Why Canada Should Welcome Every Refugee

She walked into Tim Hortons, just after I ordered my coffee; I stood off to the side, waiting for it. With nothing better to do, I entertained myself with people watching, discreetly of course, and she inevitably caught my eye. She looked like she came from ‘that’ part of the world; Middle-East, somewhere. I noted she didn’t quite look the girl taking her order in the eye, quickly glancing down as she dug in her purse. Then up again, but not quite in the eye. She looked shy; nervously uncomfortable. We got our drinks at the same time, and she was now a few steps ahead of me, and seated herself at a lonely little table, tucked in beside a wall. I had a booth not far away. Her eyes, I noted, looked sad or ‘down’. And then I caught myself wondering, What would it feel like to be that woman, to be anyone from the Middle East right now, in a restaurant full of Caucasians… or to look like maybe I was ‘one of them’, regardless of my birth place? And I concluded it must be unsettling, even frightening or shameful; shame for ‘my people’ and atrocities committed by them. My heart was stirred with compassion, and I wished for a moment I could ask to sit with her, but I had a client coming in minutes, and besides, it would be beyond awkward for both of us….


The title of this blog works much better as a question than as a statement. Why should Canada welcome every refugee? Why should we? Why should USA, for that matter? Or any other country? The truth is, no one should. Because national security is a matter not to be taken lightly, by leaders of a country. And our leaders should think it through carefully, before making decisions.

Emotion-driven ‘help’ and hype-driven ‘compassion’ isn’t compassion. It’s guilt. And it’s not about the refugees. It’s about us. If a moment of emotional response, at seeing a toddler washed up on shore, is the sole driving force for me–as an individual or leader– to say, “Bring them in by the masses!” Then we are utterly selfish, not to mention entirely foolish. Because we are merely trying to assuage our guilt by an act of kindness toward someone who doesn’t have the luxury of peace we have.

And guilt-drive act of kindness that could well have been custom designed to captivate Western Society, according to some. And it’s true, we don’t really know the real story behind that drowning. Children drown in Canada, USA, and around the world, and it is always possible that such a thing could be used for manipulation, to gain access, or to draw compassion. We may never know that. But regardless of the details, a child drowning is tragic and yanks at every parent’s heartstrings, every aunt, every uncle, every grandparent, and pretty much any compassionate human being. And it should stir us. It better.

And even if, worst case scenario, it was a manipulative act and a set up to draw compassion from Western culture–as numerous individuals have surmised, wondered and suggested, and a question that wondered through my own mind that very first news broadcast–it doesn’t make the crisis any less real. And it doesn’t make the need any less legitimate. Syrians are suffering and displaced, and they do need help. But the ‘how’ and the ‘why’ and logistics of it are not matters for impulsive action, from the perspective of a country. World leaders will need to exercise great wisdom in making the right call. And only the future will declare which avenue was the ‘right’ one, for good outcomes. Whether Putin’s locked and guarded gates, or Canada’s open door, or any leader in between, only time will tell.

I’ve read opinions pieces by both secular and Christian writers, declaring colliding views with confidence, certain of one move or another. I would suggest that certainty of anything, in a time like this, is as reliable as blowing smoke rings. They are most certainly there, until they are not. And then you have to make new ones. Just like bubbles. Blow them, and they exist, until they don’t. Likewise with the ‘right moves’ in this… until they are not.

Not one of us can be certain of the outcome of this thing. And our country’s leaders, like every other country’s leaders, must determine what is the best action for those under their care and protection as a nation, while extending compassion. My hope is that they don’t throw caution, common sense and discernment to the wind, and that they act in the best interest of each country while not abandoning the truly needy and destitute.

So what is the Christian response at this time? I hear some cry out that the country should close all borders–surely God would–and others that it should open them wide, even at risk to our country. Maybe it is reflective of a broader societal shirt, and broader shift in Christian thinking, maybe not, but at the very least it rings of insisting that leaders–Christian or not–are not called first to protect responsibly, those in their care. And there seems an inability for some to separate the responsibility of the state, from the responsibility of each individual Christian, and Christians collectively, to ‘Love your neighbour as yourself’, and to love sacrificially.

