Crossing Borders

June 30, 2013

Today I undertook a political act I had not done in two years. I left the country. Although it is easy as a citizen of the United States to take such freedom to travel for granted, the significance of crossing national borders should not be overlooked. Standing in line for immigration (after briefly being put in an unofficial ‘time-out’ to finish filling out my form correctly), getting another stamp on my mostly-empty passport, and moving through customs all served as a reminder that - like the apostle Paul - my citizenship in the world’s most powerful empire comes with many benefits. As I stood in an easy immigration line, immigration politics for those with no line dominated the news in the U.S. The experience of entering Jamaica today also struck me as interesting since it was so different than the last time I came to this beautiful island nation. Arriving for my honeymoon nine years ago, there was no need for a passport (for a U.S. citizen) and the process posed fewer bureaucratic hurdles. Laws since changed, as did my reason for travel. Now I am here for the Annual Gathering of the Baptist World Alliance. I serve on the BWA's Communications Advisory Committee, and will be leading a session during a Communications Training Seminar for Jamaican Baptist pastors. Already meeting Baptists from around the world, I look forward to more times of fellowship as I leave the U.S. in my mind and spirit (and not just in my body) by learning from my global brothers and sisters and hearing their unique perspectives. Today made for a bit of a long day traveling, but at least I made it in time for a nice sunset on the beach (as seen in the photo I took). You can see some more photos I snapped during the shuttle from the airport and then on the beach here.

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