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When I took my wife to watch Hamilton for our anniversary, I didn’t expect to have the idols of my heart exposed and my life as an immigrant retold from the perspective of one of America’s founding fathers. And despite having read about the Reformed evangelical faith of Alexander and Eliza Hamilton in Ron Chernow’s biography, I didn’t anticipate the musical would portray the gospel so movingly.
The surprising redemptive qualities of Hamilton continue to shape the affections of my heart for Christ in ways I never thought possible from a Broadway production.
Alexander - Hamilton - Beginnings - Caribbean - Life
Alexander Hamilton’s humble beginnings in the Caribbean, and later life in New York City, is the quintessential immigrant story. Instructed in “New Light” Presbyterianism by a student of John Witherspoon as a child, his fervent prayer life amazes his peers while attending what would eventually become Columbia University. But the growing spirit of revolution, Enlightenment ideas, and his insatiable hunger to succeed prove too much for Alexander. He increasingly neglects the care of his soul and eventually abandons his childhood faith.
Without any family connections or a penny to his name in America, Alexander uses his brilliant mind and works tirelessly to become indispensable to those around him, propelling him from the bottom of society to George Washington’s inner circle in a matter of years. As Alexander and the Marquis de Lafayette remark to one another in Hamilton, “Immigrants—we get the job done.”
Immigrants - Alexander - Fear - Expectations - Others
But like many other immigrants, Alexander remains tormented by an incessant fear of never measuring up to the expectations of others as well as himself: When will it be enough? What will I leave behind for my children? Who will tell my story when I’m gone?
If immigrant parents tend to overwork and neglect their families, then Alexander’s adult life is all too typical. As his wife, Eliza, says...
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