Seeing Immigrants Through God’s Eyes

Why their stories are always relevant, no matter the politics of immigration.

Recently, a pastor in San Antonio was speaking publicly about his work with immigrants. Someone in the crowd asked him how he defends his work against critics, those who say that he is misguided in his compassion for those coming to the US uninvited.

Rather than argue policy and sling data, the pastor said he always begins with, “Here is what I’ve seen with my own eyes …”

This is essentially the strategy that World Relief immigrant advocate Karen González adopts in her first book, The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong. Knowing that she is writing into a world polarized by the issues she raises, González uses her autobiography and the stories of biblical immigrants to make the case for more welcoming immigration laws.

To See and Be Seen

González herself is an immigrant, from Guatemala, and she calls on that personal testimony to give a firsthand account of the fears, insecurities, and elations of the immigration process. She recalls finding dead bodies on the walk home from school, feeling lost as a non-English speaker in her first US church, and the difficult decision to leave her family home to attend college after the death of her mother.

The biographical portions of González’s story are broken up into thematic chapters following the sacraments of the Catholic church, a faith expression to which she feels some affinity, though she herself is Protestant and her parents were only nominally Catholic at most. The approach is reminiscent of Lauren Winner’s Mudhouse Sabbath, which does the same with Jewish traditions, pointing out their enduring relevance for Winner’s Christian faith.

Alongside her own story, González examines …

Continue reading

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.