Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Jesus Testimony

I found this over on Bill Dahl's website

Enjoy it. I thought it was great writing.

The Congressional Testimony of Jesus Christ – U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings on U.S. Immigration Reform – Special Session
By Bill Dahl

Enough!

Once again, the voice of the Christian God is being muted by the fear-laden adrenal reactions of our elected officials in Washington D.C., who claim the name of Christ, yet deny the application of His Gospel, when confronted with the choice of satisfying special interests, or implementing our God’s clear teachings on the matter at hand.

Senate Majority leader Bill Frist introduced his own immigration reform Bill this past week, S. 2454 entitled Securing America's Borders Act (He could have titled it the “Liberty and Justice For All Act,” but that’s really not what this fellow has in mind). However, the provisions in the Frist bill are nearly identical to the bill under discussion as put forth by Senate Judiciary Chairman Arlen Specter.

Instead of triumphantly dispensing relief from oppression, Congress is hell-bent on implementing punitive, enforcement-based public policy. This effort runs completely contrary to the biblical mandate to provide relief and comfort to the oppressed. The voice of this effort is distinctly protectionist, defensive, exclusionary and will serve only to create more victims of poorly integrated national public policy. Once again, man remains the biggest conundrum for those who claim the name of Christ and those who profess that the United States was founded and rests upon the application of biblical principles, tenets of the Christian faith.

Enter Jesus:

Jesus: “Father, I know what we’ve said. However, enough is enough. I’ve got to make a physical appearance in the U.S. Senate to straighten some things out.”

God the Father: “Son, do what you must. When you make your appearance on the Senate floor, do you need Me to bellow: “This is my Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.” (1)

Jesus: “Yes Father. It probably wouldn’t hurt.” God The Father: “Go with My blessing. Return as soon as your work is completed.”

Listen up!

As the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on U.S. immigration reform had concluded for the day, Chairman Specter had asked the Senate Committee members to remain in room 226 of the Dirksen Senate office Building where the Committee’s hearings are held. Senate staff, the media and the public had left. Security had locked the main entrance to the Hearing room. The Senators were alone and tired after a very long, raucous debate.

As they discussed various points from the day’s testimony, Senator Feinstein exclaimed in a loud voice, “Excuse me sir! This is a closed session for Committee Members only. How did you get in here? You’ll have to leave immediately.”

Jesus adjusts the witness microphone in front of Him and says, “It’s my pleasure to be here this afternoon. I only require a few minutes of your time.”

Senator Kennedy interrupts and shouts, “Who are you!”

A Voice instantly fills the Senate chamber boldly proclaiming, “This is my Son, whom I love. With Him I am well pleased. Listen to Him!”(2)

Senator Hatch faints at hearing the voice of God.

Senator Biden is speechless with a tear running down his left cheek. The rest of the Judiciary Committee members are slumped, trembling, whimpering in their seats frantically fidgeting and worriedly throwing “Is it really Him?” back and forth at one another.

The Opening Exchange

Senator Specter raps his gavel. In a voice crackling with emotion, he pulls his microphone toward him and flips the switch to tape the testimony. He says, “I hereby call this special session of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee into special session. Please state your name and occupation for the record.”

Jesus: “My name is Jesus Christ. I am the Son of God.”

Senator Specter: “And why are You here today?”

Jesus: “I am here to provide you with testimony on what you must do for My children who are presently oppressed by your current immigration policies.”

Senator Specter: “Jesus, this is a very complex issue. It is one that gets citizens, schools, healthcare providers, social service agencies and undocumented immigrants alike all worked up. It’s taxing all the limited resources of this nation. People are fed up. I can assure you that we are trying to do the right thing for all concerned. I’m sure you too will be pleased with the outcome as well.”

Jesus: “I’m not so sure about that Senator.”

Senator Kennedy sheepishly leans forward and asks, “Why’s that?”