And when I think about how I would want to be loved, I can say with certainty I would want to be rescued from the hell some suffer. But I can say with the same certainty that I would want it done wisely so I don’t land in the same hell somewhere else. Otherwise I have gained nothing and they have lost everything. Wisdom is crucial in the ‘how’, and I pray our leaders use that wisdom and discernment in this process.

I certainly don’t see grounds for the place some Christians are taking it, to declare that Jesus meant we are to rescue every refugee across the world, and if we are not compelled to try, then we have somehow failed to love as Christians should love. That’s a popular and unreasonable judgment on social media these days, offered by some driven by emotion and the need to put everyone in their own box of what love is and should be.  We are created uniquely, each one of us, and we love differently. But we can love well, differently. Some of us love by swinging hearts and doors wide open, throwing caution to the wind, with a short sustainability, and others love in more calculated (and sometimes more responsible) ways that are sustainable longterm. We need both views for balance.

The opposite response, of hate and closing our hearts to compassion is not the solution. What I do know with certainty, is that my role as a Christian is to be like Jesus. That is not a matter in question. Whomever God brings across my path, is who is my neighbour today. and Jesus commanded us to love our neighbour, so that is the person I will love in this moment in time, while I am with them, and embrace as my neighbour.

Should that person violate my trust and put my life at risk, I will never regret having loved them. And should they prove to be a friend, and one with whose heart I connect, and whose values–if not beliefs, religion and lifestyle–at the very least offer respect, then I will also never regret having loved them. And if they meet Jesus in me, whether they ever embrace Him or not, I will never regret having loved them.

If love means requires me to ‘lay down my life’, then that is what I need to do. And if it means to jump in front of  train track to save someone, at the risk of my own life lost, I need to do it. And if it means putting boundaries in place to protect, then that is what I need to do. Any particular and strongly touted ‘belief’, when taken to it’s ultimate end, falls flat. Some who declares ‘open the borders wide’, will not be the one to open their front door and displace their own children. And yet, that belief, taken to it’s inevitable end would require just that. And some of us would. Who is the true hero, and offers the ‘best’ love is something time will tell….

And keeping in mind that even Jesus didn’t disregard danger when confronted with it. He removed Himself from those wishing to stone Him, in John 8:59, rather than choosing to stick around and prove His love. There has to be a time for common sense, even in love. The same Jesus who said, “I send you out like sheep among wolves, so be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.” We’ve got the ‘harmless’ down pat, some of us non-resistant ones, but could focus on the wise as serpents part. And some have the ‘wise’ part mastered, but wish to resort to fighting with the sword.

Love is a powerful force. It is a Kingdom of God kind of force that does not fully make sense to the human mind, yet is not intended to function without thought. And each of us must express in the moment-by-moment, as believers, in the place where we walk with God today, if we want to live in the Way of Jesus.

As for Canada, and what it should do…. until I am Prime Minister–which currently looks to be a bare minimum of 4 years away, since we just had an election–it’s not my call to make. As for personal opinion–which I’ve mostly avoided throwing out there strongly–I do have strong opinions. They are somewhat true to the tone of this article; help the Syrian refugees, but at the same time use common sense and caution in the process, which I hope and (somewhat) trust my country is doing. All risk cannot be eliminated, but closing all doors to helping the most needy is a bit too self-preserving for me.

And functioning out of fear goes against my nature. From the first day, when the little boy washed ashore and I saw the hype, I said, “Even if it is a ploy to get inside the hearts of people, and thereby into our countries… and even if it is for ill-will by some, I would not say we should not help them.” But I am, by nature, a risk taker. Somewhat calculated, until I’m not. Then I just do what I believe to be right in a spontaneous moment. Which is why I even tackled this topic… because ‘calculated risk’ told me it is not wise to go there. And then when several friends called me out, I put on my mudding boots, and now here I am with my head stuck out, waiting for the hail to begin.

