Lynne Hybels

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Bill's Introductory Comments for President Obama’s Speech on Immigration Reform

A recurring triad in the Christian scriptures is the mandate from God to show appropriate concern for widows, orphans and aliens. In recent years the challenge of caring for the "stranger within our gates" has escalated to new levels of confusion and frustration because our current immigration laws leave millions of people with no practical way to come out of the darkness.
 
Our current immigration laws also leave our border states and cities in a condition of chaos and uncertainty. 

Many families in our country live with the overwhelming weight of fear every single day. They wonder if they will be deported and separated from their families, perhaps forever. I believe they must be shown a way to enter the mainstream of American life so that they can become fully contributing members of our society.


Our church started a Spanish-speaking ministry several years ago. It has flourished and became one of the defining ministries at Willow Creek. The joy that our Latin American congregants have infused into our congregation is palpable. However, when we learned that many were undocumented, we began to ask why. Again and again we heard stories about the economic hopelessness that first drew them to this great country and we heard about their current daily dilemma living in an almost surreal state of limbo.

But today is a day of hope. Today an earnest bi-partisan conversation begins that those of us in the Faith Community have been praying about for many years. We urge the members of Congress to consider all parties who are affected by this escalating issue. We ask you to act with a spirit of urgency and unity to chart a tough but fair path for the millions of people who entered our great nation with the same kind of dream my grandparents did a century ago.

Mr. President we thank you for your courageous leadership in this challenging initiative. We want you to know we hold you in our prayers. 
 
And now it is my privilege to introduce to you the 44th President of the United States…Barack Obama. 


--Bill Hybels

14 comments:

  1. Thank you for posting the full text of your husband's comments.

    I've written a blog post about the introduction of the president and different people's reaction to it:

    http://blogs.pioneerlocal.com/religion/2010/07/bill_and_baracks_immigration_a.html

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  2. As a 20 year Willow veteran, I strongly oppose Willow now deciding to get into politics.

    If Willow wants to get involved with politics, how about a bunch of messages pointing out how the current administration is anti-Christian, pro-Islam, anti-Israel, moving away from the Constitution and the Christian Judeo values is is based on, anti-Capitalism, bankrupting our kids' futures with debt, supporting abortion and euthanasia, and homosexuality.


    There is a lot of material there and many evangelicals are very much against what this administration and congress are doing.

    Now Willow steps in and supports something from them without voicing an opinion on any of the other things!

    Why all the silence and now this issue?

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  3. I agree with Paul.
    I have been attending Willow for about 5 years. I and family have been very happy with Willow but question all the politics lately, even though the prayer req by Obama was non descript. If I had been asked to appear with Obama I would have said no politely. I just don't agree with his agenda/voting/appointees (example: BO Appointed "Kevin Jennings the safe school czar"- "Fistgate"-be prepared it's disgusting), abortion record on voting, agenda that I don't agree with and see a sick side to it. I would have declined. I also would not have any links to the very political Jim Wallis, who has a slick side to him in many aspects. I really feel ill about it, and have not been able to attend church lately and I feel so torn. This is really a heartbreaker for me, as my convictions in right and wrong are so strong about this. The liberal gvt has no need for the church, so why do they need it now? Votes? Paul and I can not be the only ones.

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    1. I have attended Willow for 14 years and have become more and more disillusioned with the church. At first the messages were uplifting and I so enjoyed them. But the more I read the Bible and studied it, I found the messages to be "limp". I sent an email to the church 3-4 years ago asking why the sanctity of life was taught more from the stage. I got this email back telling that "yes this is very important" and would pass on my suggestion to the leadership team. Since 1975, they have only had a handful of messages regarding this issue. The last one was from Gene Appel. I find this appalling. I also am disappointed with Bill's liberal comments from the stage. There is no place for politics from the pulpit (if we had one). His support of Obama is disturbing.

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    2. Anonymous, I thought I was the only one who is deeply disturbed by the political influence at Willow. I've been attending for 14 years and have not been attending much lately because of this issue. I, too, wonder why the silence on abortion and yet the influence of liberal politics on the church is apparent. I support the role of the church helping those in need, but isn't our first focus on bringing the good news of Christ?

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  4. I'm so thankful to be a part of Willow Creek - a church with a great heart of compassion and generosity, and a yearning for reaching out to people far from God to become "fully devoted followers" of Christ. I'm very proud of Bill and Lynne for not being afraid to speak out and do not think that this is primarily a political, or necessarily a pro-Obama type of phenomenon. We are all struggling to find a balanced, fair, and compassionate path, seeking to follow what Jesus would have us do. It is a complex issue, and Christians need to contribute positive, Godly, influence in these discussions. I believe Lynne and Bill are closely listening to God, and are obedient to His directions even in this matter. May God keep you strong and resolute in the face of many criticisms, may He keep your vision clear, and continually bestow you with supernatural Wisdom from above as you Seek Justice, Love Mercy, and Walk Humbly with God. [Sorry, I'm not an eloquent person, and try to avoid 'complications' but these are my 2 cents!]

