Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Friday, July 25, 2014

Book Review - The God Who Risks: A Theology of Divine Providence, Part 3

Milky Way on Leslie Gulch Reservoir, Owyhees, Idaho

A few weeks ago I made the following observations:

"God is holy. God is good. God is love. But the greatest of these is love. Love is how God makes one holy and good through Jesus. Not of human will but divine.

God's love cannot be preached enough. All Christian doctrine must proceed on God's love. All missions of the church must go at this sublime thought. No other church dogma must be higher than the grace of God. And all church doctrine must revolve around this one thought.

The holiness of God is meaningless without the grace of God. The goodness of God has no affect if it isn't bathed in God's atoning grace. Holiness without grace is austere. It proceeds in judgment first, last, and always. Goodness is without effect if not given in love. It is wholly utilitarian and bare of God's mindful relation to His creation if not met in love.

The love of God is the most sufficient descriptor of the Christian faith, of God Himself, and God's relationship to His creation. None else may proceed above this thought."

- R.E. Slater, June 2, 2014

In due consideration of today's article I think it is important to remind ourselves that open and relational theology rests in the entirety of its subject upon this sublime thought. Should it stray even an iota from the love of God than it ventures from the intentional (and some will now say, insistent) heart of God into the schemes and pretensions of men and their doctrines.

Today's article will be one of several to come. Here, we focus on what is meant by open and relational theologies when speaking to the subject of God's {open and relational} divine providence.

We will continue to discuss this important subject in the days and weeks to come.


R.E. Slater
June 23, 2014

The God Who Risks

The God Who Risks: A Theology of Divine Providence
Book Blurb

If God is all-knowing and all-powerful, can he in any way be vulnerable to his creation? Can God be in control of anything at all if he is not constantly in control of everything? John Sanders says yes to both of these questions. In The God Who Risks, he mounts a careful and challenging argument for positive answers to both of these profound theological questions. In this thoroughly revised edition, Sanders clarifies his position and responds to his critics. His book will not only contribute to serious ongoing theological discussion but will enlighten pastors and laypersons who struggle with questions about suffering, evil and human free will.

* * * * * * * * * * *

The Preeminence of Love in God

by Thomas Jay Oord
July 23, 2014

My version of open and relational theology says love is the preeminent attribute in God’s nature. As I read John Sanders’s work, he seems to think sovereignty precedes love in God’s nature.

In two previous blogs, I explored Sanders’s ideas in his excellent book, The God Who Risks. The first blog offers a summary of his thought, and I personally agree with all claims in my summary of his work. 

The second blog was critical of one aspect of Sanders’s thought: the way he thinks about God’s power and love in relation to evil. I argued he does not solve the problem of evil. He says God allows evil that God could prevent. Without a solution to this problem, we cannot make sense of numerous events in our world. I believe my version of open and relational theology can retain what I find helpful in Sanders, while also solving the problem of evil.

What (Logically) Comes First in God’s Nature?

In my current book project, I offer a solution to the problem of evil. In particular, I focus on the random events that cause unnecessary suffering and the free will choices creatures make to do evil.

I conclude this blog series on Sanders’s thought, however, by arguing that the reason he cannot solve the problem of evil is...

Sanders does not regard love the foremost and governing attribute in God’s nature.

This charge may seem odd. Like most open and relational theologians, Sanders says love is God’s chief attribute. “Love is the preeminent characteristic of God,” as he puts it. And “the way of God is love.” Sanders talks often of the priority of love in The God Who Risks.

But Sanders’s other statements suggest that when God decides to create, divine sovereignty comes prior to, and is preeminent over, [God's] love. Sanders presupposes that God’s power logically precedes God’s love in divine decision making.

Quotes from Sanders on the Preeminence of Sovereignty

Here are statements from The God Who Risks that reveal the preeminence of sovereignty:

  • “If God wants a world in which he tightly controls every event that happens, then God is free to do so.”
  • “God sovereignly chooses not to govern the world without our input.”
  • “It was solely God’s decision to do things this way instead of exercising meticulous providence.”
  • “God is free to sovereignly decide not to determine everything that happens in history.”
  • “God, in sovereign freedom, decided not to tightly control human affairs…”
  • “In sovereign freedom, God has decided to make some of his actions contingent upon our requests and actions.”

The point Sanders makes is that nothing essentially constrains God’s decisions, at least when initially creating. This fits his view, which we saw earlier, that God has the power to prevent genuine evil but instead allows it.

