The story of the church in Postville suggests that division is a cost of living the Gospel.
In Postville, the community was in warring camps, neighbors squabbling with neighbors: the immigrants and their allies versus those who wanted them deported. Bridget’s, feed, clothe and shelter the stranger, the migrant, the fearful.
Others set aside the demands of Matthew 25 on behalf of their own fears and prejudices.
To this day I wrestle with questions about how the Christian community can be so polarized.
Maria was a Russian immigrant who I giggled with about boys, and Susie, from Mexico, taught me how to pluck my eyebrows.
Business was booming, houses being built and cultures were intermixing. Peaceful unity among cultures was only part of the story in Postville.
Murmurs of “illegal immigration” rippled through the town.
Students wept at their desks in fear that they would never see their moms or dads again.
A group of citizens gained control of the local government and there were suspicions that they were also calling federal immigration officials to report the workers employed at Agriprocessors.
It was well-known that many of the newcomers to town were undocumented. On May 12, 2008, hundreds of outsiders came to town: ICE agents surrounded Agriprocessors, as Black Hawk helicopters chopped overhead.