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Spring 2019 · Vol. 48 No. 1 · pp. 22–37 

A Macarism for the Displaced Person

Kimberley Morrison

Flourishing is the forced migrant

Who walks not in the ways of naturalism or religion,

Nor stands for surrendering internal locus of control to fate,

Nor sits in voiceless victim mentality.

But her delight is in a coming king

and on his kingdom vision she meditates day and night.

She shall be like a well-loved heir of God’s kingdom,

engaged in the loving exchange of giving and forgiving

As an astute political actor, making a place for others in the world,

she shall prosper.

Those in darkness are not so, but are like those without a true map.

Therefore, they shall become wanderers in a weary wasteland.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous forced migrant,

but the way of those who oppress the vulnerable will perish.

One of the greatest missiological challenges of the twenty-first century may be connecting Jesus’s kingdom vision with the global crisis of forced migration. The study of displaced persons tends to focus on the interests of key actors who shape the policy-making process: local governments, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), {23} and especially the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 1 The forced migrant refugee becomes the object of process-focused and norm-oriented study but rarely the subject. This paper offers a macarism (commonly defined as beatitude or special blessing) for the displaced person, elevating the forced migrant to subject. Jonathan Pennington defines a macarism more precisely as “a pronouncement, based on observation, that a certain way of being in the world produces human flourishing and felicity.” 2 A hermeneutic space for forced migrants is offered by construing a vision of flourishing for the displaced. Motifs from the lives of Naomi and Ruth in dialogue with contemporary refugee research will support the thesis of this paper that flourishing for the displaced person is a journey through disorientation, beyond alternative meaning maps, guided by Jesus’s kingdom vision. This paper is formulated in two parts. In part 1, meaning concepts are discussed. In part 2, evidences for the thesis from the lives of forced migrants are considered. The whole work is moderated by an ongoing dialogue with the writings of Charles Taylor. 3

Flourishing for the displaced is a journey through disorientation, beyond alternative meaning maps, guided by Jesus’s kingdom vision.


This section will describe forced migrants, outline challenges related to flourishing, reify kingdom meanings, and offer resources appropriate to blessing the displaced.

Individuals in contexts of forced migration are some of the most vulnerable and estranged persons on the globe. Forced migrants represent “a broad range of displacement including refugee claimants, those with refugee status, people whose refugee claims have been rejected, trafficked persons and internally displaced persons.” 4 Refugees in the broadest sense are those who have been forced to leave their home because of war or persecution. 5 However, as Andrew Shacknove comments, “Persecution is but one manifestation of a broader phenomenon . . . It is the absence of state protection which constitutes the full and complete negation of society and the basis of refugeehood.” 6 Loss of citizenship rights can be “tantamount to the loss of human rights altogether—how are rights protected without support of a community/nation?” 7 The refugee or displaced person is considered to have been rendered worldless, without a political space in which their actions can be meaningfully oriented. 8 {24}

Disorientation does not end when forced migrants reach international aid stations. Millions of global refugees have been interned for over twenty years in camps designed for temporary survival. Internment camps are “an arrangement for policing, feeding and giving health care to a population that is offered refuge in order to shelter it from violent death arising from war and hunger.” 9 From a purely political perspective, Turner states, camps are “put in place to deal with populations that disturb the national order of things.” 10 In this portion of the paper I discuss disenchantment as interrelated with interned, displaced persons towards construing a model for sources of meaning.


Max Weber used the term “disenchantment” to describe a condition in which old horizons have been swept away. An unremitting state of flatness, futility, and lack of purpose or esteem are principal features of this loss of horizon. In the words of former refugee Henri Parens, “one’s known, personalized world is left behind.” 11 Every existence marker in a UNHCR camp has the UNHCR logo stamped on it: every housing tent, every packaged food item, every blanket, every medical supply, and every building. Daily routines in UNHCR camps are completely focused on one’s current state as refugee. Inhabitants of the camp are thereby perpetually named “refugee” and “permanently submerged in their present time and conditions.” 12 Most refugee camps lack appropriate housing and offer no access to employment or education. Within the camp, basic needs are often met amidst intimidation and harassment. This catalyzes almost complete dependence on humanitarian assistance and a collective identity as helpless victims. 13

For many refugees, meaning was once oriented around a life of production and reproduction. This was considered the main locus of the good life. In the Mole refugee camp in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) where this horizon has been swept away, the main thing people do is wait. In waiting they experience an increasing sense of disorientation. As Parens explains, “being a refugee . . . makes tomorrow unpredictable and anxiety-laden.” 14 Refugees in the Mole camp reported that their life was paralyzed in the present and that this fixed them in an indefinite transitional state.

