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Refuge Reimagined: Biblical Kinship in Global Politics by Luke and Mark Glanville


Growing up, brothers Luke and Mark Glanville shared a love of jazz music and jamming. Mark is a pianist and Luke a drummer. They now also share the authorship of Refuge Reimagined on another topic the brothers are passionate about: a biblical understanding of kinship that is transformational and demanding as the global number of refugees surpasses 80 million. 

Born and raised in Australia, Mark is a professor of theology at Regent College in Vancouver, Canada. Brother Luke is a professor of international relations at Australia National University in Canberra, Australia. For this book the brothers have melded their areas of expertise and insights in a way that is seamless.  

Their scriptural ethic for kinship begins with the imperatives in Deuteronomy to love and welcome the stranger, continuing through the Old Testament. Then Jesus announces the kingdom of God’s arrival, which includes a new understanding of kinship made up of the whole human family. This scriptural model of community “commands us to an understanding of justice that is more relentlessly outward looking and inclusive.”  

Woven throughout are stories as close to home as the extending of their own family tables to that of countries like Lebanon and Germany. Kinbrace, in Vancouver, B.C., is one example of an intentional housing complex that makes inclusive space for refugees to be welcomed directly into a community upon arrival to their new country. “A willingness to welcome strangers from beyond one’s national community inevitably requires a willingness to welcome a diversity of cultures.” This willingness requires letting go of fear and control. 

The brothers draw on their jazz musical background as a metaphor for this challenging understanding of Scripture. As much as musicians go back to the basics of jazz and blues,  each configuration of musicians and time passed is an opportunity for newness. “Our task is to discern the core ethical trajectories within Scripture. What fresh creativity is required of us today? What fresh and beautiful sounds and rhythms should tradition give birth to in us?”

Refuge Reimagined is recommended for anyone desiring to understand more deeply the biblical command to love one’s neighbor in relation to the displaced of the world. This book is well-suited for a church council study, refugee settlement team, book club, senior high school, or college class reading. 

This reviewer recommends Jessica Goudeau’s recent release, After the Last Border: Two Families and the Story of Refuge in America, as an excellent compendium read in addition to the titles suggested by the Glanvilles. (InterVarsity Press)

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