Monday, January 30, 2017


“The King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink.  I was a stranger and you took Me in, was naked and you clothed Me.  I was sick, and you visited Me.  I was in prison and you came to Me’.”  Matthew 25:34-36

There is a lot of political and social hay being made about the president’s recent action regarding immigrants, but I do not wish to change anyone’s minds about whether or not the travel ban is improper, illegal, immoral, or a matter of national security.  I have my own thoughts about that, but I have been to share the Gospel – not enforce the law.

We had the privilege of welcoming representatives of The CALL (Children of Arkansas Loved for a Lifetime) to share a word with us in yesterday’s worship, and the statistics regarding the number of children in Arkansas in foster care as opposed to the number of foster homes available is staggering.  For a good, round number, there are 5000 children and only 1000 homes set to welcome them.

I have seen some Arkansas churches proudly displaying on their outdoor signs and on social media that they “welcome refugees”.  In light of what was shared with us yesterday, I cannot help but to wonder how many of those church members offer foster care.  Are these 5000 children not “refugees”?  Or are these churches only willing to open the building’s basement but not their own homes?  There is a big difference; for the “church” is the congregation – not the building.

There is no judgment here.  Believe me when I say I have struggled with serving as a foster parent just as I am struggling with this travel ban.  I am torn between reasonable security and the desperate needs so many face.  And I will continue to struggle about how to teach it and how to live it. 

We are not all equipped to be foster parents, and some foster parents should not be.  Having met some truly dedicated foster parents (and I am related to one), I am inspired by the stout hearts of those who have opened their homes to our own little “refugees”.  It takes a very special person to be able to provide this kind of sanctuary to children whose lives have been upended by so many domestic issues.  The CALL is a Christian ministry established and sustained by generous hearts and generous givers (they are a 501c3 entity) to help recruit, equip, train, and support families who are so willing to serve in this remarkable ministry of opening one’s home.  And they need us all more than ever before.

The idea of welcoming and housing international refugees is somewhat complicated, but protesting the president’s international action while there is such a great need domestically is only theoretical if we are unwilling to provide a literal “safe space” for children right here at home who have been displaced due to tragic and often dangerous circumstances.  It may not be a fair comparison, but why fight by protest via social media when there is a great need and a solution, quite literally, right before us?  If we are unwilling to open our hearts and our homes to children whose needs are so great, how can we protest the president’s action?  Could it be that we are ok with welcoming international refugees as long as someone else houses, feeds, and supports them?

St. Paul encouraged the Christians in Rome to “think soberly as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith” (Romans 12:3).  That “sober” judgment is not about what we think others should be doing; it is entirely about what we ourselves are so willing to do … according to the measure of faith entrusted to every individual Christian.  We must all look deeply within ourselves and determine that Arkansas does not need more protesters; it is too easy to find fault with others.  Arkansas – and the nation – needs solutions; and we have them.  We just have to be willing to put those solutions to good use.

So please, let us get down from our political soapboxes and open our hearts.  We cannot speak Truth to justice in protest from “on high” when we are already waist-deep in need.

Holy Father, show us the Way!


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