Really Bothering Me

Why are people saying Katrina is the judgement of God on wicked New Orleans and the casinos on the Gulf Coast? What about the obviously NOT wicked people who have lost everything? I know Desire Street Ministries lost everything, and all the staff who live in the 9th ward lost everything, too. Lord, have mercy on us for judging others…

17 responses to “Really Bothering Me

  1. People are saying it because they don’t understand the “once for all-ness” of Christ’s attoning sacrifice. Everyone wants to dole out the Law when these people so desperately need the Gospel.

    I’ve also heard people say Katrina is judgment on America for not helping put the Jews back in Jerusalem.

  2. Good gracious! I remember going home from boarding school my senior year and as soon as we knew one was targeting the mouth of the Miss river I helped my folks board up our house and turned around and went back to school…when I got back, a dear Christian friend said gleefully, “The city of Sin and all its Sin will be wiped out!” I was thinking, “Yeah, my house will too…” I know this person has grown past that type of thinking, but it was still hurtful..

    The churches we attend with our families in New Orleans were very effective at empowering their people with the Gospel to turn away from wickedness and prosper in Christ’s grace. Now they’re gone. The poor in the 9th ward are displaced, sick, perhaps dead, but the She-bar and Oz – the Great Rainbow Palace Gay Bar – are both relatively unscathed (though without patrons). We’re all in the same boat, folks…pray for us…things are getting scary for our loved ones…it’s not a short vacation with them like previous evacuations have been…

  3. People are saying that? GAH!

  4. Brad, I saw your post soon before you commented and I’m praying for you and yours… are there other places in Ruston for them to spread out to?

    I know that Katrina was an amazingly devastating storm, and I’m not trying to diminish it in the least, but the great storm of Sept. 1900 (or 1904?, I can’t remember) that hit Galveston killed a heck of a lot more people, and I don’t remember all the rich Texans who had summer homes there being considered unbearably sinful…

  5. I’ve been thinking that too, Kristen, when they call this the “greatest natural disaster to ever hit the U.S.” It’s just sensationalist journalism and it’s not really helping anything…all they keep describing is the worst things that could possibly happen, and it’s just making people here cry. The storm in Galveston killed 8,000 people, more than 4 times 9/11. Of course, we don’t yet know about this…Adrienne’s aunt is a nurse in one of the two functional hospitals in New Orleans, and she has not communicated a pretty picture for the few seconds she got to speak to her yesterday.

    Yes, there are many shelters in Ruston, Monroe, and they are continuing to pop up. We are, however, supplying aid to those who have been refused food and other aid by the Red Cross because they are not sleeping in one of their shelters. It’s been tough on these families because they’re trying to stay with friends and relatives, but I understand the Red Cross’s position…everyone up here is trying to be as generous as they can (“blood-drawing sacrifice” as we’ve tried to imitate our Lord), but at the same time, everyone’s poured so much into the first 4 days that they’re realizing that some kind of “rationing” is needed when your working with very uncertain and unstable resources.

  6. This is when Luke 13:1-5 comes in really handy, right?

    Christ, have mercy. On all of us.

  7. AMEN! Jesus makes the case in point…

  8. so we’re getting patients from Lousiana here at our hospital. We may admit as many as 3 just on my team alone. It’s bad.

  9. Yeah, they’ve asked NORTH CAROLINA for 550+ beds to house patients (at UNC, Duke, etc.). When they are looking for beds that far away, it’s pretty bad. But of course, some of those beds are for patients who were already in the hospital for non-Katrina related problems.

    I have heard reports that parents were seperated from NICU babies that have been airlifted to hospitals elsewhere and the staff don’t know how to find the parents and vice versa. :o(

  10. Duke is expecting patients at anytime…
    WakeMed, UNC, Rex are as well.

  11. MoveOn.Org has this site:

    (I’m posting this on all the southern blogs I visit. Not trying to spam people — just trying to get the word out.)

  12. People have a tendency to jump from what we can know for sure (God ordains calamity) to what we cannot know for sure (God ordained this particular calamity for this particular reason). That is, of course, problematic to a degree. But in another way, properly qualified, with a big ol’ speculation disclaimer slapped on, it may not be without merit. If not for sin, there wouldn’t be any suffering at all. And Scripture is replete with examples of God bringing specific calamity as a punishment for specific sin (plagues in Egypt, plague after David’s census). Of course Scripture is also clear (Job, the tower of whatchamacallit that fell on those people) that we may not assume that “Those People Over There are more wicked than I am because, after all, a hurricane didn’t destroy my home and kill my family.”

    Also, just as the prophets suffered when the doom they prophesied came to pass, so the righteous have often suffered when punishment has come to the wicked. That doesn’t negate the fact that the wicked are being punished, it just demands that we recognize that God is not so one-dimensional as to have only one purpose for any particular act. While we cannot know 100% that Katrina was a judgment against a wicked city, we can know 100% that it is a tool of God — a severe mercy — to sanctify our brethren affected by it.

    I think what some folks are trying to get at, however clumsily, is the notion that when calamity strikes, we must believe a) that God ordained it, and b) that He has a purpose in it. And believing, we ought also to examine ourselves to see whether we have need of repentance. Whether or not God is punishing them for their sin, I know for sure that the calamity is far less than what I deserve for my sin.

    (I’m half asleep, so if any of that was incoherent or just plain stupid, please forgive me and don’t yell too loud. I’ll try to remember to reread it tomorrow and clarify anything that doesn’t look right to me in the light of day.)

  13. I agree with you, Valerie. I just think it is (a) presumptuous (b) arrogant and (c) unmerciful to say such things in the midst of tragedy. That’s not our place. We’ve got a whole host of better things to do, such as pray and offer aid.

  14. It seems to me that we too often forget that when we commit one sin, we are guilty of all sin. So, who should have been spared from God’s wrath?

  15. I really appreciated Doug Wilson’s exhortation to his congregation on Sunday: Yes, Katrina was an act of God, but giving a cup of cold water in Jesus’ name is also an act of God.

  16. The best pastoral summary I’ve read is what Dr. Ryken said on the subject. Here’s an excerpt pertaining to this discussion: “…We respond with trust, believing that God is working his purposes out for our nation and our world. But this is not to say that we know what those purposes are. Is Katrina God’s judgment on America, as some have said — his punishment for an unjust war on Iraq? Or is it perhaps his wrath against the casino towns of Mississippi and the wanton depravity of New Orleans, as others are saying? But if that is the reason for all this destruction, then what shall we say about all the other godless cities in this country, including our own? And what shall we say about all the godly people whose lives have also been lost, and all the faithful churches that have been destroyed? These questions are better left to God, who alone has the right to say what justice and what mercy he will show…”

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