Three Providence Options

Sanders apparently believes we must choose among three options when thinking about God creating and acting providentially. The first option is a form of process theology. Sanders is wary of process theologies that say, as he puts it, God is “pervasively conditioned by creatures.” He wants to avoid saying God, by necessity or by nature, depends on the world. Sanders believes God can unilaterally act on the world, and he doubts process theologians can affirm this.

Let’s call the first option, “The world conditions God.”

The second option Sanders wants to avoid is a form of Calvinism. He is wary of Calvinist theologies that say, as he puts it, “the divine nature necessarily must create a world in which God is omnidetermining.” This view says God’s ongoing providential control is “a manifestation of the divine nature.” Creatures are not really free, and randomness and chance are illusions.

Let’s call this second option, “God totally controls the world.”

The option Sanders prefers says God’s sovereignly gives freedom but allows some evil. Sovereign activity lays within the framework of the divine project. “The divine nature is free to create a project that involves loving relations with creatures,” says Sanders. But God could have created a world without free creatures. And God could (and perhaps occasionally does) unilaterally control creatures or situations to bring about some outcome.

Let’s call Sanders’s third option, “God sovereignly, not of necessity, decided to create a world with free creatures.”

A Fourth Providence Option

I prefer a fourth option to these three.

We might call my view, “God’s loving nature requires God to create a world with free creatures that God cannot control entirely.” This option is part of the essential kenosis model I describe in the next chapter. But let me explain my preferred option here by comparing it with Sanders’s view that God sovereignly, not of necessity, decided to create a world with free creatures.

In our exploration of open and relational theology, we discovered this theology says a relational God of love collaborates with creatures. God’s love takes risks in relationship, as Sanders puts it. Because love does not control others, the risk model of providence does not offer the guarantees divine determinism offers. God’s relationship with creatures, says Sanders, “is not one of control and domination but rather one of love and vulnerability.” God “does not force [creatures] to comply.” In sum, Sanders believes “love does not force its own way on the beloved.”

If God’s preeminent attribute is love and love invites cooperation without forcing its own way, it makes little sense to say “sovereign freedom” would allow God to create in an unloving way. It makes little sense, for instance, to say God voluntarily decided against “exercising meticulous providence.” It makes little sense to say “God is free to sovereignly decide not to determine everything.”

To put it in question form, why should we think a loving God who “does not force the beloved” is free “to tightly control every event that happens?” Why should we think a loving God is free to control others entirely, even if God never actually exercised that freedom?

Mermaids Can’t Ride Unicorns

Let me illustrate my point: mermaids cannot ride unicorns.

Mermaids cannot actually ride unicorns, because mermaids and unicorns are fantasy creatures. We may imagine what mermaids and unicorns look like and do. But they do not exist in the real world. So while we may dream of mermaids riding unicorns (presumably sidesaddle!) or abstractly conceive of such, it makes no sense to believe mermaids actually ride unicorns. Neither creature actually exists.

Likewise, it makes no sense to say a God whose preeminent attribute is love could tightly control every event. If God’s love cooperates rather than controls and if God takes risks rather than forcing guarantees, love as the preeminent attribute prevents God from determining everything. God cannot force the beloved, because, as Sanders says, love does not force its own way. A loving yet controlling God can’t actually exist.

To put the analogy succinctly: mermaids cannot actually ride unicorns, because these beings are fictional. A perfectly loving God cannot create controllable creatures, because this God is fictional.

Sanders’s main problem is that he does not take love as the preeminent attribute in God’s nature, at least when he thinks about initial creation. Unfortunately, Sanders believes God’s “nature does not dictate the sort of world God must make.”

By contrast, I do think God’s nature dictates the sort of world God must make. God must act according to the divine nature, and the preeminent attribute of God’s nature is love. For this reason, I think love is God’s ultimate guide when creating any world.

If love seeks collaboration instead of control, takes risks instead of forcing guarantees, and does not force others to comply, a perfectly loving God could never sovereignly control every event, exercise meticulous providence, or absolutely determine everything. God cannot control others entirely, because, as Sanders rightly says, love does not force its own way on the beloved. Rather than saying God sovereignly decided to create a free world, we should say God’s loving nature requires creating undetermined creatures in any world God might choose to create.


Although I agree with the vast majority of Sanders’s version of open and relational theology, his ultimate misstep, as I see it, is failing to follow through on his claim that God’s preeminent attribute is love. He believes God’s sovereign will logically precedes God’s loving nature, at least when it comes to initial creation.

Given Sanders’s statements that God sometimes acts alone to bring about outcomes and allows genuine evil, his view also implies the sovereign will logically precedes love in the history of creation. Love does not come first.

