Friday, September 09, 2005

Hurricane Katrina: The Wrath of God?

The other day, a friend forwarded me an e-mail that has been circulating recently in which some group calling themselves both Christians and prophets claimed that the havoc wreaked by Hurricane Katrina is the hand of God smiting all the sinners and degenerates in New Orleans. Any time there is some sort of national or global tragedy, we can count on some fringe group (and, I am sad to admit, far too many in the mainstream) who will proclaim, as fact, that God's vengeful fist could be seen in the calamity. They said it about AIDS. They said it over 9/11. They said it during last year's Tsunami. And they are saying it again now.

I really wish these people would shut the hell up! They can keep their divinations, hallucinations and delusions. Prophets, indeed! Christians, indeed!

I think it is phenomenally dangerous, borderlining on, if not radically crossing, the line of blasphemy to both think we can presumptuously ascertain the mind, will and hand of God and worse, take tragedy and spin it for our own ignorant spiritual whims. Even if one should think that God's wrath may lie in a natural disaster, disease or some other such misfortune (the Scriptures prove He has used such tragedies to both punish wayward humanity and get its attention), one should hold one's tongue for fear that one not have the first clue of where God's hand lies (without the aforementioned Scriptural illumination).

We obviously see with different eyes, these sadists and I. I see a catastrophic natural disaster, possibly the worst in American history, whose rank waters are washing away all of our denials about how many of our fellow citizens are living in poverty as well as our reluctance to admit the now glaringly obvious connection between race and poverty in America. One look at who has suffered the most, who could not afford to evacuate, who was left behind waiting in vain for help and who will chart the most difficult course on the road to recovery and all sanctimonious illusions fall away. The faces on our news every night are overwhelmingly poor and blackā€”the faces of an invisible and mostly silent poverty that we have willfully chosen not to talk about, let alone take responsibility for in the richest nation on the planet. But this disaster stripped us of our illusions and our walls. We cannot claim ignorance any longer.

Christ called upon all Christians to care for the sick, the needy, the poor, and the destitute among us. Christ told us that when we care for these devastated souls, we are actually caring for Him. And yet, some prefer to ignore the very tenets of their religion, preferring to play God themselves and stand in judgment over His creation. These people who claim to know the mind of God and see His handiwork in carnage should be ashamed of themselves. What right have they to take pleasure in the agony of others and hypocritically cloak it in sanctimonious piety? It is disgusting. It is the sort of faux Christianity I despise and want nothing to do with. I'd sooner have grace for the sinners they loath then these supposed believers who use the name of Jesus Christ as a weapon of hate and revulsion.


Blogger PittCaleb said...

Excellent Post. I wrote similar a few days ago at Hail To Pitt!

3:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Love the pics of you and Stephanie! Know y'all had a great time! I love more the comments regarding the situation surrounding Katrina and I so agree with you. I have to limit my watching of the news as all I do is cry. We in this area are so storm weary. The financial toll is tremendous, but the mental and emotional strain is exhausting! Plus we can't let our guard down as we do not know when the next storm will take a bite out of us.

But, thanks for your thoughts! Hope all is well with you and your wonderful bride!

Love, Deletha

4:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the hurricane rant was good... i agree with you 110% -- but for a different reason...


4:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree, Dear Nephew. Could it be that the ranters and ravers are themselves running scared? We all know the origin of the spirit of fear. Maybe we should take cover 'cause there's bound to be a natural disaster sent to purge that, too........

7:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Brandon,

Your trip to Telluride looked fun. I think that was a great anniversary.

I totally agree with your comments on Katrina. I heard the same thing when the Northridge earthquake hit my area in 94, but this was from the South. They told my dad who was in Alabama at the time that it was God trying to get rid of all the Hollywood Gays, and Bad California people living in their sinful ways. These are the same people who tell little"white" lies, talk about their friends behind there backs. It makes me ill to hear that.

Like you said SHUT THE HELL UP!!!


11:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Brandon, thank you for the open statements about how this situation reveals the deeply entrenched--that is, truly institutionalized--racism in our society. I have been at least as grieved by denials of this as by the "this is God's punishment" garbage...because if we deny we've a problem around skin color (as well as class), we can't make any progress on that front, seems.
A lot of work ahead of us, for sure...energizes (and radicalizes) me for my teaching aspirations! = )

Daria : )

3:36 AM  
Anonymous Pat said...

Hi Brandon,

Thanks for writing about Katrina, it really helped me put the focus where it needed to be. I have been going to a Bible Study (not related to our church, but from a group of women I had met last year in a MOPS group) and the leader expressed her opinion similar to what you said you had heard related to the Wrath of God, and another woman in the group agreed with her. It didn't feel right when she said it, and I really had no words at the time to say (and you know I'm not that aggressive anyway). Maybe I don't need to be in a Bible Study that has people in there that feel that way.

Thanks for the eye opener! I love reading your blog, even though you don't hear from me!


7:22 AM  
Anonymous Pastor Mark said...

Hi Brandon,

Nice blog. I really enjoyed your tour of the film festival.

Hurricane Katrina. She stirred up more than the Gulf Coast; she also stirred up a lot of shallow theology. To point, the Bible teaches me that the "wrath of God" was COMPLETELY satiated at the Cross of Christ, if not we're all in deep weeds.

I spoke this word at church a couple of Sundays ago when a few people had come to me individually pointing to atrina "prophetically" dubbing her God's instrument of judgment, especially on New Orleans because of all the
wickedness and so on . . . to destroy the pervasive evil. Oh brother!

No. 1: God, I am persuaded, is a marksman shot; if He wanted to take another sort of "reminder shot" at evil He doesn't need a hurricane to do so.

No. 2: Consequential destruction. I think Evil not God, could have summoned this catastrophic happening. The Bible says where there is strife and division there is every evil work. Translation: play w/fire and you get burned. I think we vastly underestimate not his power but the devil's capacity for cruelty and wickedness.

The destruction of the Gulf Coast is terrible indeed but child's play compared with the destruction a Christless eternity will bring for millions upon millions of souls who have shunned the saving grace of God the Father through Jesus Christ. Want to mobilize? Want to give? Want to be compassionate? How about: daily walking a holy walk w/God, daily being a "good" witness that others may see the love of God, daily living an examined life before God and others, the Marfisi trifecta: pay your bills on time, keep your grass mowed, love your wife.

Try Ecc. 5:1, 2; Micah 6:8; James 4:7, 8

What are we to think? How are we to believe post-Katrina? Believe this: God is on His throne, Jesus is still the epicenter of reation, the Holy Spirit still moves powerfully yet personally among men, the Bible is still the word of God and billions times billions of angels plus the saints universal continue to worship God w/all their heart, mind, soul and strength even as I write this almost inconsequential opinion of an email.

Later Tator,

Mark Marfisi

11:43 AM  
Anonymous Paul said...

I was listening to the TJ Hour yesterday and Clay said something I've thought many a times, heard before, but wonder about. A paraphrase of the quote is, "Capitalism is a socially unsustainable economic system because it looks at the bottom line rather than the working class which it both supports and depends upon." I just read your blog about Katrina and that quote from yesterday came to mind. I tend to agree with the statement but don't know what the solution is. I don't think socialism is the answer, corporations will never do the benevolent/"right" thing if that is never forced upon them. I've talked with several people, and read several blogs, "news" stories, and e-mails about what made the catastrophe more catastrophic, speaking of public assistance.

4:50 PM  

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