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Pelo Amor de Deus! For the Love of God!

Posted by David Manske , 12 August 2011 · 1328 views

missions immigrants
My passport is blue. My foreign-born son has a green passport. He was in 2nd grade, at school studying in a 2nd language, when his vocabulary list included the word, 'xenofobia'. I had to look up the word! Xenophobia is the fear and hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything that is strange or foreign (Webster).

Is this a problem in American Christianity?

Ethnocentrism is a universal human trait - we all think we're superior to the next people group or culture. We make it into an 'us' and 'them' 'Limbaughian' discussion. Echo the NT phrase, Can anything good come from Nazareth? The degrading comments about being Galilean or even being an underprivileged fisherman, or shepherd (whose testimony was inadmissible in court), or even a sinner (think like a Publican).

Do we still think and act this way in the 21st Century American church?

The missionary apostle hit an apologetic peak at the Acropolis, preaching to an Athenian audience - a foreigner speaking to foreigners, seeking help from foreign gods. In his Acts 17 discourse, Paul states that, "From one man he [God] made every nation of men" and points the way to Christ.

Someone recently confided in me that she had difficulty caring about, showing compassion to and praying for her Somali neighbors. In her words, They are changing our culture, why should I love to them? I understand what she meant, and sensed the angst in her conversation...but culture is never static, it is always changing. The events of 9/11 brought cultural changes, education and medical science bring cultural change, fast-food consumerism influences culture (and overall physical health).

Embracing Jesus Christ brings personal and cultural change. As a new creature, with a renewed mind, I see others through new eyes. With a new heart I now have a desire to share God's passion - his love for people from every nation of men and women. As a local body of believers we live counter-culturally as we lift up God's values (Luke 9:23), making an impact on our own community and the entire Alliance family!

Is there a correlation between my acceptance of immigrant neighbors, missions and a biblical worldview?




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Angela Sawtell
Aug 15 2011 03:56 PM
Thanks for sharing Dave! I like that you mentioned that embracing Jesus Christ gives us new eyes, we are a new creation in Him, and because of our new identity we have no reason to fear! There is no reason to fear other people and the changes to culture that come as a result of embracing them. By recognizing that culture will always change, but identity in Christ is stead-fast, it allows us to find a true sense of stability and security that can only come from belief in Jesus. To respond to the question you have posed, there is most certainly a correlation between accepting immigrant neighbors, missions, and a biblical worldview!
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David Manske
Aug 16 2011 02:20 PM

Thanks for sharing Dave! I like that you mentioned that embracing Jesus Christ gives us new eyes, we are a new creation in Him, and because of our new identity we have no reason to fear! There is no reason to fear other people and the changes to culture that come as a result of embracing them. By recognizing that culture will always change, but identity in Christ is stead-fast, it allows us to find a true sense of stability and security that can only come from belief in Jesus. To respond to the question you have posed, there is most certainly a correlation between accepting immigrant neighbors, missions, and a biblical worldview!


That's good, Angela! Our understanding of the position and security we have in Christ influences how we embrace people unlike us nearby. Similarly, the capacity of our love for Christ, mirrors our love for others - a passion he died for!
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Ron Heffield
Aug 24 2011 03:49 PM
Interesting questions, Dave. What is "an 'us' and 'them' 'Limbaughian' discussion"?

Having traveled a bit through this world and enjoying the sunrises on several foreign shores I've found that America is one of the most open, caring places for a "foreigner." Certainly, American Christianity tends that way, and I think Alliance congregations excel in that.

Of course, most of the people in our churches are human (I still have my eyes on a couple of possible exceptions) and capable of being as phobic of xenos as the next person. But having served in Alliance churches in South and Central Florida for nearly four decades, I'm delighted to see how our folks are responding to the nations coming to us! It gets the missionary juices going to reach our neighbors with a new sense of adventure!
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