Review: They Are Us

They Are Us: Lutherans and Immigration

Authors: Stephen Bouman and Ralston Deffenbaugh

Paperback: 160 pages

Publisher: Augsburg Fortress, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-8066-5763-9

Augsburg Fortress


I requested this book from Augsburg as I was preparing to write a Bible Study for my youth group on immigration.  I was looking for a Lutheran response in the immigration debate.  I found what I was looking for in They Are Us.

The Good: The authors state early on that “we are having the wrong conversation in our country about immigration today.  It is a conversation driven by fear and often manipulated cynically by our political leaders.” (4)  I think this is a good, overall assessment of the immigration debate in the United States today.  One only need to look to Arizona and SB1o70.  The system is broken.  Tighter borders, walls, and stricter laws are not the answer.

Much of the book is spent discussion the history of immigration and how the current system became broken as wells as gives an assessment of the broken system.  The authors look at the system through not one, but two Biblical lens; the Exodus and the Incarnation of Christ.

Chapter 7 was a really interesting chapter.  It tells the story of ELCA and LC-MS congregations who are actively involved in the immigration debate.  According to the authors, “They have discovered new life within their communities of faith as they struggle to be faithful to the gospel of God’s love by embracing these new neighbors through ministries grounded in love and justice.” (95)

The Bad: None.

The Ugly: None.

Bouman and Deffenbaugh present a truly Lutheran understanding of the immigration debate.  They present a biblical lens through which we should view the ongoing debate concerning immigration and immigrants.  This book is an invaluable resource for Lutheran pastors and those in the midst of the immigration debate.  It opens the door to the conversation of what is the church’s role in immigration reform.  I give this book 4 stars.

I received this book free from Fortress Press. Providing me a free copy in no way guarantees a favorable review. The opinions expresses in this review are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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