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  5. I know there are people out there who will oppose this but I am so encouraged that Willow is addressing the issue of immigration reform. As a lifetime Christian I am so glad to see a church that cares about all people. We should love and care for everyone no matter where they come from or who they are. God created the earth not us so what claim do we have on it more than others. God loves us all the same. No more, no less. I feel that even if we oppose people coming here illegally we should still treat them as He would with love. This is not a political issue to me. It's an issue I think Christians must be a part of. How can we not care about our neighbor who we should love as ourselves?
    I love this quote from believers.org-
    "God loves your neighbor enough to die for them. You are God's ambassador, representing God to your neighbor, for the purpose of demonstrating His love.

    What are you doing to show God's love to your neighbor? Love without actions is dead."

    They may not be our next door neighbor but they are our countries neighbor and equally a child of God.

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  6. What specific things are you against that Jim Wallis has to say? What about him is not Christian? You may not think it is right to mix politics and faith but I have met many Christians who do. Many who think there is only one way to vote, and only one party to support. As a Christian I base everything on God first. If you think this is against what one party thinks, and that is why you disagree than that is not right. There is no Christian party. That would be bringing politics into faith. Just because Jim Wallis has some different ideas from you does not mean he is wrong. He is a Christian who truly loves God and people and wants to work for social justice. I don't know what could be wrong with that. If he seeks God and truly believes he is doing his will how can we know his is wrong? Even if we are against some things we must understand non Christians don't believe what we do and cannot understand why we are so opposed to some things. We can be against something but still show compassion and love. We are a reflection of God and God is love so we must show love to everyone.

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  7. Many professionals in USA must exit USA if their visa is expired. No grace. But why the illegals are protected??
    I know many of illegals are good & kind, but many good pepole in other countries can not come to US because they do not have visa.
    Should the church promoting legalization of the illegals? I think NOT.

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  8. I am grateful to faith leaders like Bill Hybels, who has joined his voice to the chorus of leaders from Christian communities (especially Evangelicals and Catholics), Jewish synagogues, and other faith communities calling for comprehensive immigration reform.

    Our nation was built on immigrants, and many of our neighbors and friends are immigrants---some of them undocumented, whether you know it your not---and although they don't currently have the papers, positions, or respect that they need, our country has placed innumerable burdens upon them. The time has come to truly welcome the stranger among us---who is, in fact, not so much a stranger after all but a friend, a co-worker, a neighbor.

    After we get this system fixed we can let the border be sealed up for all I care---after all, we are not denying our country's duty to manage its borders---but we cannot turn our backs on the people who are already here with us. They are human beings, not illegal humans. But if we do seal up the border, somehow, we should begin the earnest task of addressing the economic and political messes we have also helped to create _south_ of that border, through NAFTA and drug-demand (coming north), plus weapons sales (going south), and other related ills.

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  9. thought provoking...making a difference and being the change....amazing. :)

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  10. Thank you Lynne. I am so proud to attend Willow. Having grown up in an evangelical church I had despaired that I would find one that I would not have to be ashamed of telling my non-Christian friends that I attend. I agree with your comments about Jim Wallis. I was thrilled to find other progressive evangelicals with whom I could identify - Wallis, McLaren, Campolo, etc. It has kept me involved in the church. Keep up the good work.

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  11. Be very weary of Jim Wallis and his Magazine Sojourners. These following facts have yet to be disputed:

    1.Sojourners is an Anti-Capitalist magazine. (Bible tells us to work hard and make a profit)
    2.During the Vietnam War Wallis sided with the communists and stated, "these boat people" fled “to support their consumer habit in other lands.” Simply put, he said greedy capitalist were why they fled. How compassionate of you Wallis.
    3.In the 80's he supported the FMLN, a communist terror group from El Salvador attempting to spread Marxist revolution.
    4.His support of the Sandinista Communists attempt to take over Nicaragua. He worked side by side with Rev. Wright
    5.He has been arrested 22 times for Civil Disobedience.
    6.Sojourners Magazine in the 80's had 53 political positions on things from Israel,Socialism,Capitalism,etc. All 53 positions were in line with the Hard-Line Soviet Communist Gov't. Source:Accuracy in Media
    7.Marxists, by Sojourners’ own definition, cannot violate human rights. Only the US and the West can do this.
    8.Sojourners promotes the New Age Globalist Earth Charter, an initiative which seeks to replace the Ten Commandments and to neutralize the Catholic Church.

    Please be weary of those claiming to be about God. The bible tells us and even demands it.

    Lynne Hybels is a good person doing good things, however, she is also a contributing writer to this magazine. Please be weary Mrs. Hybels.

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    1. Steve,

      Thank you for pointing out these issues regarding Jim Wallis and the Sojourners.

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