Coming to America or Becoming an American

head-heart-hands-conceptThis is one of those moments in history that we need to make sure we are thinking with our heads and not our hearts.  When I see the images of suffering refugees and dying children my heart says do something; however, my head says be cautious because of comments made by, Michael McCaul, the Chairmen of Homeland Security:

“We’re a compassionate nation and this is a tragic situation but I also have to be concerned as Chairman of Homeland Security about the safety of Americans in this country and the concern that I have and that the FBI testified to is that we don’t really have the proper databases on these individuals to vet them passed and to assure we’re not allowing terrorists to come into this country and until I have that assurance, I cannot support a program that could potentially bring jihadists into the United States,” Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Michael McCaul said in an interview with Fox News Monday. “We don’t know who these people are and I think that’s the bottom line here and until we know who they are, we cannot responsibly bring them into the United States . . . Both the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have told me privately that they don’t support bringing in Syrian refugees because of the threat they pose to Americans.”

clintonIn the name of immigration, Hillary Clinton says we should open the doors of American to another 65,000 refugees from Syria.  The real question of concern is this:  Does coming to America mean becoming an American?

When America was the melting pot of the world, immigrants aspired to  learning our language, embracing our principles, and blending in with our culture.  Immigration has been redefined.

When refugees come to America today, too many of them never learn our language or blend into our culture.  Their desire is to be a hyphenated-pocket-American.  In the case of the Syrian refugees, many of them will want to remain distinctly Syrian and may well move to a community that is already calling for the establishment of Sharia Law. This is not the form of immigration that was practiced in the early years of our nations history.

I’m not some xenophobic nut, and I know these comments may be politically incorrect; however, before you call my concerns unfounded, I suggest you read the information below:

  • We need to consider the actions of countries that are experienced in dealing with refugees from Islamic nations: http://goo.gl/U6qUa2
  • The response of Hungary’s President, Victor Orban:  http://goo.gl/SxGrFU 
  • American laws for American courts: http://goo.gl/eyxtuy

Call me stupid, but I think coming to American should mean becoming an American.

From Yesterday to Tomorrow

kenyan_aaMaybe it’s the Kenyan AA, the Costa Rica by the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Company, the Three Continent, or perhaps it’s Tully’s Hawaiian Blend, that does it to me.  I’m not sure if it is the coffee or something, but there are some mornings that I become acutely curious about the mental path my mind travels.

When I find myself wondering about the wandering of my mind, and I question the wisdom of the words that travel from my neural pathways to the tip of my keyboard, I may need to think about my drink:  Does the blend of coffee influence my thoughts?

My first cup of coffee this morning was Kenyan AA.  As I was sipping it, I thought about the Beatles and the resurrection.  Did this best blend of coffee from Kenya ingest a strange correlation between England’s Fab Four and Jesus?

Yesterday is one of the better-known songs by the Beatles, and a line in the song says:  “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far way . . .” As I thought of those lyrics, I thought they might have been the exact words of Jesus’ disciples immediately following His arrest.

I took another sip and “yesterday” was my thought in a little different context.  I wondered about a couple of things:

  • How did the disciples think about “yesterday” the day after the resurrection of Jesus?
  • I wondered about Paul McCartney’s words: “I’m not half the man I used to be . . .”

Because of the resurrection I’m not half the man I used to be: I’m a whole person due to the fullness of Jesus.  This relationship is clarified by Paul in his letter to the Ephesians:

My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.

Glory to God in the church!

Glory to God in the Messiah, in Jesus!

Glory down all the generations!

Glory through all millennia! Oh, yes!

I’m not sure how your “yesterday” was, but I do know the hope you can have tomorrow through the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love.

Your Piece of the World

03world-puzzleWhether you live in the USA, England, Europe, Africa, or Asia, there is one thing you hold in common.  You and the rest of humanity want peace in your piece of the world–certainly, this is the case in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio this morning.

I know I’ve grown weary of all the protests, murders, shootings, and rapes that I see on the screen of my TV.  The headlines of the newspaper are depressing with stories of theft, scandals, and abused children.

Here is what I am going to do in my piece of the world today. Instead of being, “overcome by evil, I’m going to overcome evil with good (Romans 12:21).”  I am going to try my best to, “pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another (Romans 14:19).”  J.B. Philipps translated this same verse in these words:  “Let us concentrate on the things which make for harmony, and on the growth of one another’s character.”

Will you join me and make this your goal for today:

  • I will pursue and concentrate on bringing peace to my piece of the world.
  • When confronted with the off-key and unkind remarks of others, I will try to bring harmony to the situation.
  • I will do my best to be a positive presence in the life of those I encounter.

So what in the world are you going to do today?  I encourage you to bring peace to your piece of the world.