Friday, October 16, 2009

Hybels on Immigration

Bill Hybels founded the Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago.  Church leaders by the hundreds of thousands have made the pilgrimmage to Willow Creek across the past twenty-five years or so to glean wisdom on church growth and effectiveness from Hybles. 

Now Bill and Lynne Hybels participate in Christians for Comprehensive Immigration Reform as advocates for the millions of immigrants who find themselves in the U. S. without the documentation that they need to function fully and freely. 

I find the statement made by the Hybels before Congress both surprising and encouraging. 

Here's the beginning of a longer statement:

I, Lynne Hybels, would like to submit this testimony on behalf of myself and my husband, Bill Hybels … Even though the issues of immigration can often be viewed as a political, economic, or security issue, our perspective on immigration has been formed at the community level as local church leaders. In this capacity, we are continually confronted with immigration, not necessarily as a policy issue but as a personal issue in which we witness the human consequences of a broken immigration system every day.

Our faith informs us that we were all strangers and aliens once, separated from God. Because God was willing to include us in his redemptive plan, we “are no longer strangers and aliens, but [we] are fellow citizens” (Ephesians 2:18-19a). As Christians, we accept the biblical perspective that we are all sojourners on this earth, commanded to steward it while we await the full arrival of God’s eternal kingdom. Recognizing that we are all sojourners on this land, no matter what our legal status, compels us to extend solidarity to all. This deep sense of solidarity with others is a foundational truth of our country. We are a nation with historical roots grounded in immigration: out of necessity, many of our ancestors came to this country, and then found a home here.

This perspective can help inform our current perspectives on immigration. Remembering our own history as immigrants, we must take God seriously when, in Scripture, he repeatedly calls on his people to remember their past as sojourners and to treat the aliens among them accordingly. “The strangers who sojourn with you shall be to you as the natives among you, and you shall love them as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Leviticus 19:33-34). Throughout the Old Testament, God repeats the command to love the alien just as he himself does (Deuteronomy 10:18), and makes clear his desire for us to emulate his special concern for the foreign-born who, along with orphans and widows, are recognized as particularly vulnerable (Psalm 146:9, Zechariah 7:10).

To read the entire statement click here and follow links to all of the material. 

Bravo, Hybels!  Bravo!

While you're at it, take a look at the editorial comment that appeared in The New York Times last Sunday, October 11, 2009 by clicking here


Chris said...

What would happen if millions of Americans just woke up and found themselves in Mexico without the documentation they needed to function fully and freely. I understand their laws are very strict.

Dean Smith said...

What a marvelous transformation in these evangelical church leaders. What a courageous example for all church leaders. Now, if all those that meticulously follow their wisdom and example on church structure and business organization would just follow their biblical wisdom and example on this controversial issue, the churches could truly be "the hope of the world."

Anonymous said...

These words by Emma Lazarus are on display at the Statue of Liberty:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
I've got my own iPhone photo of the words from my visit to the Statue of Liberty last year.

Basically, any European immigrant who could get to Ellis Island was welcomed to this great country. If they could get here, they could most likely stay here.
This is our heritage -- and every attempt to keep people out is a betrayal of our heritage.

I would go so far as to say that people who want to take a harsh line toward immigrants are truly unAmerican -- because the American way was to put these words of welcome at the very symbol of our nation -- our Statue of Liberty. LIBERTY!

Yes, bravo to the Hybels. They are saying what any one who reads the Bible, and our own nation's history, has to say.

Randy Mayeux, Dallas

Cody said...


I assume the point you're making is that you want to extend the kindness to immigrants that you would want extended to you. I agree!

Chris said...

Just what we need, more jobless people
who can't speek English. We can't provide adequate housing now for all who need it, why add to the problem. The country is far different now than it was when we had unlimited immigration.

Daniel said...

Chris, you're right that our immigration policies are far too limiting.

Brittanicus said...

This is the amount of incredulous influence the--OPEN BORDER--lobbyists (business power brokers and ethnic zealots)) have on certain Democratic devious rabble? Once again the senate top echelon have huddled secretly (BEHIND CLOSED DOORS), recklessly placing E-Verify worker identification system in jeopardy. The obnoxious R-O-P-E Senate group as its being called on the Internet and nationwide, who are marked as Reid, Obama, Pelosi Emmanuel have indifferently pushed American Workers in the background, allowing the millions of illegal aliens to take their jobs. They have driven into the ground amendments from appearing in the final Homeland Security "conference committee" bill. They eradicated--ANY CHANCE--of a Senate's permanent authorization of the E-Verify program. These sleazy politicians are banqueting on the bones of unemployed US labor, without a second thought.

They have religiously under-funded, undermined the Senate's mandate to beef up and complete the final 300 mile Mexican border fence. Then again it was never the original border wall as designed by Rep. Duncan Hunter. Illegal Aliens would have first had to scale the--FIRST--fence, run across the two lane highway for the Border Patrol vehicles, then scale an identical--SECOND FENCE. Under funded and weakened just like E-Verify, the police 287(g) arrest and detainment and ceasing the massive ICE raids. Finally the ROPE group strangled the Senate (already) passed ability of countrywide businesses to run their previous hires employees through E-Verify. So you can guess this is a harbinger to drop on the AMERICAN WORKER YET ANOTHER ULTIMATELY EXPENSIVE BLANKET AMNESTY. THOSE TAXPAYERS WILL BE FORCED TO PICK UP A TRILLION DOLLAR TAB. Be advised that Reid D-NV , Pelosi D-CA have one of the largest population of illegal immigrants in the country, who they are subservient too. Remember to expend your frustration and anger at 202-224-3121on your lawmakers. They are juggling with millions of American Workers job lifeline, by pandering to people who shouldn't even be here?

