“I’m not trying to stop a hurricane, I’m not trying to shake the ground below. I’m just trying to find a way to make it back home.
I’m not trying to part the ocean waves, I’m not trying to overthrow the throne. I’m just trying to find a way to make it back home. I’m just trying to get home.”
I will run down that long-hearted, treacherous road to get home!”
— American Authors
With the Paris attacks, and the political posturing surrounding the current refugee crisis, I finally found the impetus needed to start a blog. My writings will be an effort to convince you to “welcome the strangers” who have lost the concept of home.
On one hand, “home” is an illusion. Home is based on the idea of security and belonging, companionship and unconditional love, warmth and comfort. The problem is that, of those words I just used to describe home, every one of them is temporal — subject to change, subject to end. One day I’ll write about illusion.
One another hand, home is a beautiful dream. Since the 1970’s, the United States has become the land of dreams for over 3 million individuals and families who have been settled safely by our refugee resettlement process. Each of them was vetted, a process which become much more thorough after 9/11. The overwhelming majority of these 3 million people simply want to find home for themselves and their children. To reference the song above, they aren’t trying to shake the ground or overthrow any throne — they are simply trying to get home. And almost all of them have walked a treacherous road to get here. Each and every one of these men, women, and children are made in the image of God. That fact gives each and every one of them the immeasurable value of human dignity. One day soon (and maybe many days after that), I will write about dignity.
I use the phrase “overwhelming majority” because there may be a bad apple in the bunch. It is important to point out that of the 3 million refugees resettled over the last 4 decades, there hasn’t been even 1! At least regarding terrorist-related activities. The vetting process has been that thorough. But let’s assume a bad apple gets through. We still need to rely on the phrase repeated again and again throughout the Scriptures: “Be not afraid.” I will write often about overcoming fear.
Having lived 6 years in the Balkans — known for decades as a place of ethnic and religious tension and backward Communism, but currently transformed into the migrant highway toward the West — I affirm that this crisis is global. Many ex-pat friends who still live where I lived have seen the short-term mission and goals of their NGO’s shift from whatever they were sent to do, to caring for the needs of sojourners who simply need a smile, an apple, or a pair of shoes to continue that treacherous road. These friends are living out lifestyles of compassion daily. I will write about compassion.
So this blog will be about home, illusion, compassion, dignity, fear — and welcoming the stranger. In the meantime, the organization I direct, The Welcome Network, has begun to assemble online resources and articles which may be helpful. You can find them at www.thewelcomenet.org/refugees. To borrow the hashtag of one of my friends in Macedonia (one of those giving out apples, shoes, and love)...