In the midst of all the distractions of a ramped-up presidential political campaign and a global economy that demonstrating a volatile correction downward, I think we are missing something big. Migration and immigration are a phenomenon as consistent as any through the history of humanity, but what is happening in the west is a dynamic worth paying attention to with great diligence.
A few months back I mentioned Dr. Jehu Hanciles who is the Chair of Global Christianity at Candler School of Theology. Dr. Hanciles has made his life work studying human migration and immigration through a biblical lens. I was blessed to be with him today for a brief time of teaching and lunch and must confess that his expertise in the subject is captivating.
Today Dr. Hanciles shared with us the extreme importance of intercultural partnerships if the church in America is to remain relevant. Why? Because of the number of immigrants that continue to make the church in America a diverse movement – no longer a primarily Anglo movement. 70% of the 30 million immigrants that have come to America over the past few years are Christian. That is a new phenomena and one that a country slightly 250 years old has never navigated. Out of many of his teaching points today the one that struck me and stuck was this statement, “Migration is intrinsic to, not incidental to, the Biblical narrative.” Wow!
Will you join me in prayerful discernment about what that means for us and our local churches and connectional movements, please? The opportunity before us to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in so many ways is unprecedented. In the words of the famous hymn writer, Harry Fosdick,
Cure Thy children’s warring madness,
Bend our pride to Thy control.
Shame our wanton selfish gladness,
Rich in things and poor in soul.
Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
Lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal,
Lest we miss Thy kingdom’s goal.
Lord let it be so for us!