Faith on the Move is a collaboration between Pastor David Vasquez and the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service. Faith on the Move is intended to contribute to the important conversation about immigration by placing it in the larger context of our stories of faith. At the core of the Biblical story are narratives of migration: Abraham and Sarah, who followed the promise; Joseph and his brothers, who found God worked for good the struggles of their family; Ruth, who defied the stereotypes against immigrants by proving herself to be faithful, hardworking, and a blessing; Jesus, who followed his ancestors as he sought refugee in Egypt and spent his ministry challenging us to go to “the other side.” As we find our way in an increasingly globalized society, what are the connections between our stories of migration and those of the Biblical texts?
How does a man who survived crossing the Sonora desert by finding an unexpected zucchini plant read the story of Elijah’s miraculous meals in the desert as he ran from Ahab and Jezebel?
How does a mother who handed her infant to a smuggler to get him across the border relate to Moses’ mother who illegally smuggled him in a river-basket?
How does an immigrant in a detention center hear the story of Joseph’s dreams and their value to the well-being of the kingdom?
The immigrant experience – central not only to Biblical narratives but also to the narratives of many of the world’s religions – offers an important hermeneutic for reading our sacred stories:
1) It is vital for immigrant communities trying to find alternative narratives to those often offered by a dominant culture that is fearful of them (similar to the role that Biblical narratives have played for African American communities).
2) It is desperately needed to provide depth to the church’s engagement in our nation’s immigration laws.
3) It holds great promise for enriching the broader church’s interpretation of sacred texts.
Faith on the Move is a place for resources and for conversation. Much of the material on this site will grow out of David’s one year sabbatical project to develop materials based on interviews, community forums and small group Bible studies that connect Biblical narratives with contemporary migration narratives. Look through postings, videos and reflections. Comment on what you find here. Offer your own resources.
Listen to Pastor David Vásquez discuss the Faith on the Move project:
About David Vásquez
Pastor David Vásquez is one of the campus pastors at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. Following the devastating May 12, 2008 immigration raid in Postville, Iowa, David served as part of the Postville Relief Effort core team, working in areas of coordination, advocacy and legal support. Originally from Guatemala, he has worked with the Lutheran Refugee Committee in Canada and has focused his research work on immigration as a central image in sacred texts.
Prior to coming to Luther, David served St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Batesville, Ind. and worked in youth ministry at First Lutheran Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has spoken at various regional and national youth events, including as one of the keynote speakers at the 2003 ELCA Youth Gathering in Atlanta, Ga.
David holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Texas Lutheran University and a master’s degree in divinity from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He received his Doctorate of Ministry in Preaching (D. Min) through the Association of Chicago Theological Schools.
David is married to Dr. Karla Suomala, who teaches in the Religion Department at Luther College. They have two children, Dawit and Meheret.