Aliens Welcome

By Neumark, Heidi | The Christian Century, February 6, 2007 | Go to article overview

Aliens Welcome


Neumark, Heidi, The Christian Century


Sunday, February 25

Deuteronomy 26:1-11; Luke 4:1-13

AS I WRITE THIS, the kitchen table is shaking. If our table is shaking, I worry that the church's beautiful stained-glass windows, desperately in need of repair, are also shaking. The parsonage is attached to the church and shares the same foundation. Seven feet away all hell is breaking loose. Several blocks of businesses that have served this neighborhood are being knocked down by giant backhoes and inflated real estate prices to make way for towering apartments.

Similar apartment towers have gone up a block away, offering amazing penthouse views across the Hudson River to the west and Central Park to the east. A studio starts at $1.5 million, and the pinnacle penthouse is five times that amount. The residents will be able to see across the river, but will they see into Lilia's apartment half a block away? There, in the tower's shadow, Lilia and her family live in a single-room cubicle without kitchen or closet and share a bathroom with 60 other people.

Lilia came here desperate to make a better life for her two children. She told me that in Mexico she could earn 250 pesos a week. Diapers cost 70 pesos, shampoo 30. "You can wash or you can eat," she said. And so they pushed themselves through the barbed-wire fence. She said she didn't even feel it cutting her at the time. The scars came later. And other barbs. My daughter told me that some high school girls she knows were talking about a group identified only as "DMs," which means "Dirty Mexicans."

Lilia and her family are part of this parish. I like the old geographical nature of the word, our parish, embracing the whole neighborhood--Lilia's family, my family and the soon-to-be-our-neighbors' penthouse family.

In Spanish, the word for parish is parroquia, even closer than the English to its Greek root, paroikia. Paroikia indicates a place of exile, a place where you might find a paroikos--a stranger, a resident alien. Our parishes are intended to be places of hospitality for the paroikos. Such ministry is not a sideline but our core identity as a church--an identity with a long history, as Deuteronomy reminds us. We don't label our biblical ancestors as economic interlopers, suspect strangers or terrorists; we honor them and love them as foremothers and forefathers of our faith. We are to welcome each new paroikos in the same way.

A wandering Aramean was my ancestor; he went down into Egypt and lived there as an alien. Given the surge in anti-immigrant sentiment in many parts of our nation and the challenges posed by a growing number of economic refugees, this reading seems particularly timely. We are reminded that Abraham and Sarah were immigrants who left the land of their birth and became resident aliens.

Then there was Joseph, caught up in a whirlwind of familial, economic and international conflicts as a detained alien whose traumatic journey ultimately gained him legal status and enabled him to feed his family back home. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Aliens Welcome
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.