Exodus 22 And How We Treat Immigrants

In Exodus 22, in the middle of a list of the very early laws of the very new nation of Israel, we find this passage:

21 “You must not exploit a resident alien or oppress him, since you were resident aliens in the land of Egypt.

22 “You must not mistreat any widow or fatherless child. 23 If you do mistreat them, they will no doubt cry to me, and I will certainly hear their cry. 24 My anger will burn, and I will kill you with the sword; then your wives will be widows and your children fatherless.  – Exodus 22:21-24

The first law above in verse 21 concerning resident aliens (i.e., immigrants from other countries) is the subject of this post but I included the other three verses in this section because they do a good job summarizing what I call God’s Big Four. These are those vulnerable ones in any society that God repeatedly highlights in Scripture as those with which he is particularly concerned. In this chapter, consisting (mostly) of pedestrian, day-to-day laws about lending money, leasing a field, don’t steal your a neighbor’s ox, etc., this passage burns white-hot.

My anger will burn, and I will kill you with the sword

God is saying: do not mess with these who are easy to mess with because they have no resources or protections. Do not exploit these who are easy and tempting to exploit, because they are different than you or less powerful than you. They are special to me and have come under my special protection.

He includes immigrants in this list (here and in a lot of other places in Scripture). It should be obvious: the Israelites had just come out of centuries of slavery, of being strangers and aliens in a land that oppressed them. He’s telling his people: don’t forget what that felt like. Don’t turn and become just like your past oppressors.

It has been dismaying, to say the least, to witness the vilification of immigrants in our own time, especially when the vilification is coming from evangelical Christians. We desire to be people of the Book, but there seems to be a filter placed over the repeated commands in Scripture to not oppress the immigrant. We don’t seem to be listening.

Now Scripture doesn’t teach that we shouldn’t have borders, immigration laws, and the like. And I’m certainly not advocating for that. But anti-immigrant sentiment among the political team that most evangelical Christians in America identify with is strong and growing stronger. Mass deportation camps are seriously being considered. This seems both wrong and very foolish.

It is wrong because we are told, by God, not to oppress the immigrant. Repeatedly. I don’t have all the answers regarding how to better enforce immigration laws, and I’m not saying nothing should be done to rectify what many consider to be a crisis. But rounding up men, women, and children, uprooting them from their homes and jobs, and dumping them into another country, effectively making them refugees (again) doesn’t seem to line up with the spirit of Exodus 22 and many, many other passages in Scripture.

It is also foolish. I live in a large city in a border state. What I am about to say is no exaggeration. Immigrants built, and are building, our entire city. Our Entire City. I’ve never (and I mean never) seen or interacted with a work crew, in our neighborhood,, or working on our house, or building a skyscraper, etc., that wasn’t almost entirely composed of first and second generation immigrants from Latin America.

We, many of us, have gotten comfortable with othering these people.

Of first importance: this is wrong. God’s anger may well burn against us for the way we talk about and treat these people made in his image.

Of second importance, it is also very, very dumb.

Rock Me Like a Hurricane

I live in a place that gets hit with hurricanes and bad storms frequently. The eye of Beryl passed right over our house last week, for example.

I’ve started asking questions: why do so many evangelicals consider concern over global warming to be the equivalent of bad doctrine? It would seem that the opposite should be true: we have been mandated to tend and keep this garden. Shouldn’t we be about that?

I am not a climate scientist. But I’ve lived where I live for thirty-one years. For the first couple of decades we weren’t expecting to get hit with flooding and destroyed houses every single year. Now that is the basic expectation. I know many people who’s power is still out. They dealt with the exact same issue two months ago when another (non-hurricane strength) storm hit us. Maybe it’s just aging infrastructure, but these events certainly seem to be hitting us with more frequency. No one I know thinks we won’t have another huge storm or hurricane this season.

Where I Belong

“Don’t let your heart be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? If I go away and prepare a place for you, I will come again and take you to myself, so that where I am you may be also.” – John 14:1-3

Increasingly I understand that this is truly all I’ve ever wanted.

I am truly loved by many people who I also love; I am blessed deeply in so many ways. But I have never really felt like I fit in; I don’t know why. I’m even at war with myself most of the time. It is a rare moment that I truly feel at home, comfortable in my own skin, fully present, fully accepted, fully me.

But I do have a home; a true home. It is in my Father’s house. And I know more than ever each day that being there is what my heart has been longing for my whole life.

Things are good

An old friend commented on my last post and expressed some concern.

Good grief, I don’t know what was going on with me half a year ago… but good grief. Drama.

I’m doing a lot better. I know what spurred on the dark time from a circumstantial point of view, but I am surprised at how dark I sound. I don’t remember feeling that down.

I’m really doing well. Better than I deserve.

(I also want to make a point that the ministry I lamented going away went away because of COVID. Not because of a moral failure or anything. We just really couldn’t meet on campus anymore – there were other leadership issues related to my lack of skill in leadership

I probably won’t post anymore here. I started a new blog. I’m not telling anyone where it is yet. It’s kind of just a place to write. People can stumble upon it serendipitously.

God bless you.

Good morning

Good morning.

Every day. No matter what. Mercies are new, the Lord is in control.

I remain in a dark place, where I’ve been most of this year. Full of disappointments and disillusionments and, increasingly, anger. These aren’t good emotions to hold on to. But they also aren’t good emotions to ignore. Salt them with wisdom and sweeten them with grace, and see what happens.