Sources of Meaning

In Sources of the Self, Charles Taylor suggests that to know who I am is to know where I stand; it is my frame for discriminating the good. Identity, he says, is defined by the commitments and identifications I make. These provide the map within which I can do an analysis from {25} case to case of what is good. 15 To lose the map is to lose the ability to know for an important range of questions.

A forced migrant enters an inescapable space of moral questions based on their existential journey. Jovic studied people taking refuge along the Balkan route in 2018. He describes these displaced persons as those who were “exposed to systematic dehumanizing attitudes and practices . . . [I]mprisoned, beaten, sexually abused, injured, we see their personality, or ego functions severely disrupted.” 16 We define who we are by where we are speaking from, our history, geography, and interrelations; but more crucially by the moral space and spiritual orientation within which our most defining relations are lived out. 17 Refugees at the Mole camp stated that they “can’t find the sense of life.” 18 This disorientation is the result of an identity crisis, a radical uncertainty of where one stands. The loss of self is further exacerbated by official infantilization. Informants in the camp reported that decisions about their lives were in the possession of governments and international organizations. 19

Identity is not only based on where I am standing but also on who I am standing with. My stand on moral and spiritual issues is referenced to a defining community. 20 Simon Turner, who did an extensive study of refugee camps, references them as places of “social dissolution” where people have their “sociality remolded.” 21 This conclusion is born out by findings from many other studies. Lyn Vromans and co-researchers spent time researching female refugees in Australia and found that “High proportions of participants reported experiencing loss events across personal, social, material and cultural domains.” 22 Eisenbruch’s two research projects found cultural bereavement among displaced persons arising from the loss of social structures, cultural values, and self-identity. 23 Older refugees can respond to loss with emotional rigidity; they may feel deprived of their psychological essence and identity. 24 If it is true that I define myself by where I am speaking from (what I stand for) and by who I am speaking with (my defining community), then a person who has endured one devastating loss after another will have great difficulty in sustaining an account of the self.

Encountering Alternative Maps

Taylor suggests two resources that sustain orientation around a healthy account of the world and the self. First, we may recognize the lay of the land but not discern the significant landmarks; for this we need a map. Second, we may not know how to place ourselves on the map. For this we need to discover where we are in relation to the landmarks. Taylor’s cures for identity disorientation—find a map and discern where you are {26} located on the map—are not meant to be reductionistic but to provide a starting point. 25

Refugees entering internment camps are often in a state of extreme disorientation. This vulnerability leaves them with radical uncertainty about the moral space they inhabit. Moral space is the background for our belief that a person is a fit object of respect, that their life and integrity are sacred. 26 It is often at the height of disorientation that refugees encounter two dominant versions of what it means to lead life well: scientific naturalism and religion. In this next section I briefly discuss how these are interrelated in interned displaced persons and then offer a brief comparative analysis.

Scientific Naturalism

Often the first person one meets in an internment camp is a UNHCR worker. Part of this person’s role is to assimilate a displaced person new to the camp into the systems of the UNHCR. Taylor suggests that, due to the incredible success of modern natural science and the technology associated with it, people are led to believe that natural science can offer normative explanations for all of life. As a result, naturalists often seek to develop human sciences along the same scientific edge, reducing the study of humans to little more than physics or perhaps organic chemistry. 27 In Jovic’s 2018 article, he explains that human services for refugees at internment camps are developed through a process he calls “battling paradigms.” 28 Commenting on treatment, Jovic says,

One of the dominant models is the biomedical model, which defines mental problems of refugees as illnesses, and focuses on pathological mechanisms (most often at the level of the structure and functions of the brain), clinical representations (symptoms and signs of the illness), diagnoses, epidemiological studies, and the treatment of symptoms through (predominantly) pharmacological means. 29

Refugees are subjected to interviews where descriptive methodology is applied to determine a finding of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In other words, descriptions of the disorder as found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or the International Classification of Diseases were compared to interview data. And since PTSD “was conceptualized as an equivalent of all varieties of post-traumatic response,” 30 the refugee would be so defined and, if considered necessary, medicated.

