As The World Needs Us More, We Need Church Less.

As the world becomes more caustic and rejects the most vulnerable among us, we are becoming less churched. That’s right. It’s true. As humans reject the most in need of human beings around us, like the refugee, the immigrant, the asylum-seeker, the bullied, the LGBTQ, and even the ill (Yes, our new immigration reforms reject the ill!), we are attending church less. We seemed to have found a way in life absent God.

People who attend church are attending less often. People who used to attend every week are now attending only 3 times a month. People who were around twice a month, often now show up once a month if we are lucky. And those who used to come once a month are showing up only a mere half a dozen times a year. There are fewer and fewer of us every year who feel guilty when we miss a Sunday or have a natural instinct to head to a gathering of like-minded faithful Christians on the first day of the week or miss church when we can’t get there. It’s not just us, it’s not just our church or our faith; it is, well, just true.

As this major trend is happening to those who once valued their faith, church attendance and religion, the “public charge” rule change took effect last week in our nation and we now – literally – block poor or disabled immigrants from seeking better lives. “This rule enforces longstanding law requiring aliens to be self-sufficient, reaffirming the American ideals of hard work, perseverance and determination,” said Ken Cuccinelli, the acting deputy secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. What? Can this be true? The ideals this policy enforces are certainly anything but American to me, let alone Christian. So, who will be affected? Well over 382,000 immigrants per year according to DHS, but The New American Economy, a nonprofit immigration research group, estimates a much higher number at somewhere north of 3.9 million persons! And, if you think this hasn’t happened before, I will gently remind you that this very same rule was used to prohibit tens of thousands of German Jews who were trying to flee Nazi oppression. Ya, that’s right, we closed our doors tight with this very same rule to a people who literally were be slaughtered, all in the name of some ‘American ideal’.

Today, as we welcomed in Ash Wednesday, and with it the holy season of Lent, we also opened our Refugee exhibit, Safe Passage, with our Lenten Focus: Through the Eyes of the Refugee. I think we should all begin here. Perhaps, if we do, and allow God to come again, and attend church more and pray harder, and see those who are fighting with less, we mighty discover the truth that the will and the heart – not the cold, hard cash. We are better than that.  Aren’t we?


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