Long Gone From Home

Long Gone From Home

from Shane's Muslim Connect

One of the lasting joys of my life is that I was taught how to read. It didn’t necessarily have to have happened. And further, I was taught to enjoy books and live now in a day and age in which books are readily available. What a gift. 

I read something this past week that touched my heart and imagination and would like to share it with you:

Diaspora means scattering and fragmentation, exile and loss. It means being displaced and in search of a place that could be made home. For Israel it means life among the Gentiles. Danger and threat surround diaspora life. Diaspora life is life crowded with self-questioning and questions for God concerning the anger, hatred, and violence visited upon a people.

We must never confuse voluntary migration with diaspora, because diaspora is a geographic and social world not chosen and a psychic state inescapable. The peoples who inhabit diaspora live with animus and violence filling the air they breathe. They live always on the verge of being classified enemy, always in evaluation of their productivity to the empire, always having an acceptance on loan, ready to be taken away at the first sign of sedition. They live with fear as an ever present partner in their lives, the fear of being turned into a them, a dangerous other, those people among us.

They also remember loss— of land and place, of life and hope, and even for some of faith. Yet diaspora is also power, the power of a conviction to survive and the power of a confession to never yield to the forces that would destroy them.*

Not every Muslim you meet is part of the diaspora, but many are. And a healthy measure of those probably live in some or all of the reality mentioned above. Jesus is there with them. At the right time, may he use us to extend empathy, welcome and life. 

*Acts: A Theological Commentary on the Bible, by Willie James Jennings

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