Mary Boyle suggests that the biomedical model has become the implicit ideology for refugee treatment. 31 It focuses on brain structure and brain mechanisms, dismissing the context of psychosocial factors. {27} Boyle outlines the methodology of the biomedical model in the following way: (1) translate suffering and problematic behavior into symptoms; (2) treat these symptoms as related to deficits in the brain; and (3) relate the causes of those deficits to the brain and mind rather than to a human life. 32 The practical end of this process is the reduction of the person to a mechanism of behaviors in a world ordered by natural causes. In this map of identity, to use Taylor’s language, the “significant locations” are represented by discursive, theoretical, empirical, clinical practice, and one’s relation to other landmarks is as a mental health patient receiving care. The instrumentalization of the refugee as a point of care absolutizes this naturalist approach to human beingness.


A second framework for mapping identity is religion. The role of religion cannot be considered as simply commensurate with coping practices that relieve symptoms of distress for displaced persons. As Baker points out, “Studies indicate that community ideology, beliefs and value systems give meaning to traumatic events and promote adaptive functioning in everyday life, even under extreme conditions.” 33 Kinsie’s studies in 1988 and 1993 with Cambodian forced migrants found that refugees interpreted their traumatic experience in terms of Buddhist beliefs. 34

About 131,000 Tibetan refugees, of which 45 percent are monastic, have accumulated experiences of trauma that include destruction of religious symbols, torture of their relatives and lack of cultural or religious freedoms. 35 Yet, they have been found to be extremely low on scales of psychological distress. 36 These Tibetans mark meaning on a map with at least three significant landmarks: the Dalai Lama, the Four Noble Truths and karma. I will briefly discuss each.

First, in Kinsie’s research, the Dalai Lama was seen as the primary protective factor of the Tibetan refugees. 37 Second, Buddhist philosophy provides a worldview where suffering is normative. The Four Noble Truths of Buddhism are (1) life is suffering, (2) suffering is due to attachment, (3) attachment can be overcome, and (4) there is a path for accomplishing this. 38 Suffering makes sense to the Buddhist as it is the primary texture of mortal existence. Finally, the Dalai Lama defined the relationship of karma to suffering: ‘the consequences of karma are definite; negative actions always bring about suffering. . . . If you do bad, you yourself will suffer.” 39 For the Buddhist Tibetan refugee, unbearable suffering is destiny arising from karma.

One Tibetan refugee said, “If we see from Buddhist point of view, then we Tibetans are suffering because of our collective bad karmas which we have done. Otherwise there are no reasons why should we suffer so much in our life. So, I accept whatever happens in my life as {28} results of my past karmas. One cannot do anything about it.” 40 Another Tibetan refugee explained, “I perform various rituals regularly. By these rituals we accumulate good karmas and overcome difficulties in our life.” 41 These practices of the Tibetans are designed to earn justification before divine, retributive justice, which results in being rewarded with good karma.

Comparative Analysis

These frames of flourishing have two primary points of comparison. First, both place the displaced person in the foreground of the landscape, not as subject, but as an object being acted upon either by divine justice through destiny or naturalist medicalization. This makes sense of the continued experience of the refugee in the UNHCR system as a non-agentic self—managed, advocated for, and researched. At the same time, in construing reality, the refugee herself (who is indeed a subject) bears the weight of being maximally reflective and rational. She must move toward others on the map in order to justify her right to agency through a righteousness described either as submission to pharmacological ends or fatalistic surrender to karma. Second, the unintended end of both modes of meaning is the annihilation of a robust, holistic account of the self.

Jesus’s manifesto, often referenced as the Sermon on the Mount, defines the culture of his kingdom through his vision of human flourishing. How the sermon offers an orienting space by defining qualitative distinctives that order our loves and map our beliefs will be discussed under the headings, evaluative language and gracious rhythms.

Kingdom Language Is Evaluative

The language of the sermon has evaluative force and provides a shared language around suffering for the forced migrant community. It blesses peacemakers and those who have been persecuted for righteousness’ sake as the children of God who will inherit the kingdom (Matt 5:9, 10). It acknowledges that the world is filled with evil and provides a daily liturgy of prayer for deliverance from this evil (Matt 6:13). This evaluative language connotes meanings that a neutral universe denies.

