Disaster Relief


Disaster strikes. People are hurting. People may be sick, hungry or thirsty. They may be displaced from their homes needing a place to sleep or someone to tell them if their loved ones are safe.

When we look down at this scene what would we see Jesus doing amidst the chaos and heartbreak? Can you see him standing at a shelter handing out food and blankets? Easily. In your mind’s eye is he healing the sick and comforting the frightened? Of course. Can you picture him opening the church doors and welcoming in people who need shelter? Without a doubt.

But can you even in your darkest imaginings think of him standing off to one side sermonizing about how it is these people or their parents who have sinned and brought this calamity to pass? Can you see him so completely paranoid of giving a “social gospel” that he is completely unprepared to offer anything in the way of help but moralistic platitudes? Can we in our wildest dreams imagine a self-righteous Christ waggling his finger in the faces of the homeless and hurting and telling them that what they really need is a heavenly home later instead of compassion right now. The mind boggles.

I do not believe that many who claim to be the best behaved Christians have ever really met Christ. Or if they did once meet him they must have found him intolerable to their higher sensibilities.

If you’d like to help with disaster relief, the folks at World Vision are there helping. You can learn more here.

70 thoughts on “Disaster Relief”

      1. Yes mam! I’m so excited…I actually prepared just a small…um speech….

        I’d like to thank my ex-MOG for sending me a letter informing me that I’ve been removed from my nursery responsibilities because I had missed soul-winning meeting for 3 weeks straight. :wink:

        It allowed me some free time to be on this infernal devil machine. :evil:

  1. And yes, Darrell. It takes someone so consumed with their own agenda to point fingers at the poor victims of this storm and its damage and tell them “what they did to bring this down on themselves.” Weather happens, people need help, not ridicule. Let’s not make this about ourselves. We need to do what, as Darrell pointed out so well, the Lord would do. Hand out blankets, food, water, money, medicine, and smiles.

    1. Tell me about it. You won’t believe how many Christians I’ve seen on my facebook page say, Oh this is Gawd’s judgement upon America for their selfishness. Blah blah.

      I’m not denying corruption or anything or denying that we can be selfish but seriously in a storm like this? Now is not the time to be pointing and wagging fingers and being self-righteous.

      1. Only “selfishness”? Not Homosexuality, Abortion, Homosexuality, electing Obama, Homosexuality, not supporting Israel enough, and Homosexuality?

        I’m not denying corruption or anything or denying that we can be selfish but seriously in a storm like this? Now is not the time to be pointing and wagging fingers and being self-righteous.</i.

        But then how can you get all that Delicious ego-boo from being The Only One Truly Righteous With God?

        (I have two friends on the East Coast who were directly in the track of Sandy — Lehigh Valley and Harrisburg areas in PA. I'll be trying to get hold of them tonight to see how they're doing.)

        1. Harrisburg area contact: Eyewall passed within two miles; heavy rain, flooding, no reported damage at his church or parsonage.

          Lehigh Valley contact: Power outage for a couple hours. Lost some siding from the house. Otherwise minor damage.

  2. I can see him quoting Luke 13:2-5 while he passed out blankets, healed, comforted, and opened church doors. Oh wait, he’d be quoting himself.

    1. Dear Daniel:

      I was about to reference Lu 13:4 when you beat me to it. This blasts the retributive disaster premise clean out of the water! What a slap in the face to the John McTernans of the world!

      Darrell: Thank-you for showing God’s people at their best!

      Christian Socialist

      1. Is that the Tower Collapse at Siloam?

        (Which after fundy deprogramming sounds more like like Jesus saying “Sometimes, shit happens.”)

  3. When we are told the road is narrow, it’s because it’s not always easy to really, truly care about others, particularly if we (for whatever reason) have decided they are not like us. In truth, everything is about loving God and loving others, and this is where the IFB has gotten off track. They may love God (in their own way), but they are failing miserably when it comes to loving others.

    1. “The Christian ideal has not been tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and left untried.”

      – G. K. Chesterton

  4. 1 As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. 2 His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

    3 “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him. 4 As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me. Night is coming, when no one can work.

    John 9: 1-4

    1. Well, the word “pharisee” (from the Greek, in turn from the Hebrew) does mean “Separated Ones”. That’s what happens when you make “separation” the defining characteristic of a relationship with God.