MY SUGGESTION IS DON"T BUY ANY SERVICES FROM BUSINESS THAT DOESN'T DISPLAY THE E-VERIFY PLACARD. Remember the real conniving happens in rooms hidden from the public awareness in conference committees. In addition, Remember Harry Reid as an incumbent Senator who carries the ugly stain of being anti-American Worker, Anti-Sovereignty must not be re-elected. Speaker Pelosi must go? So must Emmanuel? They have proved they cannot be trusted As NUMBERSUSA president says," With no chance now of E-Verify dying in any minute, because they couldn't annul the 3 year extension? The pro-amnesty forces no longer can try to use it as a bargaining chip. States, counties, cities and businesses can now be quite confident that they can set policy based on the E-Verify program being around." IT'S NOT PERMANENT YET NO THANKS TO ROPE. This group has given preference to illegal workers instead of the 15 million authorized AMERICAN WORKERS. COMPREHEND MORE OF THE CORRUPTION THAT CANNOT BE DENIED BY POLITICIANS AT JUDICIAL WATCH. NUMBERSUSA will explain in detail the consequences, that includes the 2010 Census, Health Care, ACORN, Local police alien enforcement, hidden welfare programs, Anchor babies-Birthright citizenship, criminals amongst the illegal immigration occupiers. CAPSWEB for OVERPOPULATION information. Read the immigration enforcement--GRADING--of each and every one of them at NUMBERSUSA. Currently undercover of darkness the Democratic administration is arranging a--SOCIAL SECURITY--totalization agreement between US and Mexico.

belinda said...

The main problem I have when people are complaining about illegals is that they are usually only referring to the Hispanic population from Mexico. Everyone pretty much seems to look the other way if the illegals/criminals are coming from Cuba.

Chris said...

However unfair it seems, if a Cuban makes it to American soil they are allowed to stay legally. There is no such law for people from Mexico. Perhaps it has to do with Cuba being a communist country.

c hand said...

Belinda? Do you support forced repatriation of Cuban immigrants? You sound angry.

We should help immigrants assimilate to American if this is where they will live.

Anonymous said...

Critics of immigrants here sound like all such voices across the scope of our nation's history. A vibrant economy like this nation can have, if we ever find a way to properly regulate the greedy, can support a motivated immigrant population.

Anonymous said...

We have through the centuries made serious efforts to limit any number of ethnic groups - Irish, Italian, Chinese, East European. It was usually for the same reasons many want "Border fences" today. They were different - had different customs and languages or religious views (e.g. Catholic) - and were therefor scary. We've survived assimilating many different peoples, and we will survive assimilating the many Mexicans who've crossed our borders in the last few decades. It should be obvious by now that trying to stop it (immigration) is like wading into the ocean and trying to stop the tide.

Chris said...

It could be stopped very simply,
by E-Verify. Trouble is, the government does not want it stopped because they see votes.

Anonymous said...

Undocumented folks can't register to vote, chris

Chris said...

Should I say future votes. I thought that was understood.

Steve said...

This sounds like a strengthening of the Spirit's work in the church.

I think it is the Spirit's movement, as I see it happening across the church. I just posted on my little blog, and then came over to see what Larry has been writing, and was surprised at the coincidence.

Larry James said...

Steve, thanks for the post. We'll see about the church for real when Congress goes to work on comprehensive immigration reform. Where will people of faith come out? I'm sorry to say many in Texas, at least so far, don't react with much mercy or justice.

Michael said...

Doesn't this all boil down to "illegal" immigration methods?

I personally know two families who are trying to gain legal status in the US. Perhaps instead of flying in from Africa, they should've flown to Mexico and then walked across the southern border in hopes that someday soon we will grant them some form of sweeping amnesty.

Steve said...


If they were white, they would be just about assured of safe, illegal entry via Canada. Funny, I haven't heard much concern regarding that huge border. Maybe it is because the Whites (even from those less desirable former Eastern Bloc countries) that cross over from Canada will surely be more intelligent, hardworking and ... well, in general more like us!

belinda said...

I just asked the question: why does it only apply to the hispanic comuunity? Why are the rules different? I'm not arguing the point one way or the other, just asking the question. Don't see why being a "communist" country should have anything to do with it. People from Israel and China come here all the time - they're communist countries. There just seems to be something that gets in folks' crawl when the people are hispanic.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the push for putting an end to the illegal immigration has something to do with the fact that US citizens don't want another Sept 11 to occur again. Or maybe we are tired of having to cover their health costs. Maybe if they went through the process of becoming legal, people would be more open to the idea of opening up the borders. I can see all kinds of legitimate reasons for being against opening up the borders to illegal immigrants. My guess is none of these reasons are seen as legitimate concerns by most people who blog here.

Larry James said...

Anon 6:09, I expect you are correct about lots of us here. We just regard our NEIGHBOR, Mexico as a potential partner, like Canada except with brown people who speak Spanish. We've benefitted for a long, long time from their hard, under-paid work. Now it it time for a rational, guest worker program. None of the 9-11 attackers had Spanish surnames. And what makes us thing that terror doesn't come from the North? As a believer, I read scripture with an eye toward my clear responsibility to the "alien" and the "stranger." Not sure what your faith tell you.

Steve said...

Anon 6:09

Let's talk facts, as opinions are pretty much like armpits: we all have a couple, and they often stink!

How many of the 9/11 attackers came in on legal visas, and how many came in illegally across the border with Mexico?

My recollection was that they all came on student, tourist or work visas...working within the system.

La Familia Garcia said...

Wow, what a discussion.
If we ever forget that we're one nation under God, then we will be a nation gone under.
~Ronald Reagan