Mulanda Jimmy Juma, leader of the Africa Peacebuilding Institute in South Africa, is a man who was born and raised in a refugee camp in the Congo and has had to flee genocide and violence on a number of occasions. He related that his flourishing as a refugee was based on two things. First, a clear understanding of the evaluative difference between the kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of light. Thus, an ability to recognize the source of his suffering and trauma. And second, thankfulness that God has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 42 The kingdom of light invites us to take a stand that is opposed to darkness and death. {29}

The descriptive language of the scientific naturalist allows for no such evaluative definitions. The naturalist describes human reaction to confronting the evils of war, genocide, torture, murder, and rape as PTSD and conjures methodologies to deal with brain deficits. Habermas in referencing naturalist language argues that it “devalues all categories or statements that cannot be reduced to controlled observation, nomological propositions or causal explanations.” 43

The language of the kingdom of God offers evaluative terms for the good and provides space for lament, sorrow, and agonized screams in the night when that good is consumed by evil. When the sermon brings up the suffering of the prophets—“for so they persecuted the prophets, who went before you” (Matt 5:12 ESV, passim)—it builds on the Hebrew tradition of prophetic lament that acknowledges seasons of disorientation and loss of a place to stand. In this way it makes room for voices like Jeremiah’s—“Ah, Lord God, how utterly you have deceived this people and Jerusalem, saying, ‘It shall be well with you,’ even while the sword is at the throat!” (Jer 4:10 NRSV).

Kingdom Rhythms Are Gracious

The rhythm within the sermon is about the gracious exchange of giving and forgiving that infuses glory into every aspect of the mundane and the daily. Food, drink, clothing, shelter, sunshine, and rain are all defined as good gifts given to us by a Father in heaven (Matt 5:45, 6:25-34). Notice that the text is clear, our basic needs are gifts given to the just and the unjust; all of life comes to us purely as gift.

The gift the Father desires is that we become his children, not only by birth but also by likeness. Our familial relationship to the Father is the primary relational theme of the whole Sermon (Matt 5:16, 45, 48; 6:1, 4, 6, 8, 9, 14, 18; 7:11). This concept is summarized in 5:48, “You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” The word translated “perfect” here is the Greek teleios. It denotes the idea of a life aimed at blamelessness or wholeness rather than a life that is flawless. 44 To be blameless is to live in alignment with Jesus’s view of flourishing. It is a life of virtue.

Virtues are “the disposition to act in certain ways and to do so reliably—characteristically—over time.” 45 When operative in our day-to-day lives?, virtue displaces languishing with flourishing despite our circumstances: “mere circumstance or fortune is not determinative, but rather whether the agent orients his or her life virtuously.” 46 The point of displaced orientation becomes no longer our geography but the texture of our living. Virtues are framed in evaluative language and aimed at being like the Father in heaven who gives and forgives freely. They infer that the child should take on the likeness of the Father. {30}

The gracious exchange of forgiveness is summarized in Matthew 6:9-16. A daily rite of passage for the flourishing person is the receiving and giving of forgiveness. This practice assumes blamelessness but not flawlessness in the child of the King. The basis of our forgiveness of others is the forgiveness we have received from the Father. This exchange of giving and forgiving becomes the rhythm of the kingdom. Loving relationship with God and others is the primary defining ethic of Jesus’s view of flourishing. This love extends even to the enemy and is rooted in our likeness to the Father (5:44, 45).

The performance language of religion connotes a completely different exchange. The status of our life, the quality of our mundane provisions like food, shelter, clothing, education, and employment are all related to the quality of our performance. Divine retributive justice gives back only what has been given. Nothing comes as gift; all has been earned. The reward of this system is not participation in a virtuous kingdom through relationship with a loving triune God. The reward is escaping suffering towards reincarnation through a purified life.

Maha Gosananda is a Thervada monk who was known as the “Gandhi of Cambodia.” His family was wiped out by the Khmer Rouge and he became a displaced person. In referencing forgiveness, he said its purpose was freedom from fear, meeting suffering with a kind heart, and extending mercy to the self. 47 The entire directional force of forgiveness in this scheme is benefits afforded the self by the self. Buddhist Ken McLeod in his article “Forgiveness is not Buddhist” writes, “I feel that current interpretations of forgiveness in the Buddhist community undermine the teachings of karma, encourage the cult of victimhood, weaken human relationships, and obfuscate the practice of purification.” 48

The Sermon on the Mount teaches us that true flourishing comes from above—through right relation to the Father through Jesus, as well as from beyond, based on the hope of the coming eschaton. 49 Our true identity is found in the not-yet-fully-realized kingdom as children of a loving Father. The sermon is preached by Jesus, a displaced person, to exiles from Eden to declare the reality of a coming, alternative kingdom where flourishing abounds.


