Friday, September 09, 2005


what's God got to do with it?

i'm intrigued by public pronouncements of personal faith at a time of tragedy. where does God fit in? how does a person's theology affect their actions?

often, one's faith is expressed as a personal relationship with God; as a potential source of comfort. God is in control of things and is all-powerful...
"I was not crying in anguish because the home that I walked out of with my children was gone - I knew it would be gone when I left," she said. "It was an anguished cry of plea to the only person that I thought could hear, and that was God himself. And I think he has heard, because the people of my state have cried out to him for now over a week and a half. But as he gives us the grace and the wisdom to do our job, I hope we can do it well."
- Sen. Mary Landreiu, in the NY Times
but, if God is all-powerful, then maybe the hurricane is a result of God's vengeful wrath...
"Although the loss of lives is deeply saddening, this act of God destroyed a wicked city," stated Repent America director Michael Marcavage. "From 'Girls Gone Wild' to 'Southern Decadence,' New Orleans was a city that had its doors wide open to the public celebration of sin. From the devastation may a city full of righteousness emerge."

"We must help and pray for those ravaged by this disaster, but let us not forget that the citizens of New Orleans tolerated and welcomed the wickedness in their city for so long," Marcavage said. "May this act of God cause us all to think about what we tolerate in our city limits, and bring us trembling before the throne of Almighty God."
- repent america
"It was God's retribution - God does not short-change anyone. [Bush] perpetrated the expulsion [of Jews from Gaza], now everyone is mad at him. This is his punishment for what he did to Gush Katif, and everyone else who did as he told them, their time will come, too."
- rabbi ovadia yosef, israeli spiritual leader of shas party, also quoted in jewschool.
obviously, this "vengeful God" doesn't quite do it for me. folks who know me won't be surprised that i have affinity with those who relate to God through a "call to service" ...
Many local pastors are encouraging their congregations to do something -- even if it just means giving a few dollars. "I said to them try to taste the agony of those who are suffering and to try as much as possible to put themselves in the position of those who are affected," says the Rev. Belfield Castello of Easton's First Moravian Church.
new jersey express times
and as a directive toward acts of social justice:
"It is not enough for some of us to do well. Unless we all have the opportunity to succeed, none of us are a success. We've got to stop destroying the notion that we are all responsible for one another. Katrina taught us that lesson."

Dean urged the lunch crowd of 150 to revive the social activism of the 1960s, to combat what he saw as a failure in "moral choices" by current national leaders. Both government and churches, he said, need to play a role in fostering social justice.

"When you look at Christianity, it is in fact about social justice. Jesus walked among the poorest and the lowest. We ought to put that up on every church door."

Howard Dean

Blessed are you, Source of Life,
Who helps us to bring
Light where there is darkness,
Healing where there is brokenness, and
Peace to all of the earth's inhabitants.

B'rukhah at Yah, M'kor Ha-chayim,
ha-tomekhet banu b'haviyenu
Or l'choshekh,
marpei l'shever,
v'shalom l'khol yoshvei tevel.

- Kolot: The Center for Jewish Women's and Gender Studies

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