My criticism of Sanders leads to my alternative version of open and relational theology, which I call essential kenosis. I have outlined some of aspects of essential kenosis in my book, The Nature of Love. I develop it further in my new book project.

A few footnotes for those who care about some additional issues:

(1. Sanders is aware of the possibility that God’s nature may prevent God from doing some things. He notes biblical passages supporting this view. But in response to such passages, Sanders says, “although there is no attempt by biblical writers to reconcile the notion that God can do anything with the idea that God does not get everything he wants, it must be remembered that both sets of statements occur within the framework of God’s relationship with the people to whom these particular statements are made.” This seems to mean he believes such statements are relative to certain times and places. At the least, it means he believes statements in scripture pertaining to God’s inabilities do not describe conditions in God’s eternal nature.)

(2. My view, “God’s loving nature requires God to create a world with free creatures that God cannot control entirely,” can apply either to the traditional view that God initially created something from absolutely nothing (creatio ex nihilo) or the view that God always creates from that which God previously created because God’s nature is love (creatio ex creatione a natura amoris). I explain the latter view in my essay, “God Always Creates out of Creation in Love: Creatio ex Creatione a Natura Amoris,” in the forthcoming book, Theologies of Creation: Creatio Ex Nihilo and Its New Rivals [New York: Routledge, 2014], 109-122.)

(3. In a footnote, Sanders admits he engages in speculation when he talks about whether or not God’s nature requires God to create a world. He says he bases his speculation on his prior doctrine of creation. Because Sanders affirms creation ex nihilo, I assume he is referring to this theory of initial creation when he speaks of his prior creation doctrine. My alternative position to the three I outlined is essentially neutral on this issue of creation ex nihilo. One can affirm creation out of nothing or deny it, while agreeing with me that God’s love is the preeminent attribute of God’s nature, and therefore God could not create a world devoid of freedom and/or agency.)


America's Undocumented Children

America's Undocumented Children

Illegal Immigration of Children:
The Underlying Problem Nobody Seems to Talk About

by Roger Olson
July 24, 2014

According to news reports, about 60,000 unaccompanied children have arrived in the U.S. from Central America via Mexico in the last one to two years. Some have died in the desert attempting to cross the border alone. Many are being smuggled to the border by “mules” who charge their families large amounts of money. (Why this is not being labeled a form of human trafficking by anyone is curious.) Once the children arrive and are caught, they are warehoused in cramped, crowded facilities indefinitely.

These children have become the ping-pong balls in a partisan battle of words between Democrats and Republicans. Instead of banding together to find viable, compassionate, humane solutions, both sides are digging in and arguing ferociously over who is at fault and what to do with the children. Pundits and writers of letters to editors (especially in Texas) have vented their spleens—even at the children as if they are vicious felons. One columnist suggested sending them all to the U.S. compound in Quantanamo Bay in Cuba to be held there indefinitely. Obviously he meant—as a sign to other Central American children of what faces them if they come here illegally. (They will be stored in a concentration camp previously reserved for accused terrorists.)

I’ve read all kinds of proposals for what to do with these children and how to stop others from flocking into the U.S. “Close the border!” people cry. I would like to ask them how exactly anyone can possibly “close” a border that runs more than a thousand miles through deserts. And what would they have border officials do when they see an eight year old boy or girls walking through desert toward them? Shoot them? Simply turn them back—to walk many miles through scorching heat to…where? They were probably dropped off a mile or two from the border, given a crude map, and told they are now on their own. If turned away at the border they (remember we’re talking about eight to twelve year olds in many cases) will have no one waiting for them where they were dropped off. They’ll simply die in the desert.

Many letters to the editors of newspapers in Texas and other Southwestern states express the most cruel, heard-hearted opinions about these children—as if they are all gangsters and criminals. Most are not. The most common “solution” proposed is “Return them to their home countries immediately—without any due process.” The problems with that are so obvious these writers must be either stupid or cruel or both.

First, many of the children would not be able to tell anyone exactly where their home is. They might be able to say what country they’re from, but returning them to their home countries would require permission from those countries—unless we drop them from airplanes with parachutes (something I think many Texans and others wouldn’t mind). Second, many of the children would be returning to locales where they would be snapped up by drug gangs to be used as slaves and eventually turned into gang members—probably to be killed at some point. Third, many of the children left their home countries because they were faced with utter hopelessness—for a decent human life. They were snared in endless hunger, lack of medical care, no education and violence all around them.

A famous poem on a plaque inside the base of the Statue of Liberty says:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses, yearning to breath free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore,
Send these, the homeless, tempest tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.”

