January 22, 2013

Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang, Welcoming the Stranger

I think immigration is going to be an important political issue in the US in the coming months (if Obama's inaugural speech is any indication, this seems to be on his agenda). I have come, over the past few years, to have a growing awareness of the need for a robust comprehensive solution. I had the chance to hear Jenny Yang (she wrote under the name Jenny Hwang) speak at Calvin College's January Series a coupe of weeks ago, and I appreciated her perspective. Below is a review of her book, Welcoming the Stranger. Please take and read.

This book gives robust answers to many Christian questions surrounding issues of immigration. Hwang and Soerens start with biblical issues, as they help Christians to think "Christianly" about the issues, a study that leads them to advocate for a generally loving and open approach. But this book is set apart from many similar studies in that it doesn't stop there. Soerens and Hwang both have intimate knowledge of real immigrants, and they help humanize the issue by telling the stories of real people caught up in the "debate." They also are knowledgeable about issues of current law and major policy proposals (though it is a tad dated now, since it was written back in 2007, though the general contours of the debate haven't really changed), lending a ton of specifics that help make the book's arguments concrete. This specificity helps them tackle major questions that often dog the debate, such as Why don't these people just immigrate legally? or Are immigrants a major drain on our government? I'm sure they haven't given the last word, but this is a robust Christian approach to this important issue that ought to be in the hands of all concerned Christians, and I highly recommend their approach.

January 21, 2013

A quote to reflect on; On my appalling silence

Reading a blog post this morning by William Mounce, who was writing for Zondervan's Koinonia blog in his son Bill's absence, I came across this quote, which concludes his brief discussion of whether theology or context should take pride of place in our interpretation:

 If there is any “trumping” to be done, let it be what God has said.
Obviously, it's more complicated than that, but there is still a key impulse there that I need to hear, a wise refleciton I need to imbibe and assimilate in all things.

I've been extremely silent of late as a blog author. Life has been, as always, busy (I'm sure none of you are busy, so that's obviously a good enough excuse). I've been taking Greek at Calvin Seminary this past semester, filling in a long-overdue lacuna in my education, and I've been loving it. But it certainly drains off some of my free time and excess intellectual energy. I have been able to read some great books, and I hope to put up a few reviews here in the coming days.

Last, a reflection on yet another reason I love my job (as a book editor here at Baker Publishing Group). Among so many reasons that I love what I do, I was reflecting on one of the little things that I love: routing periodicals. I'm inundated almost daily with a steady flow of recent periodicals, from Sojourners Magazine to Christianity Today to JETS to Journal for the Study of Paul and His letters, and so many more. There is no way to even begin to read all of the interesting articles, emerging research, or book reviews that I come across, but it is so much fun to have this steady stream of scholarship and comment always before me. I am lucky indeed.