The Passion of el Cristo

September 18, 2006

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I serve a small Presbyterian congregation that includes several members who are new Mexican immigrants. We pray every Sunday that Christian hospitality be extended to people who have come here, with documents or not, to work to support their families. Just this last Sunday, a faithful attender from Chiapas recounted to me how he is a coffee farmer. But since NAFTA, his ability to farm had been wiped out by the lack of price controls on his crop and the intervention of foreign multinational corporations. Now he’s here in Arizona in the Valley of the Sun doing day labor with his oldest son.

Here in Arizona, the situation is quite polarized among immigration supporters, the Minute Men, and those who find other human beings to be “illegal.” Now, I realize that the issue is immensely complicated–unless, of course, you confront it from a Christian perspective. There is absolutely no warrant in our faith to exclude and exploit the foreigner in our midst. Indeed, the kingdom of God knows nothing of our boundaries.

This week, the Phoenix art weekly, the New Times, came out with a killer cartoon essay about what it would be like if Jesus returned as a Mexican undocumented immigrant. I encourage you to read it. Cameo appearances include our notorious sheriff, Joe Arpaio, and Senator Jon Kyl, who plays the part of Satan.

3 Responses to “The Passion of el Cristo”

  1. Matthew Says:

    Brett, in de Cristo there is a fair trade coffee program working with farmers in Chiapas, do programs like these make a difference to the member of your congregation that you mention?

  2. Brett Says:

    I’m not sure if these sorts of programs have benefited anyone I know who has had to come to the U.S. But I do know of stories of families whose livelihoods were really restored in Chiapas and in other parts of Central America by these kinds of programs. The program you mention has made some inroads up here in the PHX area, too. It’s called “Just Coffee.”

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