors better.

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