  5. When I put my mind in Fundy mode, I can look at this picture and see that some of the women are wearing trousers, many of the men are wearing hats indoors, some of them have uncombed hair, and some probably even have unwashed cars with unpolished tires. Sinners and slackers!

    That seems absurd in a hurricane, right? So why isn’t it absurd when only the usual crises are upon us?

    1. This is very representative of this church, although many would consider ultra-fundamentalist since it was started by Jerry Falwell. It’s conservative but the fundie’s hate them. Think they are “liberal”. Snicker. It’d be rightly considered “evangelical” and not “fundamental”.

  6. Looking at pictures of New York- it looks like the financial district is getting the worst of it.

    So it occurs to me, as a bunch of idiotic gasbags have said the storm is God’s retribution on our gays… given where it’s hitting, maybe it’s actually punishment on Wall Street et al for raping the economy and taking down the rest of the world, hm?

    1. It would be comforting to think so, but I think it’s more likely a case of the rain falling on the just and the unjust alike.

      1. The rain, it raineth on the just
        And also on the unjust fella,
        But mostly on the just, because
        The unjust stole the just’s umbrella.

    2. Or maybe it’s God’s Judgement against the One Percent? You won’t get much argument against that, even by atheists/ :wink:

    1. Let them eat tracts!

      At least maybe people could sleep on the boxes instead of on the floor.

      During and after Katrina, many displaced people took shelter in Dallas, where I lived at the time. I knew people who took leave of absence from their jobs so they could work full-time in the shelters for Lousiana refugees. Our mayor at the time (a Jewish woman) also spent much time visiting the shelters and put all the city’s resources at their disposal. Some Dallasites took strangers into their homes. A small restaurant in my neighborhood gave free food to anyone having a Louisiana state ID.

      All of the people and churches and synagogues who did these things (as I said, I knew many of them) would be viewed as liberal apostates or worse (or Papists) by extreme Fundamentalists. I never heard that any of the many Fundamentalist churches in the Dallas area were doing anything similar to alleviate suffering.

      1. I never heard that any of the many Fundamentalist churches in the Dallas area were doing anything similar to alleviate suffering.

        If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then can his kingdom stand?

        So then if Independent Baptist Fundamentalism allleviates suffering it is divided against itself and likewise can no longer stand.

        1. Hi Don!

          They were too busy stealing parisioners money…especially the infamous Brook Hollow in DeSoto..
          And, by the way, they did divide themselves and fail.

    2. Dear Apathetic or whatever …

      Isn’t it odd that whereas what humanity really needs is a tract, that God instead gave us his incarnate Son bread to be broken, and wine poured out, all to be shared among us.

      Christian Socialist

      1. “A fanatic is someone who does God’s Will — that is, what God would Will if He only knew what was REALLY going on.”
        – don’t know where I first heard that, but it’s a good one

    3. My former church sent boxes and boxes of tracts to New Orleans right after Katrina. Nothing else.

      “For if I rack him ’til he die, what of it? For I will have Saved His Soul.”
      – “The Inquisitor” from Mark Twain’s Conetticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court

  7. By the way, I just sent a donation to UMCOR (the United Methodist Committee on Relief).
    UMCOR already had relief workers positioned on the ground when Sandy hit.
    Here’s a story about what UMCOR is doing right now:
    http://www.umcor.org/UMCOR/Resources/News-Stories/2012/October/Millions-Fear-Storm

    I’m impressed by the work of UMCOR. It usually gets to scenes of disasters even before the government responders arrive. The denomination picks up all the administrative costs, so 100% of all donations go directly to relief work and supplies. UMCOR workers will pray with people or witness to them if the people ask them to, but everyone who needs help gets it, with no sermons or pressure to convert.

  8. We skated from the storm completely. Whew.

    We were supposed to be directly assaulted yesterday and even last night.

    World Vision does so much for the world. Just helping with simple everyday things like food, clothing and water can do more to witness.

    Jesus said just giving a cup of water in my name is huge.

  9. All we got from the storm was 40′s to 60 degree temps and lots of wind. The storm actually made the weather here MUCH better.

