D.L. Mayfield

living in the upside-down kingdom

Filtering by Tag: Lent2017

Lent 2017: Reading List

So today I want to share a few books I am aware of that center the stories of undocumented neighbors in the US. I am sure there are more out there--which is why I need *you* to leave your recommendations in the comments!


Jesus was a Migrant by Deirdre Cornell

First off, there doesn't seem to be that many books written about the struggles and challenges of our immigration system within a Christian framework that espouses dignity for all involved. This one does.  And isn't the cover amazing? I reviewed this book a few years ago at Englewood Review. You can read the review here. (Spoiler alert: you should read it!)



Welcoming the Stranger: Justice, Compassion, and Truth in the Immigration Debate by Matthew Soerens and Jenny Hwang Yang.

I just got this book and am so excited to dive into it. I've chatted with Matthew quite a bit and had the privilege of hanging out with Jenny Yang before and let me tell you that these are QUALITY people who are currently working very hard to engage with the wider church on these very important issues. I will be writing a bit about my reflections on this book as we go throughout Lent, so get it for yourself!



Underground America: Narratives of Undocumented Lives.

Now, here is the other book I am currently reading (this one is not faith-based, but will incite our Christian imagination all the same). It is no secret that I am a huge fan of the Voice of Witness series (oral histories edited and compiled around human rights abuses). I knew for this time of studying it would be of paramount importance to read stories from undocumented folks themselves. This collection (which I am only halfway through) has already made me sob like a baby. I don't think there is anything more important than taking the time to read the stories from undocumented people themselves. There are so many reasons why and how people find themselves in the US without papers. This book is humanizing, and so incredibly complex--but the common element is the amount of suffering that leads someone to be in a position where they live undocumented in another country. 

(You can read my review of another book in this series, Palestine Speaks, here). 


So those are the books I am committing to immersing myself in. I also have these two on hold at the library, and will let you know if/when I get to them:

Illegal People: How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants



For topics as complex as the US immigration system, I know that we will have to look past clickbait articles and simplistic solutions. Diving into books seems like a great way to counteract my own impulse to respond in fear and anger to all the anti-immigrant sentiment in our news and in our current administrations. 

I am 100% sure I am missing some vital books on this subject. So please, jump in on the comments and share the wealth of your knowledge.




The Fasts We Choose: Lent 2017

Lent is here today. I didn't grow up observing this season of prayer, fasting, and a re-turning to Christ--but like a lot of people, it has become more attractive to me with time. As my life spirals out to include so many others--my husband, children, neighbors, extended family, friends, readers--rhythms have become so important. And so here we are, with Lent such a perfect opportunity to step back from the frantic pace of worry and stress I have found myself in. 

My neighborhood is struggling. People are afraid. As my pastor mentioned on Sunday, people like my neighbors--immigrants and refugees, Muslims, people of color, people who cannot afford health insurance, kids who qualify for free school lunches and depend on the local public school--they are getting the message that they do not matter. Some of these populations are actively being vilified for political gain. This is heartbreaking to me. So I'm not giving up coffee or chocolate. Instead, I am re-setting in a different way. I am choosing to focus on one injustice that has been bothering me, and I am prayerfully going to immerse myself in reflection and education about that topic. For me, learning how to best care for and understand our undocumented neighbors is at the top of my priority list. I figure that others might want to learn more about this subject as well, so I will share what I find. 

Please join me? I will be posting several times a week, and hope to have a mixture of articles and podcasts and videos to share. On Fridays I hope to have some tangible action steps and plans. And of course, if you have access to resources about how to best understand/support our undocumented neighbors, please comment and let me know!

To start with, a simple request (something I saw from Lynn Hybels twitter account. What a world we live in!):

Start each day of Lent by reading Isaiah 58.

Print it out and hang it in your bathroom. Keep it in your journal by your bedside. Or just read it on your phone. What would happen if we let these prophetic, challenging words shape our imaginations when it comes to fasting, when it comes to how we think God is at work in our world?

This gorgeous chapter is not just about social justice, or a reprimand against how corrupt the people of God had become. It is also a guide for how to be resilient in the face of injustice and inequality. More than anything, I want to be here for the kingdom coming. 

"And the LORD will guide you continually, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters do not fail. And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in."


So here's to strong bones. Here's to choosing to fast by focusing on one of the most vilified and least understood populations in America. Here's to becoming repairers of these wide, wide breaches that we find in our world. 

Let's choose our fasts carefully this year.



(Tomorrow I will be sharing resources for books to read on the topic of undocumented immigrants in America. I can't wait to hear your suggestions.)





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