A Better Country: Embracing the Refugees in Our Midst (William Carey Library, 2017)

A Better Country is a workbook encouraging Christians in America to think theologically and respond practically to the global refugee crisis. This 7-week study can be done individually or in groups.

The beautiful painting on the cover, by Jacqueline Kramer, is titled “May angels protect you on your journey to safety.” It was inspired by the Syrian refugee crisis.

From the introduction of A Better Country:

On average, 24 persons were forced to flee their homes every minute of 2015. That’s more than 34,000 people every day, or 12.4 million newly displaced people in 2015 alone—or as many people as live in Illinois—joining the tens of millions like them who have left behind home, livelihood, and life as they knew it. As of this writing, there are an estimated 65.3 million forcibly displaced persons in the world, 21.3 million of whom have left their countries of origin and are classified as “refugees.” These numbers are staggering.

For decades the United States has resettled refugees. Refugees live in every state in the U.S., from major metroplexes to small towns. Some people welcome this, but some do not. Americans have long been conflicted over how to view refugees, how to vet them, how to integrate them into society…whether they belong here at all. And American Christians find themselves politically and ethically divided on this controversial and often volatile subject.

The Bible commands charity and hospitality to strangers and sojourners, and care for the distraught and downtrodden, people like refugees. Hence people who follow Jesus and take his Word seriously have a special mandate to address the needs of refugees. But the complexities of the refugee system and concerns over national security often overshadow the call to justice and mercy. In fact some Christians are calling for our country to close our doors to immigrants and refugees.

Regardless of where one stands on immigration reform, Americans must acknowledge that they have a role to play in the solution to the refugee crisis, the primary humanitarian issue of our day. We cannot and must not isolate ourselves from this global phenomenon. As the debate on immigration intensifies, how will Christians respond to this growing population from every tribe and tongue? How can we do a better job embracing newcomers? What can we do better at loving mercy and doing justice with regard to refugees? How can we be a better country for refugees?

Cover art painting used by permission, Jacqueline Kramer (http://jacquelinekramer.work). Cover design by Joanne Leung.