    I wish it was the same for everyone else up north. :neutral:

  10. I have a huge convo on my wall with people talking about how we “just can’t know” if God is doing this to punish New York…BUT THOSE WESTBORO FOLKS ARE HORRIBLE!” Sure, you believe the exact same thing, but the Westboro folks are crazy…

  11. When our power was out for 10 days this summer in the blazing heat, Thomas Road opened the doors of their building for us to sleep there. They also gave away water bottles, and we got free food as well. I realized at that time that this is the most I have ever personally been offered as an act of Christian love/charity–and it wasn’t from a church I even attend, or whose worship methods I necessarily endorse. But there was something fundamentally Christian about the whole transaction that transcended those differences.
    Fundy churches have a habit of emphasizing the “ministry” of certain acts like singing in the choir, working in the nursery, or playing piano. But the verse says, “when I was hungry, you fed me” and “when I was naked, you clothed me”–not “when I was starved for musical stimulation, you provided an organ solo.”

  12. Isn’t it telling that nobody played the “God’s punishment” card with the tornado in Joplin, MO. The Bible belt. But something happens in New York and it’s because Jeebus is riding in on his angry horse and killing those sodomites…

    1. Interesting point. I grew up near there, and I concur. The thing to notice will be in churches respond with actual help once the disaster is over. I think that helped Joplin. Scores of churches moved in quickly to help. We shall see.

      1. Something my church did after Katrina was to partner with another church in the area for a full year after the storm. We sent several groups down there during the course of that year.

  13. This is why I love this site. You bring out things that are tough to discuss, but necessary to do so. I grew up in a church that would have judged (they probably still do) and I am struggling now even as I volunteer with a local food pantry. It seems so counter to my mind to just help, and not judge or prosyletize. But it’s best, and I’m grateful for the lesson.

  14. This, to me, is one of the obvious differences between fundy churches and the conservative Mennonite churches that I grew up in. People from our church often joined the teams that larger Mennonite organizations put together to go work in disaster areas. We heard sermons enough about the danger of a purely social gospel, but we also heard a lot about our responsibility to feed the hungry, care for the sick, and visit those in prison.

    1. The Social Gospel became a Gospel without personal salvation. You seem to have avoided the Fundy reaction of a Gospel of Personal Salvation and ONLY Personal Salvation (like sending only Chick Tracts to Nawlins after Katrina).

      “The Devil sends sins in matched opposing pairs, so in fleeing from one we embrace the other.” — either C.S.Lewis or G.K.Chesterton

  15. Received this quote in my email today; thought it was an interesting juxtaposition.

    The sick do not ask if the hand that smooths their pillow is pure, nor the dying care if the lips that touch their brow have known the kiss of sin. -Oscar Wilde, writer (1854-1900)

  16. The rain, it raineth on the just
    And also on the unjust fella
    But mainly on the just, because
    The unjust stole the just’s umbrella.

    One of my favorite poems. :razz:

  17. I listened to sermons over the years where Pastors decried education, blasted welfare, saying they didn’t need education, they needed to be saved. They didn’t need financial help, they needed to be saved.

    Responding to the hurricane, one preacher said it was “God’s judgement on America for gay rights.”

    All too many fundies talk about the need for people in trouble to “hear the gospel,” but they don’t want to fill their stomachs, give them a warm place to sleep, help them with financial difficulties or provide health care. Their taxes are “too high” and it isn’t their responsibility to take care of others. That is “Socialism.”

    So they wind up agreeing with Cain, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” (No! They assert!). They tell people to “get a job” and “take care of your family” without giving them the things necessary to the body. James says that kind of faith does not save.

    I used to be a Fundamentalist Independent Baptist or close equivalent. Now the more I hear of them the sicker I get. How is it I did not understand what they were years ago? How did I spend so much time among them? “Years I spent in vanity and pride.”

    1. 1: go easy on yourself
      2: It’s easy to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Many of the things Fundies scream about are actually truth. but the way they approach them and the upside-down prioritizing is where they fail. The Bible IS against Socialism. the Bible DOES teach that we should work for our own keeping. The Bible DOES teach that if a man doesn’t take care of his family he is worse than an infidel. The problem is that the phrase “Tough Love” has no period in between the two words. Fundies put one there. Tough. Love. They separate the two and make the latter conditional on your accepting the former. I have to admit that I love this site but I sometimes worry about the pendulum swinging too far in the opposite direction as a response to the original swing. Fundamentalism got started that way. Extreme liberalism can…and sometimes is…the result of an equal reaction in the opposite direction. I believe 100% in social programs and in generous application of the loving actions of Jesus. But I also believe that this MUST be outcome based. You are not helping someone if you are merely enabling them to stay in the status quo.

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