Monday, December 20, 2010

DREAM Act Response

The DREAM Act is 10 years OLD. It was not rammed through Congress. Everything the opposition requested of it was met, and they kept coming up with roadblocks. Finally, time ran out for this round.

Some of the points made on Saturday, by some of the senators in disagreement, were not true. It appeared they had not read the bill or were very politically motivated. Some appeared ignorant of the data, the research, the numerous studies, and the bill itself before the Senate.

It appears that some friends disagree with me. I am an advocate for the DREAM Act and Compassionate Comprehensive Immigration Reform. I believe the DREAM Act to be essential to America as a compassionate nation and a growing economy. I was very proud that the Senators committed to the DREAM Act got it to be acted on in the Lame Duck session. I was so hopeful that the Congress would end the year having passed this bill of wonderful opportunity for so many students and communities.

Many educators, including myself, invest in these responsible students along the way, only to see them stuck in limbo at the end of it. To not pass the DREAM Act, is to disrespect the teachers as well. The ways of legally immigrating to this country are painfully broken systems that break up families, destroy community, breed fear on all sides of the issue. Reform is essential. The students brought here as children with their parents, having only known this country, have no other country than the USA, yet are without a reasonable pathway to citizenship. 

I feel very strongly about this in light of what I know of Scripture, sociology, psychology, & education. I have learned and studied the issues. I have dug deep into a variety of perspectives. I know students in this situation, and my heart breaks for them. I will continue to support this. I will continue to be an advocate.

I understand my many valued friends whom I truly enjoy, and they simply disagree with me on this one. I would love it if we all saw eye-to-eye, but I am learning to learn more about the perspective of others, to stay open, and to value friendships the permit the differences in love. These are complicated times and multi-layered issues. There is common ground. That will be my focus.

M. Daniel Carroll R. writes in the Denver Seminary blog post ""The Advent Season & Rethinking Immigration":
"God’s gracious welcome characterized the ministry of Jesus. He engaged sinners, the sick, women, and non-Jews—Samaritans and even military commanders of the enemy, the Romans. Jesus’ parable of the final banquet underscores how wide are the concerns of God, and how narrow ours often are.

How should these Christmas realities impact our attitude toward immigrants, in particular those who are undocumented? Are they not society’s marginalized and the lowly, who work difficult jobs for long hours? Can we limit the extension of God’s grace through us and still call ourselves his followers? This is not to minimize the complications of today’s legal situation and all of the other pragmatic issues that demand solutions, but these spiritual truths should shape our attitudes toward the strangers among us."

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Thanksgiving Eve Service

For several years now, we've driven about 45 minutes to another community to attend the Thanksgiving Eve Service at an Episcopal church. Traditionally, I've not been a fan of adding yet another church service to life, but for many reasons, this has become quite a meaningful evening for me. I attend a local community church of over 2500 with five weekend services, so this is quite an alternate event. Why do I seek out this somewhat inconvenient Episcopal experience once a year? Upon reflection, here's what happens for me. This experience...

...quiets me to be in a beautiful church a cathedral.
...enriches me to listen to high church choir music that may or may not appeal to me, but is worshipful and interesting all the same.
...engages me to watch the procession down the center aisle at the beginning of the service, announcing something special is taking place to honor the Lord and King.
...stretches me to worship in unity with a diversity individuals and families, various generations and orientations, reminding me that “God so loved the world.”
...comforts me to participate in the liturgy and perhaps communion, even though I am an outsider to this group. The printed worship program guides me to simply read and follow along, to be gently included.
...invites me to feel awkward in the standing and sitting and greeting and all the Episcopal things so traditional to many, so awkward to me — yet a good experience to remind me of worship that may or may not look like the way I do things, and that is OK. Plus, I am more sensitive to visitors to my church.
...permits me to honor others as I think about the message — or homily, I think it is called. It may or may not be lined up with the way I think, yet it still intentionally invites humanity to reach back to God in some fashion, and that is lovely.
...connects me to the world of believers and expands my understanding of THE church.