Hebrew Wisdom, Proverbs, describes the fear of the Lord as the beginning of knowledge and fools despise wisdom. (Pr. 1:7) Learning the Way of Jesus may harbor the need for a greater fear – our own hard hearts.
Imagine trying to put into practice Jesus’ words to the disciples in Mark 9, “If anyone wants to be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.” (Mk. 9:35) Every impulse and influence wars against the idea that greatness is found in service.
Fleming Rutledge tells how hard it is to when systems war against the good that people do.
. . . the Reverend Niall O’Brien describes his transformation from conventional priest to activist in the Philippine Islands as a result of his encounter with the sufferings of the poor. He began to ponder “the mystery of evil that good people do.” As an example he writes of a woman “who ran the hacienda near San Ramon, worried to tears about not being able to go to Communion but unworried about the children who were dying on her farm.” (Understanding the Crucifixion, p.177)
Somewhere along the way this story is played out again and again as Christians in America encourage their legislators to shut their doors and their hearts to immigrants, to refugees.
Alan Cross says that we should be worried about our own hard hearts.
A Better Story
Today on the podcast I am glad to have Alan Cross back to talk about immigration, refugees, and sensitivity to the other/Other. Alan continues to pastor but in a different context. He participates in a local church, but those with whom he works are found on college campuses, legislative offices, and churches.
Throughout the southeast United States, Alan takes aim at habits and practices rooted in fear and seeks to expose them to the love of God in Jesus Christ. There is something here for everyone who has an opinion about what to do with world realities that people are fleeing their homelands for their very lives. They are looking for a better future. Christians have the opportunity to tell them a better story.
Pick up a copy of Alan’s book, When Heaven and Earth Collide: Racism, Southern Evangelicals, and the Better Way of Jesus.
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