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Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis Paperback – July 5, 2016
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"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
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"Moody Publishers has teamed up with Stephen Bauman, Matthew Sorens, and Issam Smeir for this very timely, very relevant book on the global refugee crisis. The staggering number of people who have been forcibly displaced from their homes is higher today than at any other time in recorded history. This fact puts us all, especially American Christians, in a critical position.
Seeking Refuge provides a Christian perspective to the refugee crisis along with a biblically based response. We are reminded in Matthew 2:13-15 that not long after Jesus' birth, He along with Mary and Joseph were refugees in a foreign land. As pointed out in the book, the Bible contains multiple examples of people who had to flee under the threat of violence or persecution including Jacob, Moses, David, Elijah, and the early followers of Jesus.
What I love most about this book is that it is truly grounded in Scripture. Readers are encouraged to think of refugees as image-bearers of God and as such have inherent dignity and intrinsic worth. They have talents. They are answers to problems in the world. They need and deserve our time, our attention, our resources, our prayers, and perhaps most important of all our love.
Seeking Refuge is very well-rounded in that it addresses so many aspects and viewpoints. The reader gets economic facts and statistics, the processes for volunteers and their organizations, and interesting comparisons of refugees and immigrants. There are stories from refugees and volunteers. Also included is extensive information about the process for refugee entry into the United States.
I believe this book is perfect for churches, anyone interested in volunteer work concerning refugees, as well as the average everyday American citizen. Seeking Refuge addresses the many concerns some have about accepting refugees into the United States, particularly those from the Middle East. The only question that remains is one we must answer individually and as a nation which is: will we live by fear or by faith?"
Reviewed by Ashley Montgomery on NetGalley, Apr 2, 2016
From the Back Cover
What will rule our hearts: fear or compassion?
We can’t ignore the refugee crisis—arguably the greatest geo-political issue of our time—but how do we even begin to respond to something so massive and complex?
In Seeking Refuge, three experts from World Relief, a global organization serving refugees, offer a practical, well-rounded, well-researched guide to the issue.
- Who are refugees and other displaced peoples?
- What are the real risks and benefits of receiving them?
- How do we balance compassion and security?
Drawing from history, public policy, psychology, many personal stories, and their own unique Christian worldview, the authors offer a nuanced and compelling portrayal of the plight of refugees and the extraordinary opportunity we have to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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Level - short, easy. A quick read, but I'm also going to add compelling, especially as you read the personal stories.
My Thoughts/Summary Mix
This is an important and timely book. I think two overarching themes of the refugee crisis often go overlooked. First, the authors make a great case (because they use the Bible) that we should accept refugees. If you are unaware, there are a great many verses related to refugees, strangers and foreigners. Most come from the OT, but, of course, the issue can be fairly easily summed up with - Love your neighbor. Second, the missionary opportunity. You have the opportunity to have people from all over the world, right in your neighborhood, or at least a short drive away. Even more inspiring, many of the refugees would like to go back home. There is no shortage of stories in this book about refugees who became Christians and then went back to spread the Gospel.Read more…
However, the plurality of refugees are Christians fleeing religious persecution. This means so much of the fear is unfounded, and instead of viewing someone as a terrorist, it is more probable that they are a brother or sister in Christ, whom we should welcome.
The book does a good job of taking the reader through the immigration and asylum processes. They explain who the people coming here are, and why they are coming. Too many complex issues in our society are dumbed down to simple talking points. The refugee crisis is far more complicated than Muslims=terrorist=ban refugees. Currently, I'm in a Bible study going through the book of James. James calls us to action. He requires we love others and act out our faith. He also says we should not make distinctions between people for things such as the way they dress or how much money they have.
Even while discussing this, people in the group are voicing their support for banning Muslims. I empathize with the root of their fear. People want to protect their families and some have started to believe this is a dire threat. Unfortunately, that's not what we are called to do. It wasn't safe for the Good Samaritan to stop to help someone on the side of the road. It certainly wasn't practical or discerning, but we are called to do the same.