Jesus: “ Senator Specter’s response “makes you wonder if you have fashioned a gospel around your culture, technology and social economy rather than around the person of Christ.”(3)

Senator Feinstein: “It’s more complicated than that. Most of these undocumented immigrants are viewed as aliens, strangers, a danger and a burden to many communities. There’s a lot of animosity directed toward them. This animosity lives within each of our respective constituencies. These are voters!”

All Senators nod in agreement with Senator Feinstein’s comments.

Jesus: “If you hate someone because they are different from you, you’d best get on your knees until you can say you love them, until you have gotten your soul right with Christ.”(4)

Senators Feingold, Durbin, Schumer. Graham, Brownback, Coburn, Sessions, Cole, DeWine and Kyl rise from their seats visibly shaken. They move to the area in between the Senators seated above them and the witness table. They crumble to their knees, heads buried in their hands, weeping.

Senator Leahy: “Jesus, who do You think is to blame for this conundrum we find ourselves in?”

Jesus: “The entire world is falling apart because nobody will admit they are wrong. But by asking God to forgive you, you are willing to own your own crap.” (5)

Senator Grassley: “We take our commitment to apply Christian principles to our nation’s public policy very seriously. Our postmodern world is complex. So is our democracy. It’s much more difficult today to be a Christian, particularly as an elected official. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a believer.”

Jesus: “What I believe is not what I say I believe; what I believe is what I do.”(6) As it relates to the legislation before this Committee, maybe it’s time to get real rather than continue along the path of attempting to satisfy those who have the most money, a well-oiled PR machine and/or claim My Name. “Maybe we don’t need a new, improvised version of what already hasn’t worked in the past.” (7)

Criminals & Lawbreakers:

Senator Biden: “To become an undocumented immigrant in this, or any other nation, one must break the law. To many of our citizens, all the arguments begin and end with this one fact. How do you respond to this?

Jesus: “Your nation has become one when “you are not worrying about deadly diseases, you worry about homicidal strangers.”(8) How many times do I have to repeat myself? “Don’t be afraid!”(9) Your people are more concerned about dieing in a plane crash than they are about dieing from heart disease, as they sit in their seats eating a sack of doughnuts, waiting for take-off.

You are a nation that is mixed-up. As I have said, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”(10)

“When the Kingdom is our treasure we switch from hoarding to giving. When we focus on Kingdom priorities we liberally share our wealth. And in the process we not only restore and liberate the poor but also ourselves. We free ourselves from anxiety and the bondage of worry.”(11)

“Citizenship means looking out for one’s neighbors and giving a hand to those less fortunate. But it also means understanding the big issues of one’s times, seeing past the hype and spin, and working together to hold political leaders accountable.”(12) That’s why I’m here today. Your priorities are all mixed up. I’m here to speak on behalf of undocumented immigrants who are afraid to speak up.

“Criminals, lawbreakers, potential terrorists and economic burdens,” these are all stereotypes that hard-hearted people have drummed up to demonize, exclude and oppress millions of My children in this nation. As I have said, “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.”(13)

Those who characterize undocumented immigrants in your nation like this, ask them, "If any one of you is without sin, let him be the first to throw a stone.” (14)

Economic Burden:

Chairman Specter: “I fully appreciate what You have just testified about. However, this illegal immigration problem has become a significant economic burden for this nation. How do you respond to that?

Jesus: “Economic factors do powerfully shape the way you look at things. Salary, the income of your friends, the value of your house, and your social status – all these factors shape your thinking. They provide a set of lenses that alter your view of the world. You cling to theological beliefs that support and legitimate your economic status. Financial factors filter your Bible reading and tint your religious lenses so your beliefs conveniently support your economic lifestyles.”(15)

“You typically don’t have any problem counting money in this country. Yet, when the equation involves people, that’s when the math gets murky. Unfortunately, you have developed a tendency to forget how to count people accurately when it comes to socio-political issues. It really boils down to counterfeit counting or, counting only the folks that somebody defines as worth counting, the ones that truly matter. The figures you throw around depend upon the position you are attempting to support. This is what I refer to as arbitrary arithmetic or arbithmetic: the rules for counting change depending upon the reason underlying your count. Whether people count or not is dependent upon some pre-defined subjective definition that somebody makes up.

