Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live faithfully...in the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Katrina and Christianity

When I was young, there was an earthquake in the central California valley, and in the wake of the earthquake came the stories, filtering through the same Jesus grapevine that told us about the hitchhikers who, once they got in your car, would say, “Jesus is coming soon!” and then disappear. The stories were about the homes of Christians that were spared while the pagan house next door was leveled. From living in Los Angeles I’m familiar with many such stories firsthand. But the stories that don’t make it on to the Christian gossip highway are the ones about Christians losing everything in the earthquake or the storm, while the ‘wicked’ are, whether miraculously or arbitrarily, spared. We’d rather not face such problems; better to keep telling ourselves that as long as the blood of Christ is on our doors we’ll fare better than others in the storms of this fallen world.

We’re kidding ourselves. Bullets don’t care who they hit. Avalanches don’t have feelings. Drunk drivers don’t check your doctrine before running a red light. And Katrina turns a corner….why? Yes, God intervenes and spares miraculously…sometimes – but not always. So when your house is hit by storm or unemployment or crime or cancer and your neighbor’s is spared, is God good? An important question in an beautiful, uncertain world. This is what I’m wrestling with in Psalm 73 as I prepare for Sunday. But I’ll tell you what I’ve learned so far: The Bible is brutally honest! It asks the tough questions, and deals with the unpleasant realities that we evangelicals don’t often hear about in our ‘family safe’ environments with ‘feel good’ music. We need to lean into the questions; wrestle with them. For it is there that we’ll find, not easy answers, but the face of God.

Last thing: We’ll be taking a special offering this Sunday for Hurricane relief, and those interested in going to Louisiana to help will be provided with details on how to do so.

7 Comments:

At 31/8/05 11:59, Blogger Nova said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

 
At 31/8/05 18:42, Blogger Richard Dahlstrom said...

I've added verication to the system because I was receiving to many spam comments. Sorry for the inconvenience.

 
At 1/9/05 12:35, Anonymous Elizabeth said...

Hey Richard
Has there been any interest in sending a team to Louisiana from the church?
I am just really feeling the call to service and would like to volunteer--just not sure with whom and how to get there.
thanks so much
Elizabeth Gordon

 
At 1/9/05 13:33, Blogger Richard Dahlstrom said...

In answer to Elizabeth's question: Yes, we're going to be providing ways to get involved this Sunday in the foyer. We'd like to send a team, but if not that, information will be available on how individuals can travel and help.

rd

 
At 2/9/05 15:05, Anonymous Lisa said...

I am overwhelmed with layers of emotion. Struggling with deep grief and explosive anger all at once. Grief that so many are stuggling to just stay alive, that mothers have to formula to feed to their babies, that poor young black men have another reason to believe that this world doesn't care about them. Anger that both citizens and people within our government are blaming the victims and failing to understand the powers of poverty that kept so many people in New Orleans and will cotninue to enslave them as we emerge from this tragedy. And I realize, with great guilt, that this type of death and suffering happens daily throughout the world and I can go on most days never thinking about those people. For today all I can do is pray and the presence of Christ will descend and that His peace will calm the anger and soothe the pain. It all feels so unjust and leaves me longing.

 
At 4/9/05 20:18, Anonymous Tiffany said...

Any chance you could post the ways we can get involved on the BCC website? Thanks.

 
At 13/9/05 19:19, Anonymous Dave said...

I just ran into Jesus' thoughts on this sort of thing... very helpful.

 

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