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Seeking Refuge: On the Shores of the Global Refugee Crisis Paperback – July 5, 2016
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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.
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M.L. Codman-Wilson, Ph.D., 9/8/16
Responding to the flood of refugees fleeing conflict, persecution, and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, many of whom have ended up in a Europe that seems ill-prepared to receive them, the three authors of Seeking Refuge set out to provide a theological and practical guide to attitudes and actions. If you want to get a Christian perspective on the refugee crisis, this is a good place to start. The authors are all deeply involved in evangelical Christian activity, but though they point out that work with refugees many provide opportunities to introduce non-believers to the Christian message, they are quick to point out, repeatedly, that religious conversion is not the objective that should motivate the work of helping refugees build a better life. Rather, they argue, the only motivation that is true to the heart of Christ's life and teachings is the recognition that all are God's creation, that all are in need of God's grace, and that ours may be the hands best positioned to serve them and put into action the message of the parable of the Good Samaritan--a parable that was a response to the question, "Who is my neighbor?"
Bauman is president of World Relief, an evangelical organization whose mission is to assist local churches in providing assistance to refugees. Much of the help they provide occurs at the crucial transition stage, when new refugees are finding their way in a new land, with strange laws, language, culture, expectations, food, schools, and just about everything else that provides the backdrop for daily living. This book is therefore partly a guide to how churches and individuals might extend help to refugees. Beyond that, however, it is a reminder that the refugee crisis requires not only political choices by governments, but moral choices by individuals--and not only those individuals who are directly in contact with refugees, or in the countries that have been the destinations of most refugees, but all of us, since there is a part anyone can play in making the lot of refugees either easier or harder. Or we can choose apathy, a choice which is made more difficult after reading this book.
The authors point out that confronting the refugee crisis and responding morally to its challenge is not only a matter of helping to meet immediate needs and providing a welcome reception for refugees. There is a policy dimension as well. Since policies are the domain of governments, it can be easy to throw up one's hands and conclude (in relief, in resignation, or in disgust) that there is simply nothing one can do about the conditions from which refugees flee. The book's authors offer no such refuge, however. "Truly loving our neighbors," they point out, "also requires another component: to confront the injustices that keep the vulnerable from flourishing as God intends." This requirement applies not only to governments, but also, particularly in democracies, to the public whose voices democratic governments are obligated to consider.
Unlike the overcrowded, unsafe, meagerly-provisioned vessels that have taken countless thousands of refugees to Europe, and no small number to their deaths, the ship on which I read this book was comfortable, safe, well stocked, and meant for enjoyment. It couldn’t have been farther from the experience of desperate refugees fleeing from one home and searching for another, hoping that someone would let them in. This was a good book to read at Christmas time, and to be reminded that, as the authors quote from a sign at an Anglican Church in Newfoundland, Christmas is “A Story about a Middle East Family Seeking Refuge.”