Monday, September 12, 2005I mentioned that I would say more about the hurricane, but someone beat me to the punch. This post at Theologica, a World magazine blog, speaks well on the matter. Here's a nice quote:
"If it wasn't God's judgment, then what was it? It was a disaster - an unnatural disaster - caused by the fallen condition of the world. People, animals, and nature are other than they might have been because of the Fall. It is profitable to distinguish between "Sin" - a state or condition of people, nations, and nature - and "sins," which are specific manifestations of the reality of Sin. Hurricane Katrina was the result of Sin, but it was not a judgment on sins."
We've also been discussing the matter over at Stones Cry Out. Read Tom's post, then read the comments.
I'm willing, on a basic level, to believe that God stills lays out specific judgements on places, people or institutions. In a way, I'm open to the idea that God could use someone to warn about the destruction. That said, given New Orleans' location, it's an easy prediction to make, and I would be cautious of such a claim, especially if the words "tv preacher" are anywhere on the person's resume.
Yet even if we choose to believe that God specifically sent the hurricane as a judgement against Mississippi's casinos and New Orleans' voodoo, strip clubs, drug trade and gambling, it serves absolutely no purpose at this stage to make such commentary. There are people who are homeless, starving, thirsty and naked. These folks do not need armchair theologians suggesting that God leveled their home because He was angry about the Gold Room's presence in the French Quarter. Maybe that's why it happened. I don't know. God's ways are not my ways and there are a lot of things I don't understand. And it's precisely because I don't understand that I'm going to keep my mouth closed, and do nothing but help. Offer food or clothes or money or time or housing or something. Certainly I'll offer my prayers. And yes, we should remind the hurting that God is real. He is not silent, even in the midst of such tragedy. We might even, at a point in the future, suggest that however much fun New Orleans can be (and it can be very fun), the city would be better off without the rampant hedonism. Change will come to Tuscaloosa or San Francisco or New Orleans as the Holy Spirit changes hearts. We can open doors by our service and love; suggesting that God left thousands homeless doesn't help anyone, neither the suffering nor the church.