A More Excellent Way: An Open Letter to Mr. Trump

January 27, 2017

“And I show you a still more excellent way.”
("One" Corinthians 12:31)

 
OPEN LETTER TO MR. TRUMP: "A MORE EXCELLENT WAY"
San Diego, California Republic (see our state flag)
January 27, 2017
 
Mr. President:
 

 

(Bishop McElroy and I spoke at the Border Fence separating Mexico and the Us.S.)

 

We already have a wall here in San Diego. I’ve been there, touched it, and experienced the consequences it brings: dividing not only our countries, but families.
 
I have worked with immigrants for decades: Iraqis, Liberians, Vietnamese, Cambodians, South and Central Americans, Mexicans, Marshallese, Ethiopians, Eritreans, Cambodians, and a lot of Haitians, just to name a few. Never have I felt fear from any. But I have received an enormous amount of love from them. That has made me a better person.

 

I would invite you, Mr. President, to come to Mid-City San Diego where I work. Within a few miles of my Ministry Center, there is at least one person from every nation on earth. Whenever there is an earthquake in Nepal or a tsunami in the Maldives, there is always at least one person on our local news praying for their families and friends back home.
 
You might be surprised, Mr. President, that San Diego has one of the lowest crime rates of any major city in America. Per FBI statistics for 2013, San Diego was the second safest city in the USA with a population over 500,000.
 
At the same time, we are probably the most ethnically diverse city in America. We are home to the busiest border crossing in the world.
 
I get it. It may make people feel a bit more “secure”, just like living in a gated community. But homes are broken into and people experience violence every day despite the gated walls we build.

 

I could go on, but let’s get to the point. Do we really need a bigger, longer wall?
 
A MORE EXCELLENT WAY

Here is my idea, Mr. President. Why don’t we do what every major religion teaches and welcome the strangers. We might find out that love casts out fear. We will discover love turns strangers and even enemies into friends.
 
Ever since I did my student teaching at an all-Black high school in the Mississippi Delta before desegregation, I’ve taken some risks. I’ve tried to befriend, welcome and love folks who are not like me. It has been “a road less traveled”, but I can testify that it has “made all the difference”.
 
So, I would like to share an idea with you, Mr. President, what I call my immigration policy.

 

ROOM AT THE TABLE
Born into a large, loving (and poor) family, my parents taught us there is always room for one more at the table. As children, we sang in Sunday School, “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight: Jesus loves the little children of the world.”
 
I’ve tried to practice that. All of them are God’s children, so that makes us all sisters and brothers! Ever since, my family has been expanding in ever increasing circles.
 
My grandchildren are Kawasaki’s. The 20 or so Haitians who came to us in 2009 still call me “Dad”. They are indeed my “children”. And now, to top it off, Anita and I have become foster parents to Harry,  the most loving, joyful Haitian 20-month-old boy who has filled our home with happiness and love.

 

TRUE GREATNESS
Mr. President, you talk about making America great again. I submit to you that greatness never comes from fear, hate, prejudice, or discrimination. Jesus taught the one who would be “greatest among you” must be “servant of all”.
 
So, let’s do this: welcome the strangers God sends our way. Let’s show true humility by washing one another’s feet. It’s humbling, something you might at least try.

 

I’ve tried to practice that. All of them are God’s children, so that makes us all sisters and brothers! Ever since, my family has been expanding in ever increasing circles.
 
My grandchildren are Kawasaki’s. The 20 or so Haitians who came to us in 2009 still call me “Dad”. They are indeed my “children”. And now, to top it off, Anita and I have become foster parents to Harry,  the most loving, joyful Haitian 20-month-old boy who has filled our home with happiness and love.

 

TRUE GREATNESS
Mr. President, you talk about making America great again. I submit to you that greatness never comes from fear, hate, prejudice, or discrimination. Jesus taught the one who would be “greatest among you” must be “servant of all”.
 
So, let’s do this: welcome the strangers God sends our way. Let’s show true humility by washing one another’s feet. It’s humbling, something you might at least try.

 

What if? 
What if every church, temple, mosque, or house of worship would welcome just one refugee or refugee family? They could either live in the church (as many have done at CMC), or in a parishioner’s home with the whole congregation offering support to share the responsibility. With 300,000 houses of worship in America, we could solve a big part of the immigration crisis without costing the government a penny!
 
Even better, what if we quit calling them names life “refugees”, “immigrants”, “Syrians”, “Muslims” (or worse “rapists”) and call them by their real names, such as Harry. I cannot tell you how many people have told me they were afraid of immigrants until they met one. Maybe it was their gardener or housekeeper, who over time became almost like a family member. No, make that: They became family.
 
And please, Mr. President, don’t threaten to take away Federal funds if we don’t comply with your ideas (which seem to change by the hour). In case you haven’t discovered it yet, the Federal government has NO FUNDS. They are all OUR FUNDS. They are called taxes, which apparently, you have paid little or none.
 
By the way, after attending an immigration rights demonstration yesterday, I fell ill. As I lay on a park bench, the first person to come to my aide was my friend, Hanif. Yes, he’s Muslim. But notice I call him by his name. Hanif got some water and stayed with me until he was sure I was OK. Thanks, my dear friend.
 
So, let’s understand each other. Christ Ministry Center will continue to offer safe harbor to immigrants. Whether it is a Salvadorian mother and three sons whose husband-father was killed before their eyes, Haitian immigrants, my foster son, or anyone else we can help. And despite threats and intimidation, if necessary, we will continue to do so.
 
My Bible says I should pray for those in power. I pledge to do that. You and I both need a lot of prayer.
 
Until the day I die, there will continue to be room for one more at my “family” table. Wish America would do the same. It is a more excellent way.
 
For Christ’s Sake,
Bill Jenkins

 

 

 

 

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Safe Harbors Network is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization EIN: 83-1617912 (donations are tax deductible). 

Safe Harbors Network is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization EIN: 83-1617912 (donations are tax deductible). 

Safe Harbors Network is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization EIN: 83-1617912 (donations are tax deductible).