It’s such an anxious time in the world right now. To help calm my nerves, I’ve been reading about the teachings of Buddha and Jesus.
I’m not sure this was a good move.
Self-sacrifice was a key tenet of their teachings– they demanded it of themselves and of those who wanted to follow them.
So far, I’ve concluded that if most of us today did exactly what the Buddha directed, we’d be laughed out of town. And if we behaved as Jesus did, we’d be crucified.
Metaphorically speaking, of course.
Jesus was a revolutionary. The person whose birth we mark at Christmas didn’t give a hoot about people’s social standing or how much money they had. He valued their faith and actions, not their status.
He called out the rich, powerful and comfortable, lambasted the uncaring and the corrupt. He looked out for children, the sick and disabled. He welcomed outsiders.
We Canadians have welcomed roughly 40, 000 homeless refugees in the last year. Some worry that in our zeal to provide a home to these vulnerable outsiders, Canadians risk our own safety or finances. Do I understand that fear? Yes, indeed.
A friend of mine spoke passionately about his fears of Syrian refugees one week – and found himself sponsoring a refugee family the next. He’d reflected on his fears and decided to live up to his own Christian values instead.
Canada is a mostly Christian country, but I’m no expert on Christianity. Nor, judging by the New Testament gospel, am I even close to being a true Christian. But I keep thinking about what Jesus might have said about welcoming refugees.
Perhaps he’d say something about acting on faith, not fear. About reflecting on our own privileges and comforts. And about helping the vulnerable by making room at the inn.
Dedicated to people of all nations who are welcoming refugees to their homes and communities.
36 thoughts on “Living One’s Beliefs”
Good for you! So well done.
Beautifully put, Cynthia.
Wonderful reminders Cynthia. Living from my values (especially love) is what works best for me. You are a good model. Thank you. ❤
Yes, I think Canada is practicing welcoming the stranger in a way that, disturbingly, we are not doing right now in the U.S. It grieves me, but I am grateful for our northern neighbor’s generosity.
Lovely Cynthia. Yes, these are troubling times. But you remind me of what is good in the world.
Thank you for the reminder. We each can find ways to help the refugees that are coming into our countries. Sheila, who lives in Italy, had a good take on all of this. She just posted this today. https://missionitalia.com/2017/02/25/the-global-refugee-crisis-and-our-part/
Well, if you believe the Bible, we do know what Jesus would’ve said about refugees:
“Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” (Matthew 25:40) On this basis, I would say many Christians in America are hypocrites.
I share your fears for the future not because of the refugees but the people now leading our countries. Well done Canada for sticking to its core values and well done you to publicize it.
I think as long as you’re not correlating Christianity with Capitalism you can be forgiven for not imitating the lives of Christ or Buddha. You reflect and that is always appreciated.
Eloquent and beautifully said, Cynthia. I think about this often as well and feel heartened when people live by the values taught by Jesus. It breaks my heart to see what is happening in the US and often at the hands of people who shout that they are Christians.
A thought provoking post Cynthia. I agree that in times of their need we should reach out to refugees. In the future the tables may be turned. For generations the Irish have left our shores to go to Canada. America, Australia and the UK and we have not been turned away. So we should now welcome those who turn to us.
Thanks for your wise words. You’re so right.
If all the people in the world who call themselves Christians would, like you, study what Jesus actually did, the refugees would all find homes.
Yes, indeed, Hilary.
When 911 occurred, I lived in Alexandria, VA. I could see the smoke from the Pentagon billowing just a few miles away from the hospital where I worked. While I experienced the pull of patriotism, I also had skepticism about the political dynamic and what it suggested about the USA’s position in the world. Revolts occur when a government becomes oppressive. I commneted to a co-worker (who happened to be from Canada, thus somewhat not-identifying with the USA-USA-USA chanting) that Rome had found it’s Gauls and Barbarians (which of course are derogatory labels applied by the oppressor). The USA had it terrorists.
On a more personal note, through my work, I do encounter a good number of refugees and immigrants from around the world. Their stories (of which I will give few details for confidentiality reasons) include Eitheopians and Eritrians who fled that civil war; Elsalvadorians who saw drug gangs kill each others’ members and threaten her at her restaurant; Iraqi’s and Syrians who saw their children killed in front of them by al Queida and ISIS… We cannot imagine (though our movie screnes are filled with death and glorification of killing) what life is like with memories like these.
Frankly, the way that a terrorist-freedom-fighter (what is the difference other than who uses the label?) will justify any deceit to achieve his or her goal. If the USA bans travels from 7 nations, they will go through secondary routes. If the USA adds a religious/ethnic affiliation box, they will check Christian and quote scripture. We will not make them our friends by vilifying them.
Well said, Oscar. Thank you for this.
Cynthia thank you for this! I am so distraught every time I turn on the news. The negativity and fear mongering is appalling. I’m not sure what happened but I feel that we have lost our common sense this side of the border. I hope we get it back! Thank you Canada for being a guiding light.
