The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Posts Tagged ‘Immigration

Could “Government is the problem” be part of the problem?

with 10 comments

Like so:

Government is bad,
therefore,

We should cut its funding whenever we have a chance to do so.
Of course, then …

Government agencies end up under-staffed, under-equipped, and unable to keep up (years-long immigration-hearing delays come to mind, or the Katrina response, or …)
And,

Government’s best and brightest administrators get fed up and leave, finding industry positions that ask less and pay more,
Which opens the door for …

Incompetent, patronage-appointed bureaucrats become administrators (“Great job, Brownie!”)
And, Presto!

Proof!  Just look at how badly this agency functions!  Government is the problem! It can’t do anything right!

Maybe the idea that “government is the problem” needs to be replaced with “bad government is the problem.”

Finally, a related quote:

(Newser) – Barack Obama’s former car czar says he had no choice but to fire GM’s Rick Wagoner. “Everyone knew Detroit’s reputation for insular, slow-moving cultures,” Steven Rattner writes in an essay for Fortune. “Even by that low standard, I was shocked by the stunningly poor management that we found, particularly at GM, where we encountered, among other things, perhaps the weakest finance operation any of us had ever seen in a major company.”

Aha!  “Business is the problem?”

‘Course not.  Bad business is the problem.

sig1_100w

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Bishop of Chicago: Immigration Raids ‘Immoral’

with 2 comments

Jim Wallis tells of a nationwide tour urging immigration reform that stopped in Chicago:
clipped from www.huffingtonpost.com

La Conscience (d'après Victor Hugo)

Image via Wikipedia

Cardinal Francis George, archbishop of Chicago, and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops … used the occasion to call on the Obama administration to stop immigration raids and urged passage of comprehensive immigration reform […]
[T]he cardinal

“… sought to cast the issue in moral terms, calling it “a matter of conscience” and an important step to creating a more peaceful society. ‘We cannot strengthen families when people live in fear from day to day,’ […]

The continuing raids around the country [are] indeed a matter of conscience. We are taking parents from their children; we are separating families. This is not what in our tradition we should do. Protecting and supporting families and those relationships is crucial. The immigration system is totally broken and needs comprehensive reform, but it must be changed in ways that are compassionate, fair, just, and consistent with the biblical command to “welcome the stranger.”

While I applaud President Obama for repeating his commitment to immigration reform last week, I join Cardinal George in also urging an immediate end to raids.

blog it

It’s an excellent thought. Wrenching families apart is not only cruel, but unwise, even in practical terms. Hurt people hurt people. Strengthening families is, indeed, “an important step to creating a more peaceful society.”

If we’re kind – or even just smart – minimizing trauma will be part of immigration reform.


Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

5 former slaves who are changing the world

with one comment

Five astonishing stories.  Click the link for the details.
clipped from razoo.com

Iqbal Masih was sold into bonded labor at a carpet factory in his native Pakistan at the age of four[…] At ten, he ran away […] refused to return to the factory, and began to travel the world, visiting rallies, meetings, and even elementary school classrooms, to tell the story of the abuses he had suffered as a child slave, imploring others to help fight for an end to human trafficking […]

Hadijatou Mani was sold into slavery at the age of 12 for $500 […] [At 24] Mani brought a lawsuit against the Niger government, claiming that they hadn’t enforced their anti-slavery laws to protect her […] Mani won the case—a landmark ruling in the human trafficking world. A regional tribunal forced the government to pay Mani $19,000 in damages […]

in southern Sudan, Simon Deng was abducted at the age of nine […] Deng, now 47, is a United States citizen who works as a lifeguard on Coney Island. But his primary mission is raising awareness of human trafficking in Sudan, both through speeches and as the leader of the Sudan Freedom Walk, a 300-mile trek from the United Nations’ headquarters in New York City to Capitol Hill […]

Somaly Mam, a Cambodian orphan, never knew her parents. She doesn’t even know how old she is […] Around the age of 16, she was sold to a brothel in Phnom Penh […] When she finally escaped the brothel at age 21 after a friend’s murder, Mam vowed to devote the rest of her life to helping other sex slaves go free […] Since escaping the brothel, Mam has helped more than 4,000 former sex slaves to go free […]
Given Kachepa from Zambia, was a member of a children’s choir […] a charity organization asked the child singers to move to Texas and perform there […] he would receive an education and a salary […] [Once in Texas] they were forced to perform up to seven concerts a day, and were forced to go without food when they misbehaved. […] the boys never saw a penny for their work. […]the INS removed the boys […] Today, Kachepa is committed to speaking out against slavery […]
blog it
Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

The Pope’s beautiful “insult”

with 7 comments

Pope Benedict XVIPope Benedict XVI well illustrated the tension between citizenship in the Kingdom of God and citizenship in a nation of this world. Here’s a lovely summary by Patty Kupfer from God’s Politics:

WSJ: That ‘Insulting’ Pope (by Patty Kupfer)

During his visit last week, Pope Benedict XVI gave a consistent and prophetic call to U.S. Catholics:

I want to encourage you and your communities to continue to welcome the immigrants who join your ranks today, to share their joys and hopes, to support them in their sorrow and trials, and to help them flourish in their new home. This, indeed, is what your fellow countrymen have done for generations. From the beginning, they have
opened their doors to the tired, the poor, the “huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” These are the people whom America has made her own.