Nonetheless, for now I will focus on loving my neighbour… Including the Christian who sees it differently than me. That love is the only thing that will convince the world that we are the disciples of Jesus. And that love seems a lot harder to exercise than loving the refugee in a far away land. It seems less noble, less ’cause’ worthy. But it is the trademark of our relationship with God through Jesus. All other actions taken, from a faith perspective are but a racket, and a loud noise, if we don’t first exercise love in the Body of Christ.


The young woman left Tim Hortons. I was lost in a world of my own by that time, hearing a client’s heart; her story. Compassion easily shared with someone from my own culture, the Mennonites. We are a strong group, with powerful beliefs; some that we would be willing to die for, others not so much. And we’re divided on which ones are worth dying for, when it comes right down to it.

My day went on, as usual. Except for moments when her face flashed through my memory and I again found myself wondering, again, What would it be like to be one of them, or look like one of them, but with no desire for bloodshed and hate…. What would it be like?

And compassion awakens again in my heart, and I whisper a prayer for wisdom for our leaders to do the right thing, the compassionate thing, and also the wise thing.

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~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger


The #SaltedCaramelMocha in a Boring Red Cup, Please… And a #MerryChristmasStarbucks…& All

I kept seeing the Starbucks red cup referenced, so this morning I did a google search to see what the hype and offense is all about, and being ‘in the know’, I decided a second blog was in order. So here it is, awkwardly sandwiched in my 30 days of acknowledging victims of sexual abuse. But then, a good cup of Salted Caramel Mocha is the perfect treat for someone going through hard times, so maybe it’s an okay diversion.

I’ll start with saying I don’t care one iota if a business advertises Christmas–or snowflakes–on their cups or not. Even if they have done it for a bajillion years, it doesn’t offend me if they stop. They put it on in the first place for advertising, not because Starbucks loves Jesus. It’s business. It’s advertising. The thing that sells is the thing they will use. We ought to have been just as offended that they used it in the first place, because Jesus and Christmas are worth more than that. But we were not offended then, and we shouldn’t be now.

And I don’t really care if people say Merry Christmas to me or not. But I do care if businesses tell people what they may and may not say, on a faith level. Freedom of speech is freedom of speech for all. At least it should be, though it seems not to be. That’s a bit different than the advertising thing, though they lump it all together. And I am exercising my freedom of speech here, even though many people won’t agree with me, and they have the right to express their opinions also. And when I go out this holiday season, I will exercise that freedom again and say Merry Christmas to everyone if I want to. And I won’t do it to offend; I will do it because I love Jesus and I love celebrating this ‘birthday’ we’ve given Him. (We don’t really know the exact day.) Odds are high they will say it back to me.

And I love all the joy, happiness, and ‘light’ of the season, so soon after the dark, black of Halloween. (Yes, I hand out candy to all the little people who show up, dressed up in their costumes. No, that’s not celebrating the dark side and it doesn’t mean I celebrate death and goblins and all that occult stuff. If you want to tackle me on that–as some already have, my email is trudy(dot)metzger(at)rogers(dot)com. Your venting won’t offend me, or make either of us more or less Christian.) And while I know the ‘spirit of the season’ will be short lived, I enjoy it for the short time when people celebrate hope, and play cheerful Christmas carols. No other time of year is Christ proclaimed unwittingly, in the way He is at Christmas. But that’s all temporary if He’s not alive within.

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In the middle of the political correctness, and the spats over advertising, I care that Jesus is so alive in my heart that He flows out of me in love, not a ‘feel good’ into me in the form of some overpriced liquid in a ‘Christmas cup’. I care that I drink deep from His cup and represent Christ so well, that those who know me or meet me want to have mass (meaning full communion) with Christ, and thereby bring Christ-mass into their personal lives. The kind that lasts an eternity and doesn’t land crumpled in the rubbish bin when the drink is all.

As for Joshua Feuerstein, and the video he created… I found his initial ‘trick’–as he calls it–witty and somewhat humorous, and if he had left it there, it would have had more impact. But then it turned into a ‘let’s show them’, which in turn makes Christians look like idiots, IMHO, and the testimony this is as Christians in the news, is a bit embarrassing. Far as I’m concerned, less advertising about Christmas takes a lot of ‘fake light’ out of the world, and the true Christ who shines in our hearts, will shine all the brighter.

