I love the South.
I really do.
I was born there.
I was raised there.
I hope to die there.
I've lived out west for almost a decade and in my deepest longings I long for the soft rolling hills of Appalachia and the curve of the Tennessee river.
I love the South.
But somedays it's really hard. Frankly, it's been hard a lot lately.
Today I am deeply saddened.
Today I am ashamed.
Today the governors of all the states that I claim as home when I'm asked "where are you from?" declared that they will not take refugees from Syria.
Georgia...North Carolina...South Carolina...Tennessee
All lands that I call home, all now refusing to bring in refugees from the war in Syria.
These lands taught me to love God above all.
These lands taught me to love my neighbor.
These lands taught me that to love my neighbor meant to stand up for my neighbor.
These lands taught me that to love my neighbor meant to give of myself to ensure that my neighbor is safe and secure.
These lands still teach this, though apparently the governments do not.
It is time to remember that the love of God that we profess is not exclusive to those people that look like us, or believe in God the same way we do.
It is time to remember that we too were once fleeing somewhere. The vast majority of the citizens of the South got there because someone in their long line of history came there fleeing oppression, hoping for opportunity, or chained in a boat.
It is time to remember that loving God means loving all of God's creation and that this love is not limited in anyway.
I love the South. I long to roam the hills again. I hope to die there.
But before I die, I hope the governments of the South recall that they too were once strangers in a strange land and begin to walk in love as God loved us.