What Does an Authentic Christian Reception of Syrian Refugees to the United States Look Like?
Anecdote of Hospitality
While I was preparing with a team to go on a missions trip to Israel’s Jewish absorption centers, I met a young lady named Rosebud who was taking a break in the fast food restaurant where she worked.
As Rosebud and I chatted, I discovered she came from what I perceived as the polar opposite on the spectrum of theology. I restrained my natural inclination toward an inadvertent prejudice. I realized my participation in a prayer group and ministry for Israeli Orthodox Jews would be construed as an affront to her. As a daughter of a Palestinian police officer for the Liberation Organization (PLO) under the former Prime Minister Yasser Arafat, this native of Gaza and former Red Crescent worker could not be associated with a more anti-Jewish Israeli group than the Palestinian Muslim Arabs.
Despite dissonance between our worldviews, I made a choice to allow myself to be implicated in Rosebud’s life. It turned out that Rosebud did not only need to escape from her husband, but also from her brother. Rosebud’s father was demanding that she be sent home to live with her parents permanently in Gaza. Rosebud’s newfound freedom as a woman in the United States would end due to her culture’s requirements for divorced women. She told me that if she would return to Gaza, she would be kept at home for the rest of her life because of the shame of divorce.
I could not in good conscience allow Rosebud to return to what seemed like more suffering than she had already experienced. We made a plan.
Biblical Narrative for Our Hospitality Mandate
One discovers the biblical narrative of the hospitality mandate not just in Christ’s fulfillment of the hospitality mandate as a guest and host, but also …