*This is a conversation that took place on July 27, 2015 between Kristin Kelly, Christian Parks and I on our journey to an immersion experience on the US/Mexico border focused on queer theology.
J: Who is God at the juxtaposition of our borders?
K: God is borderless. God is the immigrant coming to find new possibilities. God is embodied in the struggle of the journey. God dies with those who don’t make it. God never denies wellness, opportunity and hope. How is an immigrant supposed to view God in the midst of consistent denial of access to our religious bodies?
C: Those who place their bodies on the line for freedom find God in more abundant ways. Those who create boundaries to the love of God forget God’s abundant grace. There is much to be learned from the God of immigrants. What does Jesus teach us about immigrants?
J: I think the better question is what does Jesus not teach us. Sometimes I feel like the teachings of Jesus are used to glorify the suffering of the immigrant at the expense of the liberation of the immigrant. Our collective salvation depends on our willingness to cross borders and struggle together. Why do we feel we need maintain borders?
C: Our fear of the other consumes us. We are afraid of losing our comforts and our normality. Each border is a manifestation of our ideas of preservation. Why do you think we maintain our borders?
K: Borders allows us to maintain the space of normality and comfort. They also keep us separated from the other and allow us to dodge the complexities of difference. Our borders uphold our constructed statuses of power, politics and religion. Ultimately, we fear losing control. What’s the role of the church in our current immigration crisis?
J: We have got to get rid of all this patriotic bullshit. When I walk into a church and see a US flag, I see that congregation lifting their arm slowly, extending their middle finger and saying “fuck you” to the borderless God. If our churches cannot be a sanctuary for all of God’s children…then our churches have nothing to do with Jesus. What is the connection between our national borders and our racial borders?
K: Both borders are invisible structures of power created by fear and deeply embedded notions of supremacy. We need to talk about both borders separately and collectively as they create a system that honors some lives over others. The connection is the lost of lives. Should there be borders?
C: If we believe in a God beyond our imagination, borders should never exist. If we believe in a God of love, then all should have access to opportunity, resources and hope. Borders hinder our ability to love others and ourselves.
J: Now, if we can only get people to realize that you can’t follow Jesus from behind the borders of our constructed closets.