Friday, September 02, 2005

WWJF? Pt. 2: The Battle of New Orleans

I received a couple of good comments after my entry yesterday, from Carla and Chris. The article was written out of frustration with the way an event like the flood of the South really doesn't fit into preconceived theological schemes, yet in an effort to appear like we're on top of things, that our faith is only valid when it has all the answers (and people are looking to us for said answers), we jam an answer into the scheme like one more t-shirt into my already overcrowded second drawer. The people of New Orleans don't want to know how theologically astute we are. They want a place to sleep for the night.

In response, Carla said this:
"Great questions - and ones I believe do deserve an answer, other than "I don't know".Sure, there is plenty that we don't know, but there is also opportunity to share the comfort and peace we have - even in such horrific situations.Answers given ought to be delivered with great sensitivity - however - since many are just so heartbroken, they truly do require all the compassion in the world....
Now the question is, HOW do we answer that question?Instead of plastic theology, how about theology with feet - living what we claim to believe, and making a difference in not only the immediate physical needs down there (by giving - tons of resources listed all over on places to give) but also giving solid answers to legitimate questions.I believe we're to do both. I also believe when we truly do not have an answer, to be honest about it rather than speculate and/or postulate. "

Theology with feet. I like that. I took that as a challenge, and went to James White's site, where I found a link to help a Louisiana pastor and his congregation rebuild (here). It's easy for me to sit here and pontificate. It's much harder to do something.
We should give answers when we have them. Key being "when we have them." There also comes a point when we should embrace the ambiguity. We don't have to have all the answers all the time. Sometimes a tearful embrace can speak louder than a thousand treatises.

Chris said this:
"On a complete intellectual level (as people removed from the disaster) we could simply say that none deserve to live, and that God has wiped out plenty of others with floods (among other options are pestulance, plague etc.). Obviously this isn't what the people on the ground in theses devistated areas need to hear, or want to hear. We need to reach out to them, serve them, and meet them in their need. Discussing the deeper aspects of Theology is worthwhile, but choosing the proper time and context is also important (my emphasis). I prefer saying "let's talk about that later" rather than "I don't know" though. If they are asking the questions, I don't want to close the conversation, just put it on hold."

In the past 9 years three members of my father's side of my family have died- my grandparents and my aunt. I loved them dearly and still miss them. In response to their deaths some people immediately asked "were they saved?" Legitimate question, bad timing. Choosing the proper time and context is important.

And good Lord, do not say "I know how you feel" to someone if you don't know how they feel. Just don't.

4 Comments:

Blogger T.S. Hendrik said...

First of all thanks for the comment you left on my blog. My computer has stopped me from posting more as of yet.

Looking now to your blog. I like a lot of what you have to say. I read some back ones but I'll comment just on the new orleans one.
I agree that We shouldn't be feeding them prechewed genuflections. Instead We should be living out what we were told. we should be giving water to those who thirst. feeding those who hunger ect.
We stand a better chance of showing people Christ if we follow his example and not just say God punished the sinners.
However questions will arise from all sides. When they do We should like we're told, be able to give an answer for faith.

Oh and as a side question. Do you like Steve Taylor? I read a post of yours that made me wonder.

11:57 PM  
Blogger Sean MacNair said...

Yes, I like Steve Taylor. Very