Illegal Alien


Today’s entry is a guest post from my uncle-in-law, Gary Sorrells. He has a wonderful blog running at Stop by and take a look sometime.

I worship an illegal alien.

Back when I was learning how to live in a foreign country, I learned a word and a concept to help with my adaptation. “Ethnocentrism” is looking at me as being the center of the universe.

As Americans, we have this down to an art form. If you want to know how to do anything in the correct manner, you only need to ask me. Our sports are better than your sports. My government is better than your government. My food is better than your food.


This can’t be coffee. It is strong and sweet and tastes like hot syrup. And—it’s served in a shot glass.

Back at home—in the USA—we do it the right way.

You can imagine how wonderful this goes over with the pagans we went to save. (They are the pagans—not us.)

ethnocentrismBy the way, we don’t have a corner on the market, though we are perhaps the worst. I learned while living in Brazil that God is a Brazilian.

As white, Anglo citizens of the USA, we are not good at accepting outsiders. It is still hard to accept the fact that God creates in different colors. Likewise, it is still hard for us to accept that God is not Anglo and does in fact love us all equally.

I find it interesting that Joseph, Mary, and Jesus lived for a time as illegal aliens in Egypt. I wonder how Egyptians accepted them. Did others poke fun at their accent as they tried to speak a foreign language? What did the Egyptians think about the God and the worship of Joseph’s family?

I lived in South America as an alien. No matter how hard I tried, I would always be an alien to the language and culture. I was not born there. Never would I catch up. I was a foreigner.

Heaven was Jesus’ country of origin. He came from heaven to live in a foreign country for just over three decades. Unlike my ethnocentrism, His was valid. In fact, everything in His home country was better than what He encountered on earth.

Yet, as He talked about home, he always did so with an encouraging invitation. He wanted people to go with Him to heaven to see the facts for themselves. It was indeed a better place than Judea.

It is a better place than America.

Some shunned the alien. Others worshiped Him.

With each day, it seems as if Jesus becomes more of an alien to the dominant culture. Lawmakers and lobby groups strive to make His presence and His influence illegal.

I want to be careful how I live. I don’t need laws to make Jesus an illegal alien in my life. It is far too easy to set border in hopes that He will not cross.

The life of trust is about opening more and more of the borders of my life to this celestial alien. I want Him to feel completely at home. I want to feel at ease with Jesus exploring the borders of my heart.

The more He takes control of borders formerly under my rule, the more I open my heart and fall on my knees to worship this illegal alien. What is strange is the first time we met was when he crossed my borders dragging a cross.

Let’s humble ourselves to join hearts and worship an illegal alien.

garysorrells-thumbGary Sorrells served as a missionary to Brazil for eight years. Upon his family’s return to the United States, he served three years as a member of the Bible Faculty of Lubbock Christian University, and eleven years as a member of the Mission Faculty of Abilene Christian University. Gary’s formal education includes the B.A and M.A. degrees in Bible from Abilene Christian University, and earning the Doctor of Ministry degree from Abilene Christian University in 1994. Between 1980 and 2011, he worked with the Not-For-Profit entity, Great Cities Missions. Gary currently serve as Director Emeritus.


  1. An alien? Sort of. An illegal one? No. God waited and worked from Adam’s time to bring the Christ here at the right time and didn’t sneak Him in to the picture. Son of Man is a legal term telling the world that the work that God did, He did as a man. I understand why you use the term illegal alien, especially since it’s a buzz word and sure to get hits. But it confuses the matter.

    • Well said Chris. Buzzwords don’t always apply well to spiritual matters, but I think he makes a good point when it comes to the barriers and walls that we erect. Pretty amazing.

  2. The Holy Family simply moved from one part of the Roman Empire to another. That no more made them an illegal alien than me moving from Arizona to Texas.

    Please tell me what Roman, Egyptian or Judean law they broke. Provide evidence or don’t make accusations. Otherwise you are simply slandering people.

    • garymoyers says

      Did you read the article completely? The point of the article was our tendency to be ethnocentric in our views toward God. I think you focused on the wrong thing. Thanks for reading though.

  3. Jason Atkinson says

    It is your own article that give prominance of place to the claim that Jesus was at one time an ilegal alien. You make the idea your title, your last sentance, and repeat it several times in the middle.

    But even if it were just a single setance buried in the middle I would still call it out without concern for content of the rest of the article. Just as I would call out a pastor who, in an otherwise wonderful sermon about seeing God’s Majesty in Creation, repeated the thoroughly discredited notion that scientists don’t understand how bees fly. The fact that scientists do understand bee flight doesn’t lesson the Majesty of God, but making false claims of fact doesn’t help anyone.

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