We might as well rejoice when the world shows its darkness, for this very reason, so that the light of our hope sparkles more brightly in contrast. There is something about twinkling lights in the blackest of nights…. There is something about stars in the darkest hour of the night… There is something about the lights of home, when we are tired and need rest….

And there is something about the Love of Jesus Christ, when the soul is black and hopeless. His Light is Life to the searching. Hopefully, with less fake lights, some will see the True Light of Christmas and feel His Love. For ‘while we were still sinners’–wandering in black hopelessness and unworthy of Him–‘Christ died for our sins’. What a beautiful truth to come home to. What a powerful reason to celebrate Christmas in a boring red cup…

I’ll have the Salted Caramel Mocha, Venti please, in a boring red cup, minus the snowflakes. The thank you I offer, the smile on my face, the personally meaningful ‘Merry Christmas’, that’s the overflow of Christ in me.

God said in Deuteronomy, “I have set before you life and death, therefore choose life.” And the Bible repeatedly tells us to ‘bless and curse not’. I choose blessing.

On that note, #MerryChristmasStarbucks! I won’t be boycotting you or trying to negatively impact your business; you have my business this year, same as every other year.

~ T ~

© Trudy Metzger

Should Canada Merely throw Money at Aboriginals to Ease the Nations’s Conscience?

“Where there is no vision (revelation; outlook, purpose), the people cast off restraint (perish; lose hope and meaning)…”

If I were to sum up in a short sentence what has happened to our First Nations’ people, I would say they have lost hope. We came. We robbed them blind. In essence, we stole their hope and purpose, and left them displaced. We can say what we want about them not helping themselves, but if we don’t first do the right thing and walk with them, share our bread with them, and thus restore their dignity, we are as guilty as our forefathers.


These past few weeks I’ve had numerous conversations with various individuals, regarding the upcoming election, and what should ‘drive’ the vote, of a Christian… if they should vote at all. There are mixed views on that last part, from the most conservative to the most liberal of Christians. To me it seems a responsible thing to do, and doesn’t collide with my faith, so I vote. But I also understand those who don’t, and respect that. It’s a personal decision. At least for now, since the government has not made it mandatory, and the Bible doesn’t say we should not. Of course we’ve declared our opinions loudly on the matter, but with no believable grounds, in my opinion.

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One message I keep hearing at every turn, is to vote for a leader who will fight for the poor, for the homeless, the Aboriginal people and others less fortunate. This message appeals to my compassion, and my desire to fight for  the underdog, which in my case is the roughly 6 million sex abuse victims in our country. (Numbers based on 1 in 4 females, and 1 in 6 males, in a population of roughly 35.5 million, and presuming approximately 50% are male, and the other 50% are female, and accounting only for reported cases.)

In his Maclean article, A Real Nation Would Not Let This Happen, Scott Gilmore exposes some of the deep neglect to Canadian Aboriginal people, stating, “We care more about postal service, child care and tax credits for the suburban middle class than we do Aboriginal issues. What kind of a nation are we?” He goes on to say that the Party Leaders have run across Canada handing out money to ‘you, you and you’ appealing to the middle class for votes. It’s true. They have. And we fall for it, licking up empty promises like starved puppies, as if our lives depend on it, rather than looking out for our Aboriginal brothers and sisters–yes, that is exactly what they are–and fighting for them.

