Daniel Rodriguez, the associate professor of religion and Hispanic studies at Pepperdine University and the author of A Future for the Latino Church, discussed the Latino church on the radio show Connecting Faith with Neil Stavum. You can access the mp3 here. It about fifty-one minutes long and it’s well worth your time.
One of the most simple, obvious, and necessary things Rodriguez said is that when a Latino family visits your church assume they are native born. The political debate regarding immigration has led to much discrimination against Latinos, even those born in this country. It is insulting for a U.S. born Latino to be asked from what part of Mexico did they come or other statements that assume outright that Latinos are foreigners.
Another thing he said that was important is that Christians in the United States must think of themselves as Christians first and foremost. This demands love of neighbor. Whether or not you have more conservative or more liberal views of “border control” one thing that is undeniable for Christians is that we are to follow the example of the Good Samaritan and care for our neighbor no matter their race, ethnicity, culture, or nationality. M. Daniel Carroll R.’s book Christians at the Border: Immigration, the Church, and the Bible opened my eyes to this reality like no other book. I recommend it and I am sure Rodriguez’s book is fantastic although I have not read it yet.
Of course, there has been no one that has opened my eyes to the need of the church and our nation to honor the place of Latinos like my wife. She has provided me more of an education on this matter than a thousand books. I thank her for her sensitivity to matters of race and socio-economics in our country. Without her insights I’d be ignorant of the needs of many of my neighbors.