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Paperback Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate Book

ISBN: 0830833595

ISBN13: 9780830833597

Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion & Truth in the Immigration Debate

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Book Overview

Immigration is one of the most complicated issues of our time. Voices on all sides argue strongly for action and change. Christians find themselves torn between the desire to uphold laws and the call to minister to the vulnerable.In this book World Relief staffers Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang move beyond the rhetoric to offer a Christian response to immigration. They put a human face on the issue and tell stories of immigrants' experiences in and...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Balance of Love and Law on Immigration

Friendship is the face that Welcoming the Stranger gives to the situation of both legal and illegal immigrants. The book looks at immigration and offers constructive suggestions for response by the Christian faith community. Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang craft a viewpoint based on rational consideration of immigration and a biblically informed direction for the church and Christ followers. The authors review the history of immigration and the current situation of the legal system that that should be governing the immigration process. They survey key biblical texts related to people who migrate, review concerns by some about immigration, the economic value of immigrants, and propose some concrete responses. The writers draw from their extensive personal and professional experiences working with immigrants and refugees. Soerens is an immigration attorney. Hwang is an advocacy worker in Washington, DC. Both work on staff for World Relief. Soerens and Hwang assert that the only way to resolve the situation of many individual migrants will be to change the law. Because we live in a democracy ". . . the dilemma of wanting to welcome immigrants while also expecting people to follow the law is not insurmountable: we can overcome this dilemma by changing the law so that many of those who today come illegally would be able to enter legally." (P. 111) This will be the path to showing compassion for immigrants and not encouraging them to break any laws. For the last 10-years the economy has absorbed immigrant workers at a higher rate than the legal system is designed to process. Calling on the church to live up to her commitment to justice, compassion and truth, this book provides practical, positive steps to disciple the church as she responds to immigration and immigrants: prayer, knowing, learning from our immigrant neighbors, giving, educating our churches and communities, and advocacy for better laws. Discussion questions in the appendix provide the opportunity for groups to reflect on and respond to the ideas in the book. Other helpful resources include a list of books, websites, organizations and ministries that work with immigrants, justice and root causes of immigration. As a result of reading the book we can be ready to welcome the opportunities brought by immigrants and immigration. Many immigrants and their families would welcome friendships from majority culture Christians. Out of these relationships, a better more Christian community can emerge.

My favorite book of the year!

The short story: 1. This is the clearest, most concise, and irenic book on a political issue that I have ever read. (And I don't say that about many books, feel free to peruse my other reviews). 2. All Christians should read this book. This is an issue about which we cannot remain ignorant and silent. In fact, read it and buy an extra copy for your pastor. The long(er) story: I still can't quite grasp what made a book about immigration so riveting and spiritual, and yet those are the two words I feel most accurately describe this book. While it's not a page turner a-la-John-Grisham, I found myself chewing on ideas the authors had expressed and longing to know more. Combining the basic Biblical value of care for one another with the need for Christian involvement in immigration support and reform, Matt Soerens and Jenny Hwang lay out a clear, well-documented, and compelling examination of the state of immigration in America. While keeping the value of the individual at the forefront, they examine the complex dynamics of undocumented workers, the history of immigration in the US, and legal components of our modern day immigration policy. While addressing concerns regarding immigration, they also present the positive effects that immigration has on a society. Finally, they close the book with a call to the church to embrace the `stranger among us'. Spiritually, I appreciated most their commitment to integrate justice, compassion, and truth by presenting both individual stories and national responsibilities. Their ultimate perspective seems well summarized through what Intervarsity pastor Bill Nelson says, "Whenever there is opportunity for the church to reach out to people in our communities, we must consider what it will take to further the kingdom. If it means putting down the American flag and raising the kingdom flag, that is what we should do." I've tried reading other books on immigration, but none of them have been so clear in connecting all the dots between history, policy, and Biblical mandates. Thank you, Matthew & Jenny. You've given us all a great gift. I'll be passing my copy along to as many people as possible!

A Long-Awaited Resource!

Finally we have a solid and personal look at immigration from a faithful Christian perspective! Soerens and Hwang do an impressive job making a complex and charged issue accessible for the average reader. An especially helpful trait of the book is that they couch current immigration questions and debates within a well-researched biblical and historical context, and keep it personal by sharing real life stories from their work and ministries. What an important reminder that, while immigration reform is often seen as a theoretical debate, its primarily about real people with real stories, real needs, and real hopes, not very different from ourselves. This book is well worth reading and passing along!

Long-awaited, personal, and comprehensive approach to understanding immigration reform

Soerens and Hwang present a long-awaited, personal, and comprehensive approach to understanding immigration reform. From the beginning of the book, they do not make this a political battlefield, but the set about making this issue about real human beings and the importance of keeping families together. Both authors' personal stories from living abroad and from their own neighborhoods, allow them to write with confidence about the need for amelioration in our immigration system. The authors urge the Church to grow in advocacy for this issue through the motivation of personal connection, and thus growing in the Christ-taught virtues of hospitality and service. By getting to know, investing in, serving, and loving the strangers in the church's immediate community, may the church then seek justice at a larger scale for those who are closest to them. May the stirring stories told by Soerens and Hwang inspire you to incline your ear, open your heart and welcome the stranger in your own community.

Highly Recommended

I highly recommend this book. A book like this has been needed for a long time. Immigration issues are affecting USA as well as many other countries around the world. Rather than simply recite the familiar arguments that one reads in the newspaper, this book is written to address the issues from a Christian perspective. No one who takes seriously the commands to love your neighbor and to care for the alien can ignore this issue. The book is very readable, especially because of how the authors give examples from their personal experiences. There is a chapter that gives a brief history on immigration in the USA which is very interesting.
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