Thursday, September 01, 2005

Response to Katrina

I haven't posted in a while, but that doesn't mean I haven't thought about a lot. I quite often begin a post and then never publish it. Perhaps this is one that I should not post. But if you're reading this, apparently I did post it.

I have been in classes all this week both in the morning (8:00-12:15) and in the evening (5:30-9:45). In "down times," I have read a lot about Katrina, the wake of her destruction, and the response of people. There's a lot that I have thought and could write, but I'll try to keep this short.

As you may know, I pay attention quite a bit to discussion on Naznet. There has been much time spent on the hurricane Katrina there. It is incredible (though not necessarily surprising) that discussion very quickly went to talk of things such as oil and money, God's judgment on New Orleans and the area, and chastisement of looters. Some wanted to argue about the United States and how "generous" she is towards other countries, posing, "Will other countries respond as generously as we do for them?"

I am sick of followers of Christ judging, theorizing, justifying, and arguing on the basis of democratic (small "d"), financial, and other worldly bases.

One person said, "The USA does not give to get." Are you kidding me? If the statement read, "The American Church does not give to get", I might agree. But I'd rather say, "The Church does not give to get." However, contrary to popular holding, I don't equate the USA with the Church. The USA only gives to get.

Generosity is not measured by amount...but by heart.

I fear response to this post. I don't want to hear of "pragmatics."

Another person said, "With New Orleans being a city full of the false religions and worship brought over from other countries like Haiti and Jamaica, is this a judgement from God. and then there is Biloxi with all of the casinos?" (I'll grant that the original poster of this question said that it was not judgment, but the ensuing discussion went both ways.) It's a good thing God has all of us to delineate his judgment on the world. How else was New Orleans to know? (Read with cynicism.)

I just came from chapel at NTS (we're over halfway through the first week of two-week intensive "module" classes).

Rev. David Busic (pastor at OKC Bethany CotN) preached from II Samuel, the story of a crippled Mephibosheth and David's "kindness" (or as Rev. Busic preferred, "faithful love") to him. I'm not sure I've heard a better human vessel of God's word than Rev. Busic allows himself to be.

I wish I could transcribe the whole message to you here (and it will be on NTS's chapel website at somepoint in audio form), but I can't. Allow me to highlight some points:
- David made true on a promise made long before he became king
- David demonstrated faithful love when, by all human standards, he had no reason to do so.
- David demonstrated faithful love regardless of thought of
..."what's in it for me?"
...or "will it be returned in the future if I'm in the same situation?"
...or "does he deserve this love?"
...or "hmmm...let's see if he'll do the same for me later on." (which in fact, we never know if Mephibosheth did or did not show David faithfulness...but he had the chance to)
- Mephibosheth was indeed David's enemy

And lastly...Rev. Busic connected the story to Jesus himself.
‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.” But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous.

We ourselves were enemies of God...yet he demonstrated faithful love to us. (Romans 5:10)

Perhaps, in the wake of a crippling storm, I can forget gas prices, judgment, "they should have left" talk, and inconsiderate looters and live striving to be of a faithful love.

- J


  1. Jeremy--

    Thank you for your heart, your passion for serving Him and your willingness to follow the Lord's leading. I am so looking forward to hearing more from you in your days ahead as you continue at NTS and prepare for a life of ministry.


  2. Jeremy,

    Thanks for your thoughts --- I too, would like to go to the South (thanks for your post on my blog). I'm not sure what I would do, but it feels like something should happen-- we are called to be "people of action" to quote Chaplain Barker. Your focus is right! Let's not get discouraged ...

  3. Quit whining. J/K. Yeah, I'm tired of people judging too. (Though for the most part I have stopped reading NN.) The people who do remind me of the pharisees. Like you, I am hesitant to go into it. Now that I am working in an EXTREMELY liberal environment, I am finding that many of the people in the world I have been so afraid to embrace (as Jesus would have)are so willing to embrace me just as I am. I am seeing a new side of the world, a new side of me, and most importantly, a new side of Christ.

    I will say this though...Amanda Marble is weird.