Ruth and Naomi are ancient women whose lives were deeply affected by forced migration. I will begin this section with a very brief background of migration for each woman and then consider their lived experience as interrelated with the contemporary refugee issues of locus of control, identity and making place for others. {31}

Naomi: Locus of Control

The kinetics of Naomi’s original flight function around a famine that led to tragic circumstances. Naomi, her husband, and her two sons flee to the neighboring country of Moab to avoid starvation at home. Her sons marry. However, Moab is a place of languishing for the family (Ruth 1:1-5). All but her two daughters-in-law die, and the three women are left with no visible means of economic support or social protection.

Due to the tragic consequences of Naomi’s displacement, she began to feel she was cursed by God. Thus her words of greeting to former neighbors: “The Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the Lord has brought me back empty . . . the Lord has testified against me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me” (Ruth 1:20, 21). Naomi’s sense of cursing may have led her to a lower internal locus of control. Bariagaber’s 2001 study of refugees in Eritrea found a direct correlation between active steps taken to reassert control over one’s life and an internal locus of control. Those who had “the perception that outside agents control one’s life” 50 were more prone to depression, exhibited less self-control, and displayed a weaker belief that one’s actions determine the type of one’s life. 51

Despite her sense of cursing, God is about the work of recreating flourishing in Naomi’s life. When Naomi heard that the Lord had visited his people and gave them food, she “arose.” This word represents the rising up to take on power. 52 Its use here suggests that Naomi had fresh courage to move forward when she heard of the activity of God. Houston states that the idea of return is crucial in the book of Ruth and that “the narrative begins a dynamic movement from death to life, from curse to blessing.” 53 Naomi’s turning back to God, even as a faint whisper of hope, may have been motivated by nothing more than a desire for personal comfort. When Naomi arrives in Israel she is still beleaguered and struggling with the idea that she is cursed. However, the strength of her step of faith towards God in rising up to begin her pilgrimage of repatriation had no correlation to success. It was entirely dependent on the object of her faith—Yahweh.

Naomi: Identity

Naomi’s faith step towards God was taken in the midst of a profound crisis of meaning. Taylor reminds us that when we take account of our life, we will often project who we will become relative to where we have come from. 54 Naomi looks back, considers how she has been emptied of all meaning through her losses, and chooses to relocate her identity. She asks that her name be changed from Naomi, which means “along pleasant lines,” to Mara which means “bitter” (Ruth 1:20). {32}

When Naomi returns to Bethlehem, she chooses participation in the kingdom marked by good gifts from a loving Father. Ruth is the first and primary gift from God. Ruth’s industry is the second gift. She labors in the fields to provide basic needs for Naomi (Ruth 2:2). Her industriousness is of her own initiative; Naomi remains passive. The third gift arrives when Ruth stumbles upon their near relative’s (Boaz’s) field. He is the very individual who can support the return of land to Elimelech’s (Naomi’s husband’s) family line (2:3). Naomi had passively neglected making contact with Boaz.

As God showers Naomi with these mundane gifts that provide for her survival, a shift can be seen in her orientation. She chooses active agency and an expectation of future good. She positions herself in response to God’s gifts not only to receive but also to give gifts. Her concerns become exteriorized to Ruth’s future and she schemes to secure a future for her (Ruth 3:1-4). When Naomi began to receive life as gift, she became enabled to give gifts in return. Naomi reoriented her account of self and of the world within the gracious kingdom of God and found a place to stand.

When identity becomes disoriented, many refugees exteriorize the need for a place to stand, and refugee camps can become, according to Simon Turner, “a hyper-politicized space where nothing is taken for granted and everything is contested.” 55 In the Agame Camp in Benin, Togolese refugees are characterized as engaging in confrontations with humanitarian organizations and “insubordinate.” 56 Refugees ensconced in kingdom meanings could play a huge role as political actors in internment camps by framing the ethos of the mundane and the contested as gift. This reframing would be not a fatalistic monologue but the implicit trope for a dialogue that is seen as the reciprocal exchange of gifts between all political actors.

