Words of Shane Claiborne

March 24, 2010

“While Congress is paralyzed in debates over immigration and border issues we will continue to celebrate communion across the fences and walls and gates and artificial borders of nations. We will not wait for Congress to tell us how to treat immigrants. We already have a Bible that tells us how, and a Savior who shows us.” -Shane Claiborne, Jesus For President

Ecumenical Advocacy Days

March 23, 2010

This past weekend I participated with LIRS in Ecumenical Advocacy Days (EAD), a weekend long conference where people of faith gather around a specific topic.

This year’s topic? Migration.

Appropriately so, the weekend included participation in a rally for Comprehensive Immigration Reform. On Sunday afternoon over 200,000 people filled the Capitol Mall, coming together and advocating for the issue of fair and humane immigration for ALL.

In the end, a very cool weekend. LIRS was a big presence at EAD, hosting two different discussion panels and providing opportunities for conference goers to engage with stories of refugees.

Throughout the weekend I got a chance to meet a lot of very passionate young people. I really enjoyed meeting other recent college grads and sharing our experiences of learning and growing that we have encountered this first year out of school.

Below are some photos from the weekend. I will narrate as you scroll through them!


Photo #1: William, Checago, and Shahriar sit while fourth panelist, Guy, tells his story.

Photo #2: LIRS Director for Outreach, Tara Mulder, moderates question and answer time with panelists.

Photo #3: LIRS panelist, Guy, shares his story.

Photo #4: LIRS ambassador and advocate, The Rev. Linda Theophilus.

Photo #5: “Stop Deportation Now” sign held up by a child at the rally for Comprehensive Immigration Reform.

Photo #6: View of the Capitol Building from the middle of a crowd.

Photo #7: Marching with banners.

Photo #8: “I was a stranger and you welcomed me” Matthew 25:35

Check out my house’s blog!

This post came as a comment off of Pastor David Vasquez’s blog: Faith On the Move. Graciously enough, the author of this entry, LIRS Social Worker Vicki Kline agreed to a guest entry on my blog! Incredible and powerful story. See below.

“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. I tell you the truth, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” ~ John 13: 12-


I once washed the feet of a young man named Juan. We met as his concerned migrant companions led me to him, sleeping in a shaded patch of dirt under a trailer at a Nogales, Mexico aid station. Humble and shy, Juan and I worked together to gently peel away the socks he had worn inside ragged shoes during his 3-day journey North from Oaxaca. He graciously allowed me to nurse blisters and put salve on his tired, wounded feet.

The oldest of several children, Juan had heard that he could pick oranges somewhere in the U.S. and earn enough to support his siblings and aging parents. Juan was 3,000 miles from home and it seemed to him an eternity until he would arrive. He had been caught and detained in the desert; with his foot in my trembling hand, it seemed as though he were lost between two worlds.

In the years before and after my encounter with Juan, my own feet have been washed by the wanderers who have offered me hospitality of body and spirit. In the homes of migrant workers in Missouri apple orchards, gratitude overflows in the form of heaping bushels of apples, or the welcome of birthday parties and community celebrations. Now, as I work with the families of children who have been detained by immigration authorities and placed in federal custody, people wash my feet with the willingness to open their lives, and to share their stories.

It is as tender an exchange to kneel in front of a stranger, water and cloth in hand, as it is to submit one’s heart to another and humbly listen to the stories. The blisters and ragged shoes are the tales of children fleeing from abuse, or from gangs and violence in communities that fail to protect them. And there is the fragile hope of children who long to reunite with their parents, many of whom they have never known. To submit oneself to these stories is to be willing to travel alongside, experience an often perilous journey as it unfolds.

I think of Juan often and wonder what has become of him. He may not remember the stranger kneeling in dirt somewhere in the middle of his journey. But as the same salve placed on his painful blisters is that placed on the wounds of my heart, I know that by this encounter, I am forever changed.


Vicki works in family reunification with Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service.

Lenten Meditation

March 2, 2010

A few days ago at a departmental retreat we both began and ended our time together with a meditation on the season of Lent. I wanted to share a copy with you all. I loved it, and later that evening went home and participated in a community night where lead my housemates in a similar meditation.

Lent: A Season of Fasting and Feasting

Lent should be more than a time of FASTING.  It should also be a joyful season of FEASTING.  Lent is a time to fast from certain things and to feast on others.  It is a season in which we should:

FAST from judging others; FEAST on the Christ indwelling them.

FAST from emphasis on differences; FEAST on the unity of all life.

FAST from apparent darkness; FEAST on the reality of light.

FAST from thoughts of illness; FEAST on the healing power of God.


FAST from words that pollute; FEAST on phrases that purify.

FAST from discontent; FEAST on gratitude.

FAST from anger; FEAST on patience.

FAST from pessimism; FEAST on optimism.


FAST from worry; FEAST on divine order.

FAST from complaining; FEAST on appreciation.

FAST from negatives; FEAST on affirmatives.

FAST from unrelenting pressures; FEAST on unceasing prayer.


FAST from hostility; FEAST on non-resistance.

FAST from bitterness; FEAST on forgiveness.

FAST from self-concern; FEAST on compassion for others.

FAST from personal anxiety; FEAST on eternal truth.


FAST from discouragement; FEAST on hope.

FAST from facts that depress; FEAST on verities that uplift.

FAST from lethargy; FEAST on enthusiasm.

FAST from suspicion; FEAST on truth.


FAST from thoughts that weaken; FEAST on promises that inspire.

FAST from shadows of sorrow; FEAST on the sunlight of serenity.

FAST from idle gossip; FEAST on purposeful silence.

FAST from problems that overwhelm; FEAST on prayer that undergirds.