Perhaps this plaque should be removed or replaced with one that says “The golden door is now closed—especially to poor Central American children.”

The underlying problem that (so far) I have heard no one talking about is our American affluence, including conspicuous consumption and luxury, promoted to the world via movies and television as the result of “the American dream,” combined with our boast to be a “nation of immigrants.” While we do have our own poor in the U.S., most of them are living in the lap of luxury compared with many people in Latin America. And we love to show off our prosperity and affluence, even our luxurious possessions and lifestyles, to the rest of the world—including our neighbors. Then we expect them to stay away. But we are like a magnet to the poor next door. Who can blame them for being drawn almost inexorably to us?

My wife and I often watch a television show called “House Hunters International” on the Home and Garden channel. But my stomach turns when I see U.S. rich people south of our border to spend hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions, of dollars on mansions on beaches in Latin American countries where just a few miles away thousands of children are literally suffering malnutrition, infant mortality (that could be alleviated), lack of education, and are living like animals in hovels.

You question that? A few years ago my wife and I took our one and only vacation to Mexico. We stayed in a very simple, inexpensive “eco-resort” on a beach south of Cancun. In the nearby town and surrounding jungles we saw with our own eyes two shocking things. Lining the beaches near our extremely modest “resort” (not even electricity in the cabanas) were enormous, luxurious gated resorts inhabited almost exclusively by Americans. In the nearby town we saw one neighborhood made up of what looked like animal barns surrounded by mud with pigs and chickens. These hovels were inhabited by women and children. The children were obviously malnourished (hugely extended, bloated stomachs typical of that disorder) and “playing” in mud among the pigs and chickens.

These people “know” that within reach is a paradise of affluence and luxury, free universal education, health care, food and…hope. And yet we who live in the lap of luxury expect them to stay away.

The problem is often framed as “those bad Latin Americans who want to come and take what we have” rather than as “we rich Americans who show off our luxury and want to keep it all to ourselves.”

As a Christian, I ask my fellow Texans and others (many of who consider themselves Christians) to consider Jesus’ parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Who are we, America, in the parable? Who are the Central American children standing or sitting on one side of our border or the other?

Recently a Christian man in my town, very well known, a “pillar of the community,” purchased a partially built mansion on the edge of town with twenty-three thousand square feet of living space. He is finishing it. By all accounts he’s a very good man, a respected family man, church members and philanthropist. But twenty-three thousand square feet? When not far away is a camp now inhabited by hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Central American children being held indefinitely because they crossed our border without permission looking for a tiny bit of that affluence—just enough to live a human life.

But the solution is not just individual charity; the only real, long-term solution can only be a massive rededication of our American ingenuity and productivity to solve Central America’s economic problems.

Over the last century and a half we, the United States of America, have directly or indirectly invaded Central American countries numerous times (look it up using Google or any internet search engine!) to protect our economic interests. What if we instead “invaded” them to enhance their economic interests? What if we cut back our extremely bloated “defense” budget and devoted the savings to creating a corps of young men and women to go to Central America for only one purpose—to build schools, housing, medical facilities, etc.? Sure, we’ve made feeble attempts at that, but in the past our investments in such projects have been miniscule compared to the need. And our government would need to tell those governments that if they interfere by skimming the financial investments in their countries intended for the poor to fill their own budgets we, the United States of America, will invade them with armed troops to overthrow them and replace them with humane and honest governments—just as we have invaded them many times in the past to shore up dishonest, cruel and dictatorial regimes that would be our puppets—not to help their poor but to protect American corporations’ economic interests there. And just as we invaded Panama just a few years ago to overthrow a corrupt dictator.

But, ultimately, we need to “down size” our affluence in order to help our neighbors to the South that we have throughout our history and theirs regarded as our special “sphere of influence.” To a very large extent, our affluence is supported by their poverty. In many places in Central America, historically, we have treated their people virtually as slaves of our corporations and backed that up with military might and with CIA plots. We must begin to see ourselves as the “rich man” in Jesus’ parable and them as Lazarus. Or else we will be judged.

