Eric Rahn, My new hero

ef31487b-6f26-4b6d-9c82-b357528627d8Eric Rahn is my new hero. His perspective on a difficult issue changed and, just I was ready to give up and give in because people’s fears were proving to take precedent over their faith, he posted something. He’s my new hero because even though he didn’t know it, he restored my faith that had taken a beating. He had courage not just to change, but also to admit it. Here is his statement, I hope it blesses you as it has me and that it causes you to think and pray over a difficult issue. This of course is posted with his permission. Thank you Eric.

“Time to get something off my chest. I am grieved at what I read from so many Christians. It has to do with this Syrian refugee thing. There are two angles. One is political and the other is faith based. I will say that in the past 7 days I have allowed the scriptures to dictate my stances. 7 days ago I stood in line with a different crowd. But after some soul searching through the scriptures the following are my thoughts.

Understand that what I am about to say will sound like I have it together. I do not whatsoever. But know that the following is from a heart that wants to love ALL people the way God calls me. Don’t misread this as me saying people shouldn’t be accountable to wrong actions. IF wrong actions occur, they should be dealt with accordingly. Ok, the disclaimers are out of the way. Here we go.

Let me start with the political side. I’m not even sure where I stand exactly. Nobody can be trusted with what’s real information. My hope would be that each person coming is vetted out properly. However, I’m a realist and know that this probably is not the case. So given that reality, what are we (when I say we I will be addressing Christians specifically) to do now?

Politically speaking I have read a lot of Christians posts about not taking any refugees. As a Christian this just doesn’t feel right, does it? Look, I understand the worry. None of us want to be part of a terror attack. I get it. But what I can tell you for sure, this whole thing has revealed the biggest idol in our country. It’s the idol of comfort. We fear our comforts being threatened more than we hope for opportunities to share the gospel.

Let’s say we don’t get our wish and we are faced with an influx of refugees. Currently this seems to be everyones worst nightmare. So lets say you wake up one day and you have a bunch of refugees show up in your hometown. How will you treat them? Again, only speaking to fellow Christians. I saw a post on Christianity Today that read, “loving our neighbors doesn’t mean we have to let them in our houses”. How insane is that? To be honest, this is the prevailing view of most American Christians today.

I keep hearing that we have homeless vets and homeless children etc…. People will say, how come we aren’t taking care of them? First of all, those saying that I am assuming they are doing their part to help (most times they are not). Second, who says nobody is taking care of them? Third, why is this an either/or proposition? It’s a both/and situation. Yes take care of the homeless vets etc… But also yes to taking care of the refugees. Acts 1 says we are to go to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and the ends of the earth to proclaim Jesus name. Syria, in this model would be our Samaria. The Samaritans were hated by the Jews!

Sound familiar?

Bottom line is that if you claim Christ, its important to check your heart on this refugee thing. We are worried about our safety. I get it. Was doing ministry ever meant to be 100% safe???? In Acts 14 Paul was beaten so badly that they thought he was dead and drug him out of the city. When he woke up he went back into the city, because the only thing that mattered to him was people hearing about Jesus! His assumption was because of what they did, they must really need to hear the love of God!

We have such a temporal view of life and our faith. Imagine if we thought eternally. What would we do if we honestly believed Jesus words about loving our neighbors. Imagine if we cared so deeply about ALL life that we desired the refugees know Jesus above all else and were willing to take risks. If you are a Christian, have you put yourself in dangerous situations for the sake of the gospel? Have you done inner city ministry? Have you traveled to foreign lands? Have you reached out to those who seem scary? If no, why not? In Philippians 1:23-24 Paul says its better to be with the Lord, but until that time comes, I’m going to keep serving him (my paraphrase). Paul had an eternal outlook. He understood that life here is temporary and his future was SO much better. This frees us up to serve in less desirable spots. This type of service isn’t just for professional missionaries, its for all who claim the name of Jesus.

So……what has the entire refugee thing taught me? We love our comfort more than we love people. That as Christians we preach pro life, but we really only mean life in the womb. I have learned that I had a lot of repentance to do in how I viewed my ‘Samaritan neighbor’.

So what will you do? Assume that you will wake up with a refugee at your doorstep. Will we invite him in and serve him with the love of Christ or will we go back to our life of comfort and complain about how someone should do something about this? If the refugees come we are in a prime spot to share the gospel! Christian friends, its very hard to get past what Gods word says about how we are to treat our neighbors, and yes, even our enemies. Please allow Gods word to fill your heart with desires that are of him and not of the media or politicians. Keep fighting the fight with your local representatives. But don’t lose site of Gods call on your life.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading and God bless.”

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4 Replies to “Eric Rahn, My new hero”

  1. I must admit that I am conflicted on this issue. However, as a Christian, is it not irrelevant that “Imagine if we cared so deeply about ALL life that we desired the refugees know Jesus above all else”? Is the purpose of being humane related to “spreading the gospel”, or just being humane. As I said, I am not certain about this issue. But if I was an atheist or a Chrustian, it would be irrelevant about “having refugees know Jesus”. It would be “about doing the right thing”. But I have to admit that I tend to think wisdom about safety has priority over being humane. Jesus has nothing, at all, to do about the issue. If religion is brought into it, we are no different than Islamic radicals. Common sense trumps religious motivations (no pun intended on Trump!). If the motivation is to convert Muslims to Christianity, this is simply crazy.

  2. I am glad that when Christ was about to be arrested and hung on a tree, common sense did not trump religious motivations. That aside, the majority of people that I have run in to who are worried about security do not actually understand the process and the time frame involved in actually gaining refugee status and all of the calls for increased screenings have already been instituted by the state department before any of this started. People also seem to be treating this as if it is something new and it is not. We have regularly taken in refugees, often from countries who, at the time, meant us harm.

    1. “People also seem to be treating this as if it is something new and it is not…”

      The UMC sermon today was, of course, on Thanksgiving. Native Americans helping the Pilgrams, and the Indians providing most of the food for the Thanksgiving feast. All very good thoughts.
      Although when the minister related it to current affairs, and welcoming the immigrant…I can’t help but think of asking the Native Americans what they thought about Thanksgiving about 30 years later, after their land was stolen, their people dead from European diseases, their warriors killed by fire sticks, and later rounded up and put onto reservations. Me thinks the Indian Chief might have said, “Maybe we should have screened these people more carefully? And what’s with this whole White Man religion they are trying to convert us to? All we wanted to do was share a meal!”

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