Refugees, Compassion, and a Fella Named Clay

1.

I've been watching the handwringing and haranguing over the refugee crisis these last few weeks. I've watched it amplify in the wake of the Paris tragedy. This debate? It's gotten mean. [tweetherder text="See the Syrian-Muslim-Christian-Sunni-Whatevers whose personhood has been stripped by their issue-ness."]And there are the refugees, the downtrodden, the marginalized Syrian-Muslim-Christian-Sunni-Whatevers who've had their personhood stripped in favor of their issue-ness.[/tweetherder]

We're a bunch of sick suckers, aren't we?

2.

Clay is a good man whose wool is dyed Republican red. He's carried a concealed weapon longer than he's carried a driver's license. He breathes to to the rhythm of the National Anthem. He loves Jesus, his wife and kids, fried chicken, and country music. He is the quintessential southern male.

Clay may be all of these things, his wool might be scarlet, but this is not to say he is unthinking or lacks tenderness. On Tuesday, he called, said, "Seth, this refugee thing has me all in a fit. I've been praying, and praying, and praying about it, and I just keep hearing this from God: what's more important, your safety or caring for the least of these?" He paused and as the words hung, the pangs of conviction quivered.

We hashed it out, and over the course of twenty minutes he came to this simple conclusion: his identity as a Christ-bearer was more important than his American identity. He chuckled, asked, "does this make me liberal?"

"No," I said. "It makes you compassionate, a little more faithful, a lot more human."

Here's to Clay. Here's to the wrestler. Here's to the bleach that bleeds red or blue from identity's wool.

3.

Let's hear it for the lovers, patient and kind, the ones who don't take the moral high ground or boast in their rightness.

Let's hear it for the lovers who do not reduce people to issues, or gain from either fear-mongering or love-idoling.

Let's hear it for the lovers who work, and work, and work to quench their anger with cool water.

Let's hear it for the lovers who do not delight in control by fear, but turn their ears to the wind in hopes of catching a simple whistle of truth.

Let's hear it for the lovers who do not fear death. Death is pain. Pain is love. Let's hear it for the lovers.

Let's hear it for the lovers who always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere.

Sweet mercy, let's close our mouths and turn our ears to something sweet; let's hear it for the lovers.

*****

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