A Promise Even Greater than that of Lady Liberty
A Featured Review of
Our God is Undocumented: Biblical Faith and Immigrant Justice.
Ched Myers and Matthew Colwell.
Paperback: Orbis Books, 2012.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]
Reviewed by Jonathan Felton.
A Church without Borders
One could be forgiven for expecting this book to be a rehash of liberal arguments about immigration policy, anchored by a smattering of bible verses. It isn’t. Ched Myers and Matthew Colwell have something else in mind, and their short book contributes some big ideas to discussions of “biblical faith and immigrant justice “
The authors acknowledge that the reflections in their book are “unapologetically theological and ecclesial.” This is a book about God and the church. They are more concerned with conveying “a faith-rooted ethic regarding the sojourner in our midst than with the current debates over U.S. immigration and naturalization policies.” Acceptance of their thesis does have implications for our attitude toward those policies. The authors hope we will approach them with a revised sense of loyalty, and therefore with a renewed set of priorities.
The authors urge their readers to realize “a church without borders,” a conviction which “arises from our own experience with immigrants as well as from our study of scripture. Both teach us that God has a special relationship with those marginalized by social and political systems and therefore that the church should as well.”
Myers locates the theological heart of their thesis in Jesus’ death on the cross, through which “all walls of division have been broken down, and all laws legitimizing enmity have been nullified.” They mean to stand with the apostle Paul who in his letter to the Ephesians proclaims the mystery of God’s will—God’s dream—of the unification of all things in Christ.
In Christ, he says, we are welcomed into a new social solidarity, an undivided house. “Pursuing this vocation in a world of division inevitably entails challenging statutory laws, cultural prejudices, and institutionalized separations,” Myers writes. Since Christ has declared shalom “to those far off and to those near,” he concludes, the church should not live peaceably with walls of hostility.
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Thanks JOnathan for the thoughtful review. Much appreciated. Ched Myers