Tuesday, January 23, 2018

A Time to Winnow

So, the government shutdown ends--until Feb. 8.  Will the Republicans in charge really deal with the Democrats' wishes to deal with those children brought into the U.S. without the proper paperwork (DACA kids and dreamers)?  I'll be surprised.

I'd be happy to be surprised, mind you.  If we can't muster sympathy for that set of immigrants, I don't have much hope for any others.

I have heard all sides of the immigration issue.  Most days, I feel like we've got a big country with lots of work opportunities--it's not a zero sum game.  I feel that immigrants and refugees have enriched the country, so why not have more?

I'm intrigued by how Christians have responded to refugees and immigrants.  I know that Lutheran Social Services have done so much to help integrate newcomers to their communities, and I know that other religious social service agencies have done the same.  Some of us point to the flight of the Holy family to Egypt to escape Herod as proof that we must be kind to those who flee.  I would argue that the commandment to welcome the stranger is woven throughout our sacred texts.

Here we are, one year into the Trump presidency.  While I am happy that some of our democratic institutions seem to be capable of resisting the autocratic urges of those in charge (and I'm including more than Trump here), I fight a daily despair about the progress that has unraveled.  I am worried about more than refugees.  I am worried about our larger planet too.

I am also, frankly, astonished that we can have a president who created a shell company to pay hush money to a porn star, and we don't see more outrage.  While in the past I have had worries about an American culture that seems a bit too worried about outdated morals, I now would welcome a bit more of that.  There's a degradation of the larger culture that worries me.

Perhaps this moment in history will serve as a winnowing fork to help us all determine what's important and what's not.  I worry about what we will all determine.

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