If I don’t think below the surface, this ‘tossing money to the poor’ appeals strongly to my compassion, and, if I’m perfectly honest, it eases my own conscience. But there is a bigger picture to consider, both politically and personally. To find a generous-hearted leader who will throw money where the need is greatest, without any sort of relationship-based help, is a noose around the neck of our country and the recipients. The same principals that apply in running a business or a farm–which really is a business but possibly one of the better examples in this case–apply to running a nation. Responsibly managing finances, while giving generously and purposefully, maximizes the impact and guarantees sustainable growth and giving. A farmer who gives away so much seed that he has nothing or little left to plant, will give less and less every year and eventually lose his business. And the farmer who gives the neighbour eggs every week, out of kindness, rather than giving the neighbour a chicken and teaching him how to care for it, acquires more dependents rather than empowering the neighbour to also be self-sustaining and generous. And if the farmer’s chickens die, there’s nothing left. But if he has taught the neighbour well, then when his chickens get sick and die, guess who just might be able to offer eggs, and probably a new hen, to the farmer? A simple example, but that is responsible giving.

By the same token, a country that is not managed in a fiscally responsible way will eventually be in no position to give, so it makes sense for a leader to invest where he or she sees potential for returns. It isn’t that a nation should not give, but rather it is how the nation gives that will make all the difference.

Because compassion appeals to my heart, Gilmore’s article moves me; it really does. And, while throwing compassion money to Aboriginals, homeless and other destitute and needy may ease the nation’s conscience–and mine as well–it will not and cannot change our country, or have a longterm positive impact on the condition of things. Much less can it make Canada a real nation. Because a ‘real nation’ is about relationship, not dropping money from the sky. A real nation is made up of real people who walk in and do life with the needy, teaching and working alongside them, laughing and crying together, hugging and loving… And to drop money from a distance may be the greatest insult and disservice ever done.

And this brings me to my final question. Whose responsibility is it to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and help those destitute and in need? Is it not scriptural for the people representing Christ to give to the poor and needy? And, more than that, to live among them, with love? Is it not our calling to bring Jesus to the most destitute and, in the eyes of society, the lowliest… even those we deem undeserving? And to bring Jesus is to be practically available and present, fishing with them, and teaching them to fish, so to speak.

What about a relationship-based commitment to helping the Aboriginals, with much patience and without trying to clone ourselves in them, imposing our religious cultural norms on them? What about accepting them where they are at, but not being willing to leave them there in their suffering? What about believing in them, and showing them that they are worth more, that they can choose better way, and we are willing to walk with them on that way?

The inner curses that people have to push past, having been oppressed and abused, are not a small thing. I have not suffered the half of what they have been through, and yet I spent years haunted by the lifelessness of past abuse and oppression; demons that rarely haunt any more, but kept me trapped for years. For them to push beyond such a thing requires unbelievable resilience, of this I am certain. And therefore to bring change requires patience and encouragement, with gentle persistence.

So, yes, Mr. Gilmore, a ‘real nation’ might not let this happen, if each person invested him or herself 100%. But it didn’t happen overnight, and it will not be resolved overnight. It will take hard work on both sides of this equation for change to become real and visible. What are you doing to change this… and what am I doing… besides writing? And what are we doing, collectively, to reach out to the most vulnerable in our nation? What passion can we stir, that we are willing to lead, to make a difference, rather that remaining comfortably critical.

In the past I volunteered at our local Federal prison for several years, teaching classes and interacting with inmates, and during my time there I met many Aboriginals. I loved my time with them, and did research into the history of abuse of these fellow Canadians. That awareness has never for a moment disappeared from my memory. And always when I hear of them, it seems I should be able to do something, yet always I move on with my life. And maybe that’s what we all do; even the government, and that is how even a ‘real nation’ allows this to happen; one individual who looks the other way at a time, or talks and does nothing, or expects the government to do it all, not willing to be ‘that one’ who acts. The reality is that we, the people, need to rise up and invest ourselves and our lives to make a difference, and certainly we can appeal to the government on behalf of the Aboriginal people, but not without relationship. They are worthy of more than that.

My commitment is this: To dream, and brainstorm, pray and contemplate… and then to act on those dreams and prayers at the right time.

I want to be that one, no matter which vulnerable people I am given the opportunity to reach. I want to be the one to make a difference, rather than simply talk….

~ T ~

Note: Between 2 Gods is on sale (Kindle) for only $3.81 right now in USA, and it is on for $4.99 in Canada. Amazon controls pricing–not my publisher–so I have no idea how long it will be on at this price.

© Trudy Metzger