Here Lutheran Bishop and former pastor Wayne Miller reflects on hospitality and the stranger through the lens of immigration. Hospitality, says Miller, is often seen as “a matter of decency,” a perspective that cannot meet the systemic injustice and power differences that currently exist in the United States. Miller believes a new framework is needed, and he suggests that only a “confessional theology” that begins with the cross has the power to form Gospel communities. These communities, says Miller, must offer both “Assistance and Resistance.” Assistance includes intentional positive helps and strategies, such as offering ESL classes. Resistance is a refusal to participate in oppressive structures and must be carefully and prayerfully discerned. This thought provoking article offers a way for Christian congregations-Lutheran and otherwise-to discuss a variety of topics, including social justice, systemic injustice, strangers, immigration, power, and privilege. Some of Miller’s ideas may be uncomfortable for some readers.
Reviewed by Janet Hoover