We have arrived at a critical juncture in our world that demands that we revisit the madness of our arbithmetic, as characterized by the following author: “The first step is to measure whatever can be easily counted. This is OK as far as it goes. The second step is to disregard that which can’t be easily measured or to give it an arbitrary quantitative value. This is artificial and misleading. The third step is to presume that which can’t be measured easily really isn’t important. This is blindness. The fourth step is to say that which can’t be easily measured really doesn’t exist. This is suicide.” (16)

Perhaps it’s time to heed the words of the psalmist when he wrote, “Blessed is the man whose sin the LORD does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit.”(17) It’s time to re-examine the deceit we’ve come to accept within your math from a moral and spiritual standpoint.

Spurred on by the relentless pursuit of prosperity and the ruthless defense of what you already have in the name of economic progress, The U.S. has become comfortable with diminishing the sacred value of each child of Mine to an economic cost. Faces, names and souls have been replaced with dollar signs denoting their perceived contribution to, or detraction from the burgeoning global economy.

It’s at this juncture that you must face the fact that you have marginalized My Children in your world. You have erected idols commissioned with prayers for His blessing of abundance. The shadows from these idols obscure your view of the poor, the needy, the displaced, the undocumented immigrant and the refugee. In our nations economic calculations, these people, My children, have become costs, economic burdens without faces or voices. Their needs continue to be diminished, overlooked and devalued in state and congressional policy deliberations, as well as in the individual and collective hearts of those who claim to be Disciples of Mine.

When you define people as costs that require containment and/or elimination, you elevate the pedestals that proudly support the idols of efficiency, self-determination, self-righteousness and patriotic fervor. You add a backdrop adorned with subtly subdued, fear-laden images and a swatch of scarcity designed to remind everyone that they might risk losing what they have if they don’t go along with the proposed formula for this nation’s future. Yes, this is the calculation you have arrived at for becoming the greatest nation on the face of this planet.”(18)

“We must never overlook the fact that the message of the Bible is above all a message preached to the poor, the burdened, the oppressed, the underprivileged.” (19)

The Children of Undocumented Immigrants:

Jesus: “There is one thing that particularly troubles me about the ongoing immigration reform deliberations before this Committee.”

Senator Kennedy: “Yes, and what might that be?”

Jesus: “Where’s the discussion about the kids?" Jesus wipes the tears from his eyes.

Senator Kennedy: “Please proceed.”

Jesus: “One critically important dimension of the Mexodus issue your Committee is charged with addressing is the well-being of the children of undocumented Mexican immigrants living in the U.S. I will refer to these innocent children here as ‘Chillegals.’ Most of these children, My children, began their journey to your country as infants, wrapped in blankets, and coddled in the arms of their parents as they made their way across the border.

As it relates to the plight of the millions of Chillegals residing in the U.S., these infants and children never had the capacity to consent or dissent to the actions taken by their parents. Yet, you hold them responsible and oppress them, based upon the immoral treatment afforded them under current public policy. This is Victimmigration: The ongoing oppression of infants and children of illegal Mexican immigrants in the U.S.” (20)

I beg you Senators, as I have said before, may it guide you today, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."(21) May the outcome of your deliberations provide them with an immediate path to citizenship.

The Opportunity:

“You see, from a purely historical standpoint, the plight of undocumented Hispanic immigrants residing in the U.S. can be accurately characterized by the term Hispurgatory: A moment in U.S. history when the resident, undocumented Latino immigrant population is caught in a state of legal limbo. Their standard of living is typically well below the official poverty level. Their daily existence is one of endurance and survival. They are motivated by the hope that their service to this country as upstanding, creative, contributing, law abiding residents will be rewarded someday with legitimate, official acceptance by the government of this, your Promised Land.