This refugee crisis is a major global issue, and it's not going away quickly. As Christians, we must respond with love and compassion. Our response cannot be to turn them away.
This book is a great read for anyone curious as to how Christians should respond. The authors do a great job in tying the issue to the Bible, explaining current geopolitical and economic issues and really personalizing this crisis. Anyone who is searching for good information about the refugee situation in the world today and our Christian response should put this book on their list of books to read next.
The crisis is a global crisis and shows no signs of slowing down. It starts in one country and quickly moves to another. People on one continent are affected, and soon they move to another continent, and eventually some move to still a third continent. Seeking Refuge is the story of 60 million people who have been forcible displaced from their home. For many of us immigration, migration and Refugee resettlement is a just political term, a nightmare, full of misconceptions and misperceptions. But within the pages of this book we are confronted with the harsh reality. Several harsh realities in fact.
There is a crisis, and we want someone else to deal with it, after all, how does it affect me, but then our cities become places of refuge and we can no longer hide from the facts. The authors ask us to think biblically about migration: Jesus was a refugee. His family was forced to flee their homeland because of a tyrannical government ( Matthew 2:13-15). And for those who do read the Bible, there were many heroes of the faith who left their homeland and traveled to another land. Throughout both Testaments of the Bible, there are admonitions on how to treat the alien, the stranger, the foreigner, the refugee. And it should come as no surprise to read that they are to be treated kindly and with love, while expecting them to respect the laws of the land to which they have migrated.
Christians should be aware of and take into account the biblical perspective on forced migration. And then comes the next step. Put a human face on the story. And the stories in this book are markedly human.
Of course when dealing with the unknown, there are fears, and the authors also address that fact, along with some ways to alleviate those fears. Facing the fears is a first step on a wonderful journey that moves us from fear to seeing those who migrate here as good neighbors, friends and sometimes even family.
That's on a personal level. But maybe we need more than that. This is a global problem, a global crisis that needs to be addressed on a larger level. In this country the President has raised the limit on the number of UN approved refugees, all of whom have been thoroughly vetted by several Departments of our Government. The president can raise the limit, but he is not going to personally meet an additional 15, 000 refugees, get them settled, help them find their way around, teach them how to shop and bank here in the US. So this is an excellent opportunity for the Church to get involved. You or your church can contact World Relief or (as in my case in Utah) Catholic Community Services, and learn how to be a volunteer, learn how to get involved in this rewarding endeavor.
The authors provide several practical opportunities to help, and then offer a word of caution. As helpful as we want to be, sometimes we have to be careful that our helping doesn't hurt. Doesn't hurt those we are trying to help, or doesn't hurt the one helping. It's sometimes much easier to 'do for' than to help others learn how to do for themselves, and in this process of helping, it's important that the families being helped learn how to be self sufficient rather than dependent.
Individuals step up, the Church takes the lead, or at least a major role, and yet the global crisis continues. Why? What are the root causes and what needs to be done? It's easy to point a finger at a hurricane, an earthquake, a corrupt government, or even a war. But those things all happen in many places and people get on with their lives. What's the root cause? Often it's injustice, it's a deliberate disregard for the poor and disenfranchised. Earthquakes and hurricanes destroy cheaply constructed buildings - the contractor takes shortcuts to line his own pockets. Corrupt government officials get rich off of programs designed to help the poor. And wars are generally about wealth and power, things that the lower classes generally don't possess. Social injustice might be the root cause, so it's important to look for solutions. And that must be done at higher levels than the local church. Elections are coming, get informed, and then vote for those who take a reasonable stance on immigration and refugee resettlement.
My prayer is that this book would galvanize governments, churches and individuals to reach out, to the strangers among us; but more importantly that the reasons, the root causes for the problem would be addressed, and the global crisis solved once and for all.
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