* * * * * * * * * *

How Christians Can Help Undocumented Children Right Now
This week, the NHCLC—in partnership with Buckner International, Convoy of Hope, Somebody Cares and CONELA—is launching an online initiative called For His Children. The campaign seeks to give Christians the ability to donate resources to unaccompanied immigrant children, to communicate to families in Central America about the dangers of sending their unaccompanied children to the U.S., and to share the Gospel with them.
We recently spoke with Rev. Rodriguez about the situation on the border and the For His Children campaign.
Why is it that so many unaccompanied children are coming to the United States recently?
We have a 2008 George W. Bush law that was written with great intentions. It was an anti-sex trafficking law. That law basically says if you’re a child, and you come from El Salvador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Central America—if you come there’s a strong possibility you may be engaged in sex trafficking—therefore we’re going to protect you.
That law served as the fodder taking place in El Salvador—based on nothing other than myths and hyperbole—that the Obama administration was going to, in essence, grant deferment to all the kids that arrived here before the end of this year. So we’re looking at kids coming up to the U.S. border because they believe they’re going to be granted amnesty.
Here’s our message [to families in Central America]: “Don’t send your children to the U.S. border.” Here’s why: If you’re parents in El Salvador, and you are attempting to protect your children from drugs and gang violence ... and you want to send your children to America to be protected, the probability of your children, by staying in the United States without their parents in East LA, joining the same gang they were fleeing from in El Salvador is very high. That’s not anecdotal extrapolation. That’s based on studies that have been done.
If they stay in their country of origin with their parents, parents can serve as a firewall against many of those social ills.
For the children who do come here, is the reality that they most likely will be sent back because the pretense that they came under was false?
No. Over 80 percent will stay. These kids are different because of the Bush law. They have to go to a hearing. It’s the law. They can’t be deported back. Over 80 percent of those kids will never appear for their hearing, and they become undocumented.
For this recent influx of children that are here in detention centers and that may end up undocumented long term, is there anything Christians can do?
We don’t want their parents sending them here, but if they are coming here, I need to make this clear: These are kids. These are little children. I have three children of my own.
So what should Christians be doing? We should not at all ever be engaged in rhetoric from either political ideology. We should engage in one thing: Ministering to the needs of these children—physical needs and spiritual needs.
Spiritually, as a pastor, I want to see these children come to Christ at large because I love them so much. These are our children, by the way. I have a problem with ... I can’t even use the term “illegal children.” I can’t do that. I understand that they came in here illegally, and I understand they’re undocumented, but no child is illegal. Every child is made in the image of God.
So what should we do as Christians? Immediately, we should make sure they’re taken care of. We at the NHCLC ... we’re looking at creating a coalition of supplies and resources. Meaning if a kid needs shoes, we’re going to provide shoes through Buckner. If they need food, if they need a change of clothes, we’re going to work with Convoy of Hope and Somebody Cares. We’re working together through our churches in Texas. We have over 6,000 NHCLC churches in Texas alone.
The government is not granting us access. The government is not granting anyone access—any NGO or any faith group. We have access to the kids who have broken in but have not been caught. So we’re ministering to the kids that have been able to come over the border, that have not been caught by immigration and are in the border town.
The only exception would be the Red Cross. They are permitting the Red Cross to have access. We want to reach these kids even when they’re released from detention.
If our readers wanted to get involved to support your efforts, how could they do that?
We are launching a website called For His Children, and we would love them to engage. It doesn’t even have to be money. You could send a pair of shoes over. You could purchase it online and send it over through Buckner. We want to provide shoes. We want to provide school supplies. We want to provide changes of clothes for these children.
Some of these kids come over barefoot. That’s not hyperbole. That’s not like something you’re making up for the sake of drawing emotion. I’ve been to the border. I was just in Mexico. These kids are coming over barefoot with minimal amounts of clothing. It’s just heartbreaking.
Murrieta, California broke my heart. To have over 100 adults spitting at a bus full of children, cursing, telling children, “Go home! We don’t want you here.” Listen, these are not 55-year-old, 45-year-old, even 30-year-old adults who came in here illegally. These are little kids. And to have 100+ adults with signs and banners and posters literally yelling at a bus to such an extent the bus driver has to turn around, and these kids are hearing curses coming at them—that is morally reprehensible. It is evil. It is anti-Christian. It is anti-American, and we should be ashamed of ourselves for responding in such a manner.
I saw those videos on the news. It was upsetting to see.
We must do better. We’re Christians. Christians first and foremost. Our Kingdom citizenship trumps everything.
These kids are here now. They’re devastated. Some of them were molested. Some of them were exploited. All of them have some sort of traumatic experience traveling 1,500 miles.
What should we do with them? We should show them the love of Jesus Christ. We should be Christians first and foremost. We should bring them good news because that’s what Christians do. Bring good news.

My final comment to your readers would be to pray that this recent crisis at the border does not resurrect the nativist, racist element that unfortunately still lies embedded in many segments of our population. Not everyone who is anti-illegal immigration is a racist. I am anti-illegal immigration. But there are segments of our society that view this through a prism of race, and we need to pit against that and build a firewall of love and of conviction and compassion.