For these Latinos, the hope for citizenship in the U.S. is heaven. Visions of better jobs, education, healthcare, housing, protections against discrimination, racism, the ability to be all one can be, to contribute to the United States economy and culture on an equal footing…these are the elements of their hope. The country they departed was, at least, economically oppressive. If the prospects for a better life for their families in their country of origin was without hope, then, that is hell. Hope led them here. Hope keeps them here. They hope that you will awaken from your self-righteous indignation and accept them formally into this, the Promised Land. Until then, they remain among you, their lives suspended precariously between a worldly heaven and hell, in a state of Hispurgatory.” (22)

“I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.” (23)

A voice booms through the chamber: “The same law applies to the native-born and to the alien living among you!"(24) “Administer true justice; show mercy and compassion to one another. Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the alien or the poor.” (25)

Jesus: “Thank You Father.”

Concluding Testimony:

Chairman Specter: Could You succinctly summarize your testimony for us today?
Jesus: “Of course. I’ll be glad to. The words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. uttered some 40 years ago are particularly appropriate for your nation in 2006: “There is a certain bitter irony in the picture of this country championing freedom in foreign lands and failing to ensure that freedom to twenty million of its own.” It is time to confront the truth that current misguided patriotic fervor has infected your discussion of U.S. immigration policy reform to the detriment of this nation’s soul, and your future. The character of the future of this nation is being formed today. It’s time to make amends. It’s time to take the first step in the right direction. Come on Congress! Craft legislation that provides an immediate path to citizenship for the millions of My children, your brothers and sisters.

You hold the hose of hope in your own hands. My prayer is that you will take your foot off the hose and water the parched soul of this nation. You must trust that God shall create a bountiful harvest, which will contribute to the nourishment of the soul of this country for generations to come.” (27)

The Senators look up from frantically jotting notes.

Chairman Specter speaks in astonishment: “He’s gone!”

Senator Feinstein: “I’m not so sure about that.”

Senator Biden: Wow! Do we have our work cut out for us now or what! Somebody call Bill Frist and tell him it’s not going to be as easy as building a border fence and designing a guest worker permit program. It is clear from the testimony we heard this evening that “Being a Christian isn’t just believing in God and being good. It involves a commitment to change the world. Christians are expected to be part of a movement that will make the world that is, into the world that ought to be.”(28) Let’s get on with it shall we?

Contemplation:

Do we trust Him America?

It’s about us America, not them.

“The world is watching us. They are watching and wondering whether we will be different.” (29)

“We are not to ignore the homeless, the helpless, the disenfranchised. Entrepreneurial faith is not given so we personally can have more, but so that we can give more to others.” (30)

The choice is ours. The consequences are eternal.

+ Click here to urge your senators to promote compassionate immigration reform
Author’s Note: The quotations used in this article do not represent the opinions of the respective authors cited on U.S. immigration policy reform. They are used solely by this author to make a pertinent point raised in the subject matter addressed herein and may be deemed as used out of context. There is no more difficult task that those faced everyday by our nations elected officials. I pray for them daily and remain non-partisan. I admire the dedication and sacrifice of these public servants. This admiration includes the members of the Senate Judiciary Committee.The expressed purpose of this fictional account of testimiony before the Senate Judiciary Committe was crafted to put a voice on the interaction that Christ might have on the issues raised herein. I do not speak for God. However, creative writing of this nature is solely intended to cause a us all to pause, imagine and contemplate the issues that arise in the arena of Christian faith and national, public policy. I can assure you that I beg your forgiveness if I have insulted any reader, in any way. Please forgive me.

About the Author:

Bill is a freelance writer. Bill and his wife worked for several years with Hispanic young adults ages 14-22. This particular neighborhood in Santa Ana, CA that is considered to be one of the most densely populated areas in the United States. The area is well known for its high crime rate, gang activity, drug activity, violence and devastating poverty. Their work focuses on enhancing the lives of children, teens, young adults and their families residing in this area by working together to make their dreams and hopes a reality.

Bill is published in numerous professional publications, magazines, websites, newspapers and newsletters. He is the author of several manuscripts, presently under consideration for publication. Bill earned a Bachelors and Masters degree at Washington State University.