Naomi chose to make blessing and gift the controlling narrative of her life, and this had a ripple effect in the community and back to God. Hear the community: “Blessed be the Lord who has not left you this day without a redeemer, and may his name be renowned in Israel! He shall be to you a restorer of life and a nourisher of your old age, for your daughter-in-law who loves you, who is more to you than seven sons, has given birth to him” (Ruth 4:14, 15). Naomi’s restoration to flourishing began through a season of crushing disorientation. But in choosing God’s kingdom meanings and orienting her identity within its safe walls, Naomi discovered the true life of flourishing.

Ruth: Making Place for Others

Ruth the Moabite daughter-in-law of Naomi becomes a forced migrant due to the untimely death of her husband. Her return to Israel with Naomi may be related to the socio-economic status of widows in Ancient Near {33} East countries: “Widows, abandoned wives, and other women deprived of male protection would often be particularly economically and socially vulnerable. They would thus be especially vulnerable to forced enslavement.” 57 Ruth’s situation made her vulnerable, and her motive for attaching herself to Naomi may have been to escape from possible slavery in her own country.

Whatever the reason for her departure to Israel, Ruth is a displaced person with no foreseeable future other than doing manual labor on the edges of society. She makes a volitional decision to follow through on the covenant she made with her mother-in-law to make the God of Israel her own (Ruth 1:16, 17). Ruth’s orienting meaning systems refuses to allow self-identification as a victim. Ruth does not wait to be rescued; rather, she mobilizes herself (2:2). Ruth determines to care for her mother-in-law and to glean where Naomi directs (2:2, 3, 17, 18, 23). In Fresia’s study of Mauritanian refugees, she points out that despite what a person has endured in the past they can aspire to a hopeful future by embedding themselves in the “logic of the ordinary” rather than waiting for some exceptional rescue. 58 Exceptional measures may never be taken; re-establishing a sense of order, normalcy, and justice depends on practices in the everyday wherever one finds oneself. Ruth determined to invest in virtuous practices that represented a living way of being. She employed the kingdom virtues of mercy, poverty of spirit, and meekness (2:4-16).

In her migrancy, Ruth became an astute political actor. She followed the advice of her mother-in-law, and in acting according to local custom she won over a husband and created a place to stand for herself and also for her mother-in-law (Ruth 3). Turton recommends the following:

We must treat place, not as a stage for social activity but as a ‘product’ of it. Such an understanding of the link between people and place helps us to appreciate that displacement is not just about the loss of place, but also about the struggle to make a place in the world, where meaningful action and shared understanding is possible. 59

The immediate sense of place can be achieved when forced migrants choose to make something of the world in which they find themselves. It is wrong to stigmatize refugees by always emphasizing the tragic loss of home and to say nothing of their role as social agents. To do this, as Bradley states, is to treat displaced persons as “a category of ‘passive victims’ who exist to be assisted, managed, regimented and controlled.” 60 Ruth trusted in Yahweh and his social vision. She reframed her life according to the kingdom of God and participated in virtuous practices that produced a sense of “place” and flourishing for herself and others. {34}


The Sermon on the Mount offers displaced persons a macarism—a pronouncement about the way of being in the world, as a refugee, that will produce flourishing and felicity. The lives of Naomi and Ruth bear witness to the nature of that way of being. Naomi’s journey suggests that in our darkest hour we must trust that the faintest glimmer of faith, produced even from a low internal locus of control, can be used by God to recreate flourishing. As that hope grows, we have opportunity to reorient our meanings to receive all of life as gift and spread an ethos of reciprocal giving and receiving of forgiveness and love. Ruth’s willingness to become a citizen of God’s kingdom included orienting herself to his map of flourishing and using the logic of the ordinary to provide a space for the other. These concrete, kingdom-oriented decisions invited unexpected blessing.


