Monday, August 31, 2015

Strangers in your midst

There's a huge refugee problem in the world.

At church we are studying the problem in a sermon series and home group studies using Scott Higgins book "Boundless Plains to Share".

The book is an interesting exercise in anachronism and conflation of the personal, the historic and the present. It brings up the requirements of Israel to look after (its own) widows and poor, and its (occassional?) strangers with nation states looking after the people of other nation states where those states have failed.

It then does the same thing with the New Testament taking what we are to do personally and locally with the ones we are in contact with -- our neighbour -- with the action of nation states with respect to the failures of other nation states.

In a way this puts us on a war footing with the failed nation state!

We want our country to act honourably. I do not think we want it to act foolishly.

The refugee crisis exists because of the failure of nation states. They either descend into war, there is no rule of law (producing inequity, economic failure and oppression), or the culture is underpinned by beliefs that undo it (religious, social, philosophical). Of course, when people see places that do not have these problems they leave the bad and seek the good.

Our call is to do what we can, recognising that the government has a role to govern. It does not have a role to undo the nation.

For example, if Australia accepted 20,000 annually. Over a lifetime with  natural growth this would represent more than 10% of our population, less with assimilation; but assimilation across radically different cultures is slow if it occurs at all. The proportion would lead to enclaving: the problem Sweden faces, and threaten the safety and peace of the country.

The job of the government is to protect its people. The job of the church is to proclaim the gospel.

What then is the best to do? Current intake processes control the intake to a safe level for the long term good and stability of the country and prevent criminal transport of would be immigrants who  bypass safe but less attractive alternatives to Australia.

Other action: support through the UNHCR for people in refugee camps, action in the UN and economically to pressure failed states to not fail...and most importantly, send missionaries to the failed countries to proclaim the gospel.

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