You can enjoy Bill’s writing on his website(s) at http://billdahl.net/ and http://www.theporpoisedivinglife.com/. For reprint permission, Contact Bill at wsdahl@bendbroadband.com.

Bibliography - NOTES
1. Matthew 3:17
2. Matthew 5:5
3. Miller, Donald, J. Searching For God Knows What, Thomas Nelson Publishing, Nashville, TN Copyright 2004 by Donald Miller, p. 156.
4. Miller, Donald, J. Searching For God Knows What, Thomas Nelson Publishing, Nashville, TN Copyright 2004 by Donald Miller, p.190
5. Miller, Donald, J. Blue Like Jazz – Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, Thomas Nelson Publishing, Nashville, TN Copyright 2003 by Donald Miller, p.53.
6. Miller, Donald, J. Blue Like Jazz – Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality, Thomas Nelson Publishing, Nashville, TN Copyright 2004 by Donald Miller, p.110.
7. Henderson, Jim a.k.a. “LOST” – Discovering Ways To Connect With The People Jesus Misses Most. Waterbrook Press, Colorado Springs, CO Copyright 2005 by James K. Henderson P. 31.
8. Glassner, Barry The Culture of Fear-Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things, Basisc Books – A Member of the Perseus Group, Copyright 1999 by Barry Glassner, p. Xiii.
9. Mark 6:50
10. Matthew 6:19-21
11. Kraybill, Donald B. The Upside Down Kingdom, Herald Press Copyright 1978 and 1990 by Herald Press, p. 110.
12. Peterson, Peter G. Running on Empty – How the Democratic and Republican Parties Are Bankrupting Our Future and What Americans Can Do About It, Farrar, Straus And Giroux, New York, NY Copyright 2004 by Peter G. Peterson p. 232
13. Luke 12:1-3
14. John 8:7
15. Kraybill, Donald B. The Upside Down Kingdom, Herald Press Copyright 1978 and 1990 by Herald Press, p. 104.
16. Handy, Charles The Age of Paradox Harvard Business School Press © 1994 p. 221
17. Psalm 32:2 – NIV
18. Dahl, Bill Count Me In – Why The Math Matters, 2005 http://billdahl.net/articlesRead.php?id=13
19. Merton, Thomas. Seeds, SHAMBHALA, Boston © Copyright 2002 by Robert Inchauti p. 111.
20. Dahl, Bill Victimmigration, 2005 http://billdahl.net/articlesRead.php?id=51
21. Matthew 19:14
22. Dahl, Bill Hispurgatory,, 2005 http://billdahl.net/articlesRead.php?id=27
23. Matthew 25:45
24. Exodus 12:49
25. Zechariah 7: 9
26. Hoskins, Loette I Have a Dream – The Quotations of Martin Luther King, Jr. Gossett & Dunlap Publishers, Copyright © 1968 by Droke House Publishers, Inc. p.3
27. Dahl, Bill MexGen – Profiling the Paradox – 2005 http://billdahl.net/articlesRead.php?id=33
28. Campolo, Tony. You Can Make a Difference-High Voltage Living in a Burned Out World, W Publishing Group Nashville, TN Ó Copyright 1984 by Anthony Campolo p. VIII
29. Burchett, Dave. When Bad Christians Happen to Good People, WaterBooks Press Colorado Springs, CO Ó Copyright 2002 by Dave Burchett p. 84.
30.Caldwell, Kirbyjon & Kallenstadt, Walt with Sorensen, Paul Entrepreneurial Faith – Launching Bold Initiatives to Expand God’s Kingdom, WaterBrook Press, A Division of Random House, Inc. Ó Copyright 2004 by Kirbyjon Caldwell, & Walt Kallenstadt, with Paul Sorensen, p. 20.

1 Comments:

Blogger Bill said...

Glad you enjoyed it Keith. From your bio, it looks like we have much in common.

Bless you,

Bill Dahl
http://ThePorpoiseDivingLife.com

8:33 PM  

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