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  32. Alex Hossack and Richard Bentall, “Elimination of Posttraumatic Symptomatology by Relaxation and Visual Kinesthetic Dissociation,” Journal of Traumatic Stress 9, no. 1 (1996): 99–110,; Janet Stoppard, Understanding Depression: Feminist Social Constructionist Approaches (United Kingdom: Routledge, 2000); Jerry Tew, Social Perspectives in Mental Health: Developing Social Models to Understand and Work with Mental Distress (London: Jessica Kingsley, 2005); Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett, “Income Inequality and Social Dysfunction,” Annual Review of Sociology 35 (2009): 493–511,
  33. Ahmad Baker and N. Shalhoub-Kevorkian, “Effects of Political and {36} Military Traumas on Children: The Palestinian Case,” Clinical Psychology Review 19, no. 8 (December 1999): 942.
  34. J. D. Kinsie, “The Psychiatric Effects of Massive Trauma on Cambodian Refugees,” in Human Adaptation to Extreme Stress, ed. J. P. Wilson, Z. Harel, and B. Kahana, 305–19 (New York: Plenum Press, 1988); and Kinsie, “Posttraumatic Effects and their Treatment among Southeast Asian Refugees,” in International Handbook of Traumatic Stress Syndromes, ed. J. P. Wilson and B. Raphael, 311–21 (New York: Plenum Press, 1993); both cited in Dilwar Hussain and Braj Bhushan, “Cultural Factors Promoting Coping among Tibetan Refugees: A Qualitative Investigation,” Mental Health, Religion & Culture 14, no. 6 (July 2011): 576,
  35. Hussain and Bhushan, 576.
  36. E. Sachs, B. Rosenfeld, D. Lhewa, A. Rasmussen, and A. Keller, “Entering Exile: Trauma, Mental Health and Coping among Tibetan Refugees Arriving in Dharmsala, India,” Journal of Traumatic Stress 21 (2008):199–208, 199 200.
  37. Hussain and Bhushan, “Cultural Factors,” 581.
  38. Susan Piver, The Four Noble Truths of Love: Buddhist Wisdom for Modern Relationships (Somerville, MA: Lionheart, 2018).
  39. Dalai Lama, The Way to Freedom (New York: Harper Collins, 1994), 36.
  40. Hussain and Bhushan, “Cultural Factors,” 37.
  41. Hussain and Bhushan, 38.
  42. Mulanda Jimmy Juma, “Thanksgiving” (Columbia Bible College, chapel lecture, October 4, 2018).
  43. Jurgen Habermas, “Religion in the Public Sphere,” European Journal of Philosophy 14 (2006): 16,
  44. Pennington, Sermon on the Mount, 69, 70.
  45. Daniel J. Treier, Introducing Theological Interpretation of Scripture: Recovering a Christian Practice (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 92.
  46. Pennington, Sermon on the Mount, 36.
  47. Gina Sharpe, “The Power of Forgiveness,” Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Spring 2013,
  48. Ken McLeod, “Forgiveness is Not Buddhist,” Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, Winter 2017,
  49. Pennington, Sermon on the Mount, 38.
  50. Assefaw Bariagaber, “The Refugee Experience: Understanding the Dynamics of Refugee Repatriation in Eritrea,” Journal of Third World Studies 18, no. 2 (2001): 48.
  51. V. A. Benassi, “Is There a Relation Between Locus of Control Orientation and Depression?” Journal of Abnormal Psychology 97, no. 3 (1988): 359,; Herbert M. Lefcourt, Locus of Control: Current Trends in Theory and Research (New York: Psychology Press, 1982), 49.
  52. Francis Brown, S. R. Driver and Charles A. Briggs, The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon: With an Appendix Containing the {37} Biblical Aramaic (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1996).
  53. Houston, You Shall Love the Stranger, 85.
  54. Taylor, Sources, 47.
  55. Turner, “What is a Refugee Camp,” 139.
  56. Clara LeCadet, “Refugee Politics: Self-Organized ‘Government’ and Protests in the Agame Refugee Camp (2005–2013),” Journal of Refugee Studies 29, no. 2 (June 1, 2016): 187, https://doi:10.1093/jrs/fev021.
  57. Victor H. Matthews, Bernard M. Levinson, and Tikva Frymer-Kensky, Gender and Law in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East (Sheffield, England: Sheffield Academic, 1998), 167.
  58. Marion Fresia, “Performing Repatriation? The Role of Refugee Aid in Shaping New Beginnings in Mauritania,” Development & Change 45, no. 3 (May 2014): 455.
  59. David Turton, “The Meaning of Place in a World of Movement,” Journal of Refugee Studies 18, no. 3 (2003): 278.
  60. Megan Bradley, “Rethinking Refugeehood: Statelessness, Repatriation and Refugee Agency,” Review of International Studies 40, no. 1 (January 2014): 122.
Kimberley Morrison earned both her MA in Global Leadership and her Doctor of Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. She is currently completing a PhD in Intercultural Education at Biola University. She serves as Instructor of Intercultural and General Studies at Columbia Bible College. Prior to teaching at Columbia she served as a church planter and pastor with five different denominations in the United States and Canada, and spent time as a missionary to the Shuswap peoples of Canada.

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