Stranger No More: Migration, the Bible, and the Church BIB555

Instructor: Stranger No More: Migration, the Bible, and the Church BIB555

The experiences of forced migration, being on the move, seeking refuge or asylum, displacement, and living in diaspora are a fundamental part of the human story. Throughout history and in many parts of the world, humans (individuals or communities) have crossed domestic or national boundaries seeking safety and a better life due to wars, natural disasters, and economic crises. Given the recent waves of forced migration and internal displacement, and given the intensification of xenophobia in political discourse, the church and communities of faith are confronted with vital questions about their witness in these critical times. In this course, students will study closely diverse texts from the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament that have been shaped by the realities of migration, exodus, conquest, exile, and diaspora. As they engage these texts in their historical and literary contexts, students will reflect on how these texts wrestled with welcoming the stranger and how host and migrant communities negotiated cross-cultural relations. As future faith leaders in a polarized world, students will reflect on how to discern a faithful response to the issue of migration in light of the diverse biblical perspectives on it. Students will articulate a theological perspective that takes seriously the culture of fear of the other, that nurtures empathy towards the stranger, and that leads the church and society to move beyond the politics of assimilation and segregation so that migrant and host communities can experience God’s shalom. (MDiv 1, 6; MATGA 1, 3, 4, 5; MATPS 1)