Tag Archives: natural disaster

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.

Assigning Reasons to Tragedy

disasterFundamentalists take great pleasure in divining the hidden reasons behind tragedies. Everything from car crashes to cancer are found to have hidden causes of great significance. And usually it means someone is being punished.

Perhaps the most famous examples come from the sermons preached in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina as preachers thundered their message that New Orleans suffered God’s wrath because of its great wickedness. AIDS is obviously God’s judgment on homosexuals and Vietnam was caused by American’s hesitation to intervene in the Holocaust. Whether every person ever killed by a hurricane, volcano, plague or pestilence was also equally wicked is unclear.

One has to wonder how many sermons were preached about the tornadoes in Murfreesboro, TN last week. Were the sins of Middle Tennessee Baptist Church responsible? Only fundamentalists know for sure — and they’re not saying.