In 1990, at the ripe old age of 19, I was asked to be a Deacon at my church. Being a Deacon isn’t an ordained position, but it is a very important position. I was one of 24 volunteer members of a select commitee (members who served a 6 year calling) that was responsible for deciding some of the financial and missions related aspects of the church. 12 of us (myself included) were also responsible for the weekly responsibilities of preparing for church service that Sunday. My month of Sundays, was August.
In one of these August Sundays, I remember greeting a newbie who was visiting our church. It was a young woman in her mid to late 20s, a single mother. As Deacon, I was one of the first people to greet her at the door and I showed her to a pew where she was seated. We had our service and I assisted the Pastor in greeting people when they left. This young mom lingered in the Sanctuary with her daughter, not in any hurry to leave, trying to talk to as many people as she could. This continued the following week when she visited our church a second time.
In her third visit, she spent about 5 minutes talking to me in the sanctuary and told me that she would not be returning. I asked her why, if someone had offended her or if we didn’t make her feel comfortable? She said she was in fact very comfortable at our church and she very much wanted to continue attending but she saw no real reason to do so, that she was “…wasting her time.” So I asked a follow up question as to how she could be wasting her time here? She said that there weren’t any single Christian men at our church that she was interested in seeing socially outside of church and she wanted to get married. Returning for additional Sundays would be a waste of her very sparse time.
Well…. an honest (if not cold) response.
So this leads to a much bigger question: was she (from a Christian standpoint) acting ethically? Obviously, looking for a husband (and step-father for her daughter) was her primary motivation for attending our church if only for a very short period of time, but should that be the ONLY reason (as it apparently was?)
My first fiancée (well, we were engaged to be engaged if there is such a thing) told me that before she met me (early 1990s), she used to church-hop. For those not aware of what that means: church-hopping is like bar-hopping, but going to different churches week-after-week. You do that for the social aspect of church first (the spiritual aspect second.) I am not aware if this is still a custom carried out by younger Christians today but I can see the reason for it if you are shopping for a Christian spouse. What better possible place to look than church?
But is it ethical to do so if that is your sole motivation? Do you simply rule out attending a church simply because you can’t find anyone there who you might consider an eligible suitor? What if you feel the presence of the Holy Spirit as you listen to sermon? Is nothing gained (nothing to gain that makes it worth your time) if no one there will do until death you do part?
Moreover, sometimes people in church might regard the search for a spouse (in their church) as something that makes them uncomfortable. Would a protective father who wants to raise his daughters in a place that he feels very Holy and sacred take kindly to some strange visiting man attending church one week and then asking to see one of his daughters socially, just one week later? As a father of a young daughter, I can tell you that I would find that downright creepy.
I’ve been searching the Gospels lately and I haven’t found any scripture that specifically disapproves of this behavior. So the answer to this question is pretty subjective based on how one looks at a church and the members who attend it.
This is my first non-spiritual blog entry so please be kind.
I am the great grandson of immigrants. My great grandfather immigrated to the United States in 1919. He brought his wife with him from Lithuania and they settled in the South Shore of Massachusetts. He bought a farm (with what money???, I have no idea) my great grandfather worked the farm in the evenings and he and his wife worked full-time (days) in shoe factories when they used to make shoes in Massachusetts. (There was once a time when Brockton Massachusetts was the Shoe Capital of the World.) He had no skills (could not work any job outside the farm unless the job was well formed.) He had very little literacy. He was self-educated. But making shoes, growing crops, and raising livestock did create wealth.
That was then and this is now.
Our current crop of undocumented workers (or if you prefer, illegal immigrants) come here with the same skills, literacy, and education that my great grandfather had. Problem is, this isn’t 1919. It might be the industrial age in China but here in the United States, we are in the information age. There aren’t as many well paying, well formed, labor jobs for your uneducated, unskilled, illiterate, (albeit hard-working) immigrant. And they aren’t going to find that much land that they can afford to buy for farming. And cleaning pools, mowing lawns, cleaning houses, trimming hedges, flipping burgers, and nannying children does not create wealth.
In short, this doesn’t work. So why are we doing this to ourselves? Is this just politics?
I started thinking about that and then I starting asking other questions. How does Canada handle immigration? Well, you basically have to have needed skills or money or you can forget it What about Australia? You’ll need a background check and a bachelors degree.
So what gives? Why would these other first world nations put so many barriers up to prevent immigration? Why don’t they just grant amnesty to all their illegals the way we appear to be doing? (As I’m sure, they have them just like the United States.) Why make it so difficult? Are they just being…. (dare I say it) …racist?
Or perhaps, they are being smart?
Why would a first world nation (with massive social safety nets and subsidies) simply choose to give citizenship (and all the benefits that entails) to people who (although very hard-working) simply lack the skills and education to create any wealth? I mean does anyone actually believe that these 11,000,000 undocumented workers, is there any real chance that this could be a net-positive economic boost for the United States of America? And if not, why would we do this?
This isn’t 1919. We don’t have those shoe factories in Brockton anymore.