When I read a review of The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong by Karen Gonzalez, I thought the book would be a perfect resource to demonstrate the Abrahamic Tradition’s mandate to welcome the “alien” and treat them as citizens in their new home. However, beyond a discussion of the Bible verses that can be obtained through quick Google searches, the book contains much more:
- Chapters discuss sacraments currently practiced by Christian churches. Gonzalez links immigration issues specifically to those sacraments.
- Gonzalez is an immigrant from Guatemala whose family faced many of the economic, asylum, and social issues of those now seeking access though the Southern U.S. Border.
- She contextualizes the Biblical teachings within these issues. For example, with the Biblical story of Naomi and Ruth, Gonzalez peels back and explores the relationship between the two women, economic necessity, and family commitment that caused Ruth to migrate. Similarly, in the story of Joseph (of technicolor coat fame) Gonzalez details the many roles and circumstances in which he and his family found themselves in Egypt as illegal immigrants, drawing direct parallels to current practices on the Southern Border.
- Most personally revealing, is the very direct complicity and privilege that I draw from the current U.S. practices. For example, in the story of Joseph and his brothers, the Egyptian flip-flopping over time, I realize how I directly benefit from not speaking out consistently on the immigration issues, based in large part on how I am directly impacted, whether economically or based on my ethical standards.
The book is short (200 pages) written in a casual style, but also well foot-noted for those wishing to check authoritative scholarly resources. The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible, and the Journey to Belong is a comprehensive, concise, and authoritative resource on the Abrahamic tradition mandates that contextualize the modern day crisis on the Southern U.S. Border.
The final section of the volumes contains excellent downloadable resources for further study, many informative websites, along with a study guide for each of the books chapters.