I’m waiting to see what happens. I’m in a dark place



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, but – and I know this is cliche – I’m doing way better than I deserve and I am grateful.

“You’re done”

I think most of us hope and believe at the end of all things we will hear “well done My good and faithful servant.”

But what if we’re in for is hearing the words “You’re done.”

In other words

, you ran a race, you crossed the line, but there’s not much else to say.

“You’re done.”

We flatter ourselves – wait

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, let me reframe this: I flatter myself that the words Paul hoped to hear could possibly also be applied to me. I’m done with flattery.

I’m in a dark place. It feels like I’m done. A lot has been removed or taken away. College ministry – gone. The Core – gone. Teaching on Sunday – gone. My career – gone (see last post). I try to discern what God is doing.

What if what he’s doing is just taking things away because my faithfulness wasn’t enough? My efforts weren’t enough? My gifting wasn’t enough? I am not enough?

“You’re done.”

My time may be running out. What I’ve “accomplished” in my life may already be written down. This is it. And it wasn’t all that impressive. More fear than boldness. More dithering than duty. More safety-nets than faith.

I don’t know. And I don’t know why these dark thoughts are overtaking me. Maybe it’s because it’s what I would banish myself to if I were God.

It’s a good thing I’m not God.

In the meantime

, I’m going to be stewing on this for awhile. Sitting in the ashes of my own inadequacy. Knowing I’ve never been enough, never will be enough, and am barely able to support the dreams that my family has

, at this point. It’s like I’ve run out of usefulness but I don’t have the resources to be actually done yet. I have to keep motoring on, on three wheels.

Hoping the Lord either knocks some sense and grace into my head or helps me face up to this and take some better steps in the short time I have left to actually do anything useful.

I’m a mess.


There is no “morning bus ride” because of the pandemic, but I can still post (it has been awhile).

It was a hard week.  Hard because I had a revelation this week and I’m still digesting it. On the bright side, I survived another round of layoffs at work. The thought of even complaining or lamenting at all during this time when I am relatively healthy and employed is almost obscene. There is so much bright side.

But on the perhaps also bright but right now it looks dark side, I also had a revelation. It was spurred by the fact that, while surviving the layoff, I was also removed from a leadership position at work. I was made an “individual contributor”. When I asked why, the response was terse and to the point. As a leader I have difficulty bringing things to completion.

So, my career is over. I am starting a new career at the same company as an individual contributor. I’ve always been a good individual contributor so there is reason for hope. I love doing the technical, individual work. I will not miss the management side of things. I’ll be keeping my head down, trying to add value, and trying to put myself in a position to survive the next round of layoffs. But the old career is over, and I was unsuccessful.

Now, for the revelation. I think this is from God. I believe God has been shouting this at me for several decades now.

I am not a leader.

I am a teacher. I am even a shepherd. But I am not a leader. I am never going to lead anyone to success. I am never going to “grow a ministry”. I am never going to be highly respect-able.

I am not a leader.


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, what now? A few things I hope to start doing.

  1. Quit bellyaching
  2. Be a teacher (albeit, I can’t really even do that right now in the pandemic, but those days will come again).
  3. Be a shepherd if ever given the opportunity to do that again.
  4. Quit fretting about respect. I am deeply loved. That should be enough. There has always been that elusive desire to be loved *and* respected. That desire needs to die. Everything isn’t about me.
  5. Be a very good follower



    , be a very good contributor, and hopefully (God willing) I’ll get a chance to show I can do those things for an extended period of time.

  6. If I can’t

    koupit-pilulky.com, and I don’t survive the next round of layoffs, or I lose my job for another reason, God is still there. God loves me. He knows my family needs provision. Keep the faith.

  7. Side note: regarding seminary – I have been on a break for the past few 8 week modules. I need to determine when to start up again. But I also need to determine *why* to start up again. I don’t think I will ever be a pastor


    , and I believe that I probably shouldn’t be a pastor (since pastors are leaders and I’m not a leader). Need to begin earnestly praying through this.

  8. Learn what it means to serve.

I may start posting more here again. Just writing this out helped. Today is a new day. Very thankful to still be employed.

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The Compass is Spinning

A new episode of the Departied podcast is out

, in which I respond to Dennis Prager’s argument that what we say in private is not a reliable standard by which to measure our character.


(To see what I’m responding to

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, here’s Dennis Prager’s Fireside Chat #117 – start around the one minute thirty mark: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yJrEnoH46nM&t=90s )

When you defend someone without a moral compass

, don’t be surprised if your own compass starts spinning.

Armor of light

Besides this, since you know the time, it is already the hour for you to wake up from sleep, because now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is nearly over, and the day is near; so let us discard the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. (Romans 13:11‭-‬12 CSB)

I remember waking up as a child, say in the middle of the summer or on a cold winter morning during Christmas break. What I remember is light and hope in a new day. It was . . . Bliss.

The contrast between that and trying to rouse my old

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, tired self in the darkness of 5:30am is, well, quite a contrast! When days are new and one hasn’t experienced very many, each day holds bright secrets and splendid serendipities.

Days pile upon each other and over time the sharp

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, bright trumpet of each new day becomes a dull pffft.

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This should not be. Each day is a gift and


, for the believer

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, one day closer to glory. Yes, jobs and responsibilities and routines and morning alarms might dull the edge of expectation and turn the morning spring into a desultory roll out of bed

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, but it ought not be that way.

We are alive. We are now. Each breath is a gift and the promise of the soon coming dawn should enliven us. It’s time to get up and get dressed.

And I’m not talking about khakis and a button down.

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