Somehow this beautiful pastoral call Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Monte

April 22, 2008 at 5:35 pm

Wanted: worship music

with 29 comments

Violin and Guitar, 1913Update, 12-8-08: Before you launch into this post, here’s an excerpt from a sermon that mentions something similar. You can see it in context here.

Can we look at our worship and come away with a sense that our group’s big thing is caring for humans who suffer? We’ve seen it in Jesus – nearly every single chapter, sooner or later, he’d get back to caring for human needs.  And now he’s used it to define ultimate success or failure.

Consider our songs of worship as a measure of what matters to us.  Here are some titles and first lines.  See if they reflect this passion for dishonored sufferers Jesus has been preaching about:

  1. “How beautiful!”
  2. “You are my hiding place.”
  3. “You are here, among us.”
  4. “Jesus, you are the one, gives me hope when the day is done.”
  5. I’m trading my sorrows.”
  6. “We want a new passion for Jesus – one that will burn in our hearts, like never before.”
  7. Open the eyes of my heart, Lord – I want to see you” [especially amusing, given today’s gospel story about how the good guys were the ones who served without seeing]
  8. “I’m here, to meet with you. Come and meet with me.”
  9. “Lord, I lift your name on high – Lord I love to sing your praises” [why?] “I’m so glad you’re in my life – I’m so glad you came to save us.”  [I’m so glad I work for Honeywell]
  10. “You-ou are, forever my friend.”
  11. “This is the air I breathe – your holy presence, living in me . . . and I’m lost without You.”

Nope. They’re about ooey-gooey with Jesus, as if no one else on earth existed.  And lest we get snobbish about modern Christian music, remember that that the songs in the hymnal are no more world-focused.  Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. [ I’m on my way to heav’n I know, so I’ll let others be.]

The inestimable delight of sensing God’s nearness that our music reflects is a wonderful thing.  But we skipped dinner and went straight for the dessert.  What’s going to happen with that kind of diet? […]

But wait – didn’t Jesus picture himself standing at the end of time dividing the gentiles sheep from goats based upon how they cared for wounded people?  Would you think that would at least appear somewhere in our hymnology?  What is up here?

Could it be that the church has become so ensconced in pushing its own theology that it no longer reflects the priorities of Jesus himself?

Now, the real post:

We live in a day more drenched with beautiful worship music than any in history. But I need some things I can’t find.

Two years ago, I began preaching through the Bible via the Revised Common Lectionary. Why? To allow the Bible’s priorities – assumedly, God’s – a greater role in shaping my preaching priorities. If something came up a lot (I reasoned), it was because it was in the Bible a lot. So it must be important to God.

I was surprised by what those things were. For instance:

– loving one another well (building the authenticity of the community of faith) came up all the time
– God’s preferential passion for people of little earthly influence was a constant hot topic
– Jesus Christ was much more the focus of the Bible than my preaching had previously reflected
– the ongoing transformation of the people of God was the sine qua non of evangelism.

So far, so good, this was exciting.

Then I’d go looking for worship music that reflected what I was finding in Scripture.

Bzzzt! Sorry, you chose the wrong door, there’s no prize behind that one!

For building the community of faith, we’ve sung The Servant Song a lot (enough to get gentle snickers from the worship band) because there wasn’t much else! We have plenty of paeans to the glories of our radically individualistic faith, but almost nada about how “we are being built together” or “Everything you are and think and do is permeated with Oneness” (Eph. 4.6, The Message), or “They will know you are my disciples by your love for one another.”

For extolling Jesus’ passion for the poor, I found . . . ah . . . [imagine sound of thumping on empty barrel]. Yet Jesus insists that we serve him by serving them. It is a passion he lives and breathes – perhaps the one mentioned in Scripture more than any other – and can you think of a song or hymn that calls us to it?

As for songs that see us as a people getting better, becoming more attractive to those who can see Christ living through us – again, I’m stumped.

Weird, huh? Here is Jesus, living out these wonderful, radical, world-changing priorities . . . and those priorities are virtually invisible in the hymnology of his followers!

So, my plea: Help me out here.. Help me find worship music that tells of the longings of Jesus himself, that tells of the miraculous building of communities of love, that tells of the Master’s preferential passion for the dispossessed, that tells of the transformational reality of life together beneath the Cross, that tells of the Kingdom of God’s movement into our work and world. New or old, I’m game.

Whatcha got?

Technorati Tags: , , ,

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]