Rodney S. Scott and Jamie Gates are unlikely friends: Scott serves as Chief Patrol Agent of the El Centro Sector Border Patrol on the California-Mexico Border, while Gates teaches sociology and directs the Center for Justice & Reconciliation at Point Loma Nazarene University. One feels called by God to protect and serve his country through enforcing immigration laws; the other feels called to pursue justice through immigration reform—which sometimes involves protesting those very same laws.
For some, such disagreements might seem insurmountable. As Christians, however, Scott and Gates see their ideological differences as opportunities to seek reconciliation and display their unity as brothers in Christ.
On this week’s episode of The Calling, in partnership with InterVarsity Press, the authors of Mending the Divides: Creative Love in a Conflicted World, and their peacemaking training organization, The Global Immersion Project, Scott and Gates sit down to chat about their disparate callings, their improbable friendship, and how choosing conversation over confrontation has enabled them to better serve both their communities and their God.
Scott on overcoming his differences with Gates: “There’s always middle ground. We don’t agree on everything, but we have the same foundational guidance. We have the same ultimate goal. We have the same Christian beliefs. We just have different methods to get there.”
Gates on systemic sin: “Evangelicals like to think about the personal choices we make, but we don’t think about the structural sins that we’re caught up in and a part of.”
Scott on patriotism and citizenship: “Because I was born and raised in the Midwest, the United States flag and the Christian flag were very much the same thing. It’s part of me. It’s woven into me. But I had to look at that and go, ‘I’m not just automatically aligned with the American flag. I have my Christian values first and foremost as well.’”
Gates on why peacemaking matters: “A number one calling of a Christian body, of a Christian gathering, an ecclesia, is to figure out how to be reconciled to one another as a witness to the reconciling power of Christ in the world. If we can’t figure this out, the Church, the Body of Christ, has few legs to stand on in preaching and teaching that we are called to be ambassadors of reconciliation.”
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The Calling is produced by Richard Clark and Jonathan Clauson.
Theme music by Lee Rosevere, used under Creative Commons 4.0.