Thank you, Kate. Canadians have such close connections to the US. Most of my family is American. So I hear your distress whenever you turn on the news. It seems to have gotten bad so quickly.
It really has become bad hasn’t it? I am always hopeful that the best of human nature will prevail – xx
These are troubling times in which we live. I do know there is only one fragile Earth upon which we all live, and I have lived long enough to see both progress and regression on many fronts. I do feel that “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” is still as relevant as it ever was, if not more so, yet it seems “do unto others before they do unto you” is the path our politicians are attempting to lead us along. The former leads us to an enlightened, healthy and harmonious society; the latter leads us into darkness and chaos, where ultimately no one will benefit.
Beautifully said, Lavinia. And an important distinction.
Thank-you, Cynthia. You have put into words all that I have been thinking in recent months. I believe that most people are caring and kind at heart and without thinking, would come to the aid of someone in trouble. Our problem is that our countries are run by financiers and it doesn’t make financial sense to help refugees, or those in trouble abroad or make a home for anyone who, at present is unable to pay their way. We are influenced by organisations that appear to thrive by making us more fearful. We are thought of as foolish or even unpatriotic if we help those who cannot help themselves.
I often wonder what would happen if the tables were turned and we in our comfortable, safe homes were suddenly unable to stay there. We would need a haven until it was safe to return. Where would we go for help? What if that country that previously welcomed us as wealthy tourists now did all it could to stop us from entering their land? What if we were forced to hire boats from criminals and risk death to cross the sea with our children and elderly parents? What if we were confined in unsanitary camps for years because we were ‘refugees’ i.e. ignorant, uneducated people who know no better, had no finer feelings and were used to living in squalor?
Powerfully expressed, Claire. Thank you. You have stated it way better than I could.
You are very kind; thank-you.
Thank you, Canada, for being more welcoming than the leadership of the US right now.
Very interesting post Cynthia. I agree with you and I believe most people have huge concerns and desires to help those less fortunate.
I think what really astounds me is most of the people (some very close to me) who are attacking a plan for proper vetting in our country, complaining our government is not helping people, have never once stepped foot in a refugee accepting home or church to help serve food, donate food, provide clothing, money or any other type of assistance. I get so worked up listening to some of my “friends/acquaintances” complain about government, yet never once have they accompanied me or my family when we have volunteered our time at our church helping new refugee families, donated food, money, help teach English language etc.
It’s time for everyone to “put their money where their mouth is” so to speak. If you are so appalled by what is happening, take the time to help those who are here already and clear the path for the others who will come in legally.
Well said, Tina. There are all kinds of ways of helping, and kudos to people like your family, who do find ways to help those in need! I think we have to do both — protest against practices we don’t support, AND do the good work to help those we can, in every way we can.
Cynthia, could your post be more apropos? And whatever happened to `Do unto others as you would have them do unto you’? These times are indeed, very anxious, and increasingly dark. I am stunned by those in this country who call themselves Christians and behave in the hateful way they do. (I have been for some time, but it is only getting worse.) Though I have no real intention of doing so, it even crossed my mind that living in Canada might be nice. I think we’re all being called upon to truly consider our behavior and beliefs, and to be our highest and best, right here, wherever we are. A challenge, yes, but when so many others are on their high horse rather than taking the high road, at least we can try.
It’s a tough call, however you approach it, Cynthia, and anyone claiming to have all the answers are simply fooling themselves. There are so many varying perspectives; so many arguments for good or ill. The decisions to be made are for those who have been given the power to make them. We can but pray they make the best ones.
The anxieties now have finally revealed what was within our societies for a very, very long time. The multicultural society in the UK had deep divides before the Brexit vote and the underlying vitriol was then made more acceptable by powerful political endorsements and propaganda.
But I do feel hopeful despite the relentless appalling news items because there are many motivated individuals and some governments who still show great kindnesses and compassion.
And we can where possible speak out about injustice and plug away for a better more equal world. Finding global solutions is clearly not easy or without hard work.
What a fabulous post! And well done to Canada for caring ..
Hear, hear Cynthia – Canada seems to be very enlightened compared to other countries in the west.
God loves all his children. It is sad that people from Middle East cannot find home in their neighboring countries. Our people are very supportive, I have never heard about any incidents. We have many refugees in Waterford since 2004-2005 – from Africa, Nepal. All of them have settled well, raise children, some have jobs, but people from Middle East look like they were planted in a wrong soil. Their hostel is just around the corner from where I live, in the very centre of town, so I have a lot of opportunities to watch them before they move to social housing. I have 5 years experience of mingling with people from Middle East. I wish they got their homeland back.
God bless you Cynthia. In Brazil there’re lots of refugees and is becoming chaotic. Let’s see what it’ll come.
Wow, cool to hear about your friend’s change of heart. This topic is so divisive these days and i hope it forces Christians to introspect on their own values and address any incongruencies with their outward life. Thank you for speaking up for refugees!