Refugee Resettlement: Balancing Compassion With Discernment


Here is a thoughtful, insightful, and balanced article on the current Syrian refugee situation. The comments and responses by Ms. Weatherly are also instructive. Ms. Weatherly describes herself as: “I am a Christian wife and mother to 7 children, grandmother to 2.  I have been a homeschool teacher to my children for 16 years. I love learning about different countries and cultures, having visited 16 countries and 40 US states. I enjoy volunteering with Bridge Refugee Services, providing advocacy and hospitality to persecuted refugees who have fled their home country to begin a new life in the US. I am excited to do part-time work as a Relocation Consultant for Dwellworks, assisting international transferees who are relocating to Knoxville, Tennessee.  Because of my faith, I want to live my life with purpose and passion, making every moment count.” The blog post appeared at  RMF

Originally posted on All Things New:

faina_dinner Refugees from DR Congo enjoy lunch at the Weatherly house one Sunday after church. Photo courtesy of Saul Young, Knoxville News Sentinel.

I have been a volunteer with a refugee resettlement agency in Knoxville, Tennessee since January 2014. My family and I welcome refugees to our city by taking them to get their Social Security cards or medical screenings and I teach ESL one day a week. We have also welcomed refugees into our home for meals from many different countries over the past 22 months. We have done our best to befriend these newcomers to our city so that they will have the best possible chance to be integrated into American culture. I want my children to have a compassionate heart for persecuted peoples and people of all nationalities.

refugee_protest Unrest at a European train station

Over the course of the last few months as the migrant crisis in Europe…

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Sombrero Sensitivity — Well, excuse me!

If you are one of the few who follow this wee blog you know that I’m taken by the writing of Pastor Bob Russell.  Pastor Russell is able to address with wisdom and insight as well as occasional wit those everyday types of issues which confront our society.  The following article by Pastor Russell helps me view the current “I’m offended,” and “the aggrieved victim” plague, which consumes so much media attention these days, in a more Christlike way than I would have left to my own devices.  I hope you appreciate it.  The article appeared at: as: You Offended Me.  RMF

You Offended Me!
by Bob Russell

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Pastor Bob Russell

Pastor Bob Russell

University of Louisville President James Ramsey offended a segment of the college community several days ago when a picture was posted of him wearing a sombrero at a costume party.

University of Missouri’s football team threatened to boycott a game two weeks ago because they were offended that the University’s President hadn’t been more sensitive to the feelings of minorities in his response to racially-charged events like the Ferguson riots.

Yale University students shouted down a dean who was speaking out in favor of listening to different viewpoints. They insisted his failure to provide a safer environment for them on campus was offensive and disqualified his right to freedom of speech.   Continue reading

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The Jesus Standard – It’s not an easy one

The current question regarding refugees (and others seeking entry into the US) is not an easy one for Christians. We’re guided by Jesus and His teachings and example which is typically totally athwart our natural inclinations. I often find that my initial reactions to situations, when carefully examined in the light of Scripture and the thoughtful guidance by the Holy Spirit, are out of step with my core convictions. In such cases I find myself needing to reflect on the complete wisdom disclosed in God’s word and then determining how it tracks with the overarching command to love.  To love — even our enemies and those who would do us harm. It is possible to be both “… as wise as serpents and innocent as doves,” even in the midst of wolves, or else Jesus would not have so instructed us (Matt. 10:16). Here is a neat little devotional by my friend Jim Abernathy who is Pastor at the Westwood Baptist Church in West Springfield, VA. The devotional appeared in an email, a “Pastor’s Note,” to his congregation. Perhaps it will be meaningful and useful to you as you process your thoughts and feelings concerning the events we encounter in this dangerous world in which we Christians find ourselves to be foreigners and aliens. RMF

Who is my neighbor?  A Pastor’s Note
by Dr. Jim Abernathy

Dr. Jim Abernathy

Dr. Jim Abernathy

Who is my neighbor? When asked this question, Jesus responded by telling a story about a beaten man whose savior was an unlikely character. Those who seemed most qualified, most nearly associated with a godly response in such a context walked around the hurting man…indifferent, perhaps afraid. The one who finally stopped to bind the man’s wounds and take personal responsibility for his continuing care was from a people despised by those who listened to Jesus’ story. It was a most unlikely scenario of grace and mercy.

Hearing the question again in this twenty-first century brings us, it seems, to a similar place. Faced with the overwhelming need of broken and displaced people, the temptation is to step around, to bypass the need. Indifference and fear mark the response that considers personal safety above human need. Who will step up…who will risk him or her self to extend grace and mercy to the broken and displaced?

This is not just a question for governments who consider the plight of refugees in the aftermath of terrorist’s activity, but it is a question for all of us for we are confronted every day with hurting displaced people who will not be helped unless we act with compassion, grace, and mercy. I understand the fear that too often drives our indifference. The standard Jesus sets, however, in defining one’s neighbor, calls those who follow Him to risk themselves when confronted with human need. Again, I understand that this ideal is easier said than done, but if we choose safety over compassion, expediency over generosity, or ideology over kindness, are we any different than those in the story of the Good Samaritan who avoided the broken and beaten man by stepping around him?

