This weekend, Alden and I attended an urban ministry conference in Memphis with two other members of our church.  We were privileged to hear Dr. Daniel Rodriguez speak on the problems within Hispanic ministry.  Often conducted in Spanish, this ministry is typically oriented towards the immigrant generation, though a majority of Hispanics in the U.S. have been born here .  For the American-born generations, their choice of worship is between a service that is not in their primary language or a service full of people who still do not understand them or fully accept them as American citizens.  In America, they feel they are sojourners in Egypt, while Christian Americans act as though they have reached the Promised Land.

As Hispanic Christians experience these pains and navigate a place within churches in America, I hope it opens the eyes of some of us who are blinded by our own culture and nationalism — that we will see that none of us have attained the Promised Land.  Living in one of the greatest empires in history, we must revisit the language of sojourners.  When we establish roots within a nation and pay allegiance to Caesar, as so many of us have done time and time again, it corrupts our witness and engenders a false hope in eternity.  When we move beyond American-Christians to Christians in America, we will be more in tune with the church around the globe and the common journey of suffering that leads to a new Land of Promise that is not built by human hands.

 

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