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Introduction to Our Blog

June 23, 2010

I am privileged to write the first post on the Christians in a Land of Immigrants Conference blog.  The purpose of this post is simply to acquaint you with what we’re hoping to do here.

Each week (and perhaps more frequently) a new essay will be posted.  These essays are written by a variety of people from many different walks of life but they will all deal with the complex issue we are all concerned about: Immigration in the United States.  Each essay will be rooted in love and intended to foster dialogue; each will focus on a particular aspect of immigration and our response as Christians.  We are planning essays on topics such as: “Why the Church should Care?”, “The Power of Words”, “The Theology of the ‘other’” and more.  There will also be a generous sprinkling of Personal Experience essays in which the authors explain how immigration has touched them personally and their thoughts relating to that experience.

For us, the entire point of this blog is dialogue and discussion.  We want to create a place where Christians concerned about immigration can come to hear opinions, state their own and, hopefully, where we can all learn and grow together.  It’s also a great way to be introduced to the kind of topics we will cover in more detail at the conference on October 1-2, 2010 at George Fox University.

So “Leave a comment” after each post you read, telling us what the author’s words brought to mind for you and if you agree or disagree with the ideas the author presents.  We are not afraid of healthy discussion, so please don’t hesitate to disagree.  Of course, any hateful comments will not be tolerated .

Looking forward to starting the conversation!

6 Comments leave one →
  1. Matt permalink
    July 1, 2010 3:23 am

    Can’t wait to see some amazing posts!

  2. Rod Pharris permalink
    July 1, 2010 2:53 pm

    What gives me concern, when I insert myself into a position where I might consider immigration to another nation, is the question of “What has happened in my own native country that leads me to opt to leave my home and move to another?” Is it economics? Can I no longer support myself and/or my family? Is it politics? Is the government no longer just but oppressive?
    I think that home conditions must become pretty bad for a person to arrive at the neccesity of turning his or her back on their country and culture in order to relocate in another country and culture with better living conditions. Things would have to become awfully grave for me to think I needed to leave my native area in order to go to a place where the “grass is greener.”
    So, the concern that arises in me is this: How do I (and Friends) go about improving conditions in nations where people commonly conclude that they must leave and go elsewhere?

    • Gar Mickelson permalink
      July 1, 2010 4:14 pm

      Great question Rod! You comment bears real significance to the current immigration situation. I would imagine that most people who’re coming (to the U.S.) are hoping to have a better economic situation as a result- this could be true for folks who are legit and desire to have legit employment, and also true for those who might not care about legitimacy.
      The problem is that for most people, when they finally get here it isn’t as easy or great as they thought (never is right?). There are many entities who would exploit their dreams and marginalize their concerns- probably very similar to their home-country situation.
      I too am hopeful that we can engage in good and effective work with others to improve economic conditions in the countries that are open to it and where the help actually gets to those who really need it. I also hope that we can work to improve the conditions here- protecting people from those who would take advantage of their situation.

  3. Mary Hopkins permalink
    July 1, 2010 4:11 pm

    Thanks for this blog. Wonderful idea, one very close to my own heart.

    Rod’s question is very much to the point. I guess there are exceptions to everything, but I don’t know many folks who’ve left home lightly. One of the things that impressed me about the immigrant community that I’ve gotten to know here in Boston is the load of grief and homesickness that people bear — and bear well, for the most part. For many years I did a piece of the bereavement-support work in my home Meeting, and the sense of loss was part of what drew me to pray with Central American Friends.

    As a liberal Friend, I sometimes react to Evangelical Friends’ positivity and gratitude in the same dour way that as a Bostonian I can react to Southerners’ chronic smiles. They take a bit of getting used to. In the context of the local Iglesia Evangelica Amigos, it became really clear that the attitude of gratitude-first was a conscious and faithful choice, made in the face of quite a lot of worldly trouble. It’s been a really illuminating study for me.

    As for why people leave, that gets rather political, but it’s very real. Maybe some of us who’ve been studying here in NEYM should send along some of our writings and thinking on the subject.

    Thanks again for the blog. I’ll keep reading!

    • Rod Pharris permalink
      July 8, 2010 2:32 am

      On the economic side of things, I’ve heard good things about “microloans”. As I understand it, these are small loans given to enterprising people in disadvantaged areas so that these people can pursue their business dreams. I don’t know much more than that.

  4. Stephen R. Miller, Esq. permalink
    October 1, 2010 1:08 am

    Hi Everyone
    We recently started the nonprofit Affordable Immigration Services in Salem Oregon. Our mission is to help the immigrant community become aware of the possibilities they currently have and assist them in realizing their possibilities. We are a non-denominational Christian organization and would like to collaborate with churches, and maximize our resources. We are already starting satellite operations in McMinnville at a Hispanic church.
    Besides myself, we have a very capable paralegal that we will be pursuing accreditation for, and a legal assistant. Another goal of ours is to train capable accredited representatives, who can almost operate as an immigration attorney without the bother of all that education.
    We have a lot of clients coming all the way from Portland so we are looking for a partner in the Portland area .

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