In addition to talking to churches in Colombia about their outreach to migrants for our October issue, global staff writer Sophia Lee visited El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, to learn how one man wants to teach Americans the history of their southern border for our November cover story, “The Crossing.”

Readers resonated with the topic and the location. Several people reflected on their time in El Paso spent learning about its unique culture and beauty. T. D. Proffitt of Santa Ana, California, offered further reading suggestions (The Mexican Border Cities by Daniel D. Arreola and James R. Curtis, and his own Tijuana: The History of a Mexican Metropolis).

People were also still talking about Lee’s Colombia story, “The Landless.” Aaron Lincoln of Gloucester, England, said he likes to read CT stories like this one with an online map at hand to make “an otherwise distant place or foreign people instantly more local.” And Cheryl Berto of Delta, British Columbia, declared, “If the blessing of God is a life of ease and prosperity, then we have missed the plot. This article is an excellent help for us in getting back on track with what kingdom living means.”

Alexandra Mellen
Conversations editor

Trump-Era Controversies Had a Measurable Effect on Church Attendance

Not surprising given that in a lot of American churches, Dems weren’t made to feel welcome after Trump’s election.

@johnegibson (X/Twitter)

You may want to look up the definition of “correlation is not causation” before asserting something like this. Blaming Trump is easy. The church looking at itself as the source of millennial decline is probably harder.

@ClaytonArnall (X/Twitter)

The Black Church Models a Different Conversation About ‘Gender Roles’

I was really excited to hear more about what is being modeled differently, but this article was nothing about that. It was all about complementarian versus egalitarian without the terms.

@nad_mills (Instagram)

Thank you @ct_mag for continually highlighting the whole Body. More, please!

@drnaimalett (Instagram)

Our Divided Age Needs More Talk of Enemies

I believe we need far greater clarity on what it means to be a Christian—what it means to be in covenant with God through Jesus Christ, driven by a worshiping heart to a relationship of believing loyalty and intimate communication. Then we will see clearly what the counterfeit is.

Doug Michalak (Facebook)

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Blessed Are the Thrifty?

Susan Mettes’s article arrived two days before my scheduled financial review. I read it twice, underlining points that reflected my beliefs about the gospel’s truths regarding wealth and reconsidering beliefs I have held for decades. While I too have no one-fits-all answers, Mettes clarified so many points regarding generosity, thrift, and simple living. When I go for my appointment, I will be prepared with a clearer head considering the spiritual meaning of these financial issues and decisions needed.

Lloyd Kaufman,
Des Moines, IA

I Stumbled in the Steps of the Good Samaritan

When you serve those in need, you don’t become Christ to them; they become Christ to you.

Ben Kucenski (Facebook)

Jesus did not call the Samaritan “good.” In fact the word good is not used in the parable, which is about what it means to be a neighbor.

@gdavidritchie (X/Twitter)

There was no “good Samaritan” in Jesus’ day—at least not to his hearers. To that crowd, the only “good” Samaritan was a dead Samaritan. The point of the story is not that he did the right thing, but that the wrong person did the right thing. In our Western evangelical culture, when we are good, we see ourselves as the good Samaritan, and this blinds us to the goodness of God in “the other.”

Bob Gadd
Maple Ridge, British Columbia

Behind the Scenes

While I was working on “The Crossing,” some American Christians told me about their disappointment with their fellow citizens’ attitude toward migrants. People in other countries seem more welcoming, they said.

A couple weeks later, I flew to Colombia. In Medellín, I met an Uber driver who asked what a Korean American woman was doing alone in Colombia. I told him I was reporting on the migration crisis, and his face soured. “These migrants,” he complained, “are uncivilized. They’ve come to contaminate our beautiful city.” When I later told him I grew up with Chinese people, his expression twisted again.

The instinct to fear and distrust the stranger is human nature, in El Paso or Medellín. This complicates the work of peacemaking at the US-Mexico border and the ministry of a church at the Venezuela-Colombia border. Yet in these places I also witnessed the purest form of human nature—the image of God.

I too tend to get cynical about people—that seems to come with being a journalist. But my work at CT has been healing my cynicism as I report on God’s people doing kingdom work—shining the glory of what’s both here and yet to come.

Sophia Lee
global staff writer

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