Pray for the leaders of our nation and those of other nations around the world. These are challenging days where fear is the weapon best used, it seems, to threaten the qualities of compassion and mercy so necessary in helping broken and displaced people. But let us understand that these are not only issues for governments and leaders to wrestle with. You and I must consider as well the question of identity in considering the neighbor in our midst. How will you and I respond to those in our path whose wounds call us to action?

One final thought…it is interesting in the dialogue between Jesus and the religious leader that led to the story of the Good Samaritan that the initial question had to do with eternal life. In responding, Jesus asked the man what scripture had to say on the matter. He responded, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and love your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus told him that he had responded correctly. “Do this and you shall live.” This prompted the man’s question about his neighbor. After telling the story, Jesus then asked the man who the neighbor was in the story, to which the man replied,”the one who showed mercy.” “Go and do likewise,” Jesus said.
Go and do likewise.

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Decisions, decisions.

Here is a helpful little article on decision making.  Thanks to James Watkins for this article which appeared at: as: How to decide what’s right or wrong for you. RMF

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How to decide what’s right or wrong for you

by James Watkins

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 2.15.21 PM  Many of the issues we face in today’s world are not addressed specifically in Scripture. So how do you decide what’s right or wrong for you? Here are some general principles from the Bible to help you decide:

First, the apostle Paul notes:

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you (1 Corinthians 6:12).

Apparently, “I am allowed to do anything” was the philosophy for the Corinthians—and, of course, the entire Roman Empire. Surprisingly, Paul agrees:

Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted (Titus 1:15).  Continue reading

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The move from rat cage to rat park

The following is a post by Keith Giles, aka The Subversive One.  It reaffirmed something that I have long known and believed in, i.e., the importance of community.  But this particular article takes the importance to a level which I had not previously know.  I hope you appreciate it and Mr. Giles for posting it.  The original article appeared at:   as: The Healing Power of Community. RMF


by Keith Giles

Keith Giles The Subversive One

Keith Giles
The Subversive One

Sometimes I think God hammers me over the head with something until I get it.

That’s what’s been happening with me lately.

First, I started noticing a pattern in the conversations I was having with all sorts of people. The pattern that started to form was the common denominator in every conversation. Eventually I saw a video clip that, at first glance, had nothing to do with the pattern, until the very end. That’s when I realized that God was trying to show me something profound.


First, take a look at this video. It’s about addiction – which is not the subject that God has been talking to me about – but near the end the narrator says something that most certainly does relate to the concept.

Take a look: (Click HERE)

Hopefully you’ve watched the video and you’ve come across the part where he reveals that one of the strongest weapons against drug addiction is community.   Continue reading

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God’s Audacious Love

The following post by author, blogger and freelance copywriter Keith Giles appeared as Unbalanced? at:  I believe Mr. Giles has really hit on something here, i.e., how very out of whack some folks can be regarding God’s love for us.  I guess that these people are just messed up and, as he says, unbalanced.  See what you think.  RMF

Keith Giles The Subversive One

Keith Giles
The Subversive One

By Keith Giles

Anytime we speak about the extravagant and unending love of God for people, we must always remind ourselves – and one another – just how sinful and undeserving we are of such amazing love.

The danger, of course, is that we might fixate too much on God’s audacious love and not spend enough time meditating on our own worthlessness.

Several authors are guilty of this. For example, people like Philip Yancey, and Brennan Manning tend to go on and on about God’s great love for us, and even seem to emphasize our full acceptance of this love, without balancing these ideas with the truth [which is that we are slimy worms who could never deserve such unmerited grace and love].

For example, here’s what Yancey says about God’s grace:

Screen Shot 2015-10-21 at 3.32.44 PM “God loves people because of who God is, not because of who we are.”

“I would far rather convey grace than explain it.”

Notice how he makes no mention of our sins? Hmm…

Now, look at what Manning says:  Continue reading

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A Look at Biblical Purity

I have the greatest respect for Pastor Bob Russell. When he speaks, or writes, I pay attention. Following is a great reminder from Pastor Russell about the type of lives we should live with respect to the area of purity. The posting appeared as: Strive for Purity at:  Challenging, yes. Impossible, no. And, I believe we can live pure lives without being prudes or killjoys.   What do you think?  Is it unreasonable to hope to attain this standard?   RMF

Strive for Purity
By Bob Russell

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Pastor bob Russell

Pastor bob Russell

The city of Ephesus was noted for its sensuality. It was the center of the worship of Artemis—the goddess of fertility. The temple featured prostitution and an “anything goes” mentality. The economy of Ephesus was largely dependent on the manufacture and sale of miniature statues of this love goddess. Archeologists report that the first advertisement ever discovered in ancient history was a promotion of a brothel in Ephesus.

Therefore, it’s not surprising that a significant section of Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus focused on raising their moral standards from promiscuity to purity. The Apostle insisted that Christians were to live holy lives even though their culture was very unholy. God doesn’t grade on a curve. His moral standards are very high, even for those living in Ephesus.

hungrygeneration-pursuitofpurityprt2355  Since we live in a similar, sex-crazed culture, we need to pay special heed to several phrases in Chapter Five that illustrate the extent that God’s people need to go to maintain moral purity:

The first is in verse 3: “Not even a hint of sexual immorality.” Don’t hint at immorality by provocative dress, cunning flirtation, suggestive touch, or “cute” comments. Don’t hint by questionable associations or careless appearances. Christians are to be so distinctive that there is no justification for gossip, no insinuation, not even a whisper of sexual immorality.  Continue reading

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