From the Pastor
The Bible was in the news a little more than usual last week, after the US Attorney General cited a passage from Romans 13 to justify the policy of separating children from their families at the US-Mexico border.
I’ll be the first to admit that there’s more than one way to read the Bible, that each of us brings our own experiences to our interpretation of those ancient words. That’s why the study of scripture is a life-long practice, best done in community. The Bible is a big book, and if we pick and choose particular texts, it’s not hard to find justification for all matter of sins: slavery, sexism, violence, war. But taken as a whole, the overwhelming message of the Bible is one of freedom from oppression, grace for our sins, acceptance of our shared humanity in the image of God, and a commitment to radical love of neighbor.
Plenty of other voices have said this in recent days, but I’ll add mine here: any reading of the scripture that leads us away from compassion, welcome, and love is a distortion of the gospel and ought not to be tolerated from any public figure—religious, political, or otherwise.
People of faith across the theological spectrum are calling for an end to the practice of family separation at our border. It’s clear that our immigration system needs a major overhaul, but taking children from their parents cannot be the way we move forward. That is not who we are. I appreciated the statement put out by our denominational leaders, which said, in part, “When we start with love, we will understand that when laws dehumanize and discriminate, we are faithful in opposing such laws, and we are faithful in using our voice and our vote to call for love.” I added my name to the statement; maybe you will too. You can read the whole statement, which also includes some suggested action items, at disciples.org.
In these contentious days, I find myself particularly grateful for our church community, and the ways we study scripture together, the ways we extend God’s welcome, the ways we do our best to be a movement for wholeness in a fragmented world. Thank you for being faithful witnesses to the message of God’s love.
It’s good to be the church together.