My daughter and son-in-law be came Canadian citizens recently. They have lived in Canada for many years; but that, to me, wasn't the same as citizenship. I joshed with them, saying they were repudiating their parental heritage. They sensed it wasn't all a joke; and my daughter, being a theologian's daughter, gave me an elaborate biblical justification for their break with their family heritage.

For years they had dwelled in a community, she said, participating in its life, accepting leadership in a local church, but they could not vote. They could not assume social or political leadership among the people they had chosen. They were living in an alien land without taking a share of responsibility for the good of that land. They wanted to do what they could to protect that land and to work for the good of the people among whom they lived.

After all, my daughter continued, three of their four grandfathers had done the same. And from the Bible we learn that part of being a good Christian is being a good citizen. "Thy statutes are my song wherever I lodge," cried the psalmist (119:54). And Jeremiah the prophet brought the Word of the Lord to his people who were dwelling in a strange land: "Build houses and settle down, plant gardens,. … seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it. … For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

What could I say? In what relevant way did their situation differ from that of the ancient Israelites that would suggest this passage does not apply to my daughter and her husband?

Native son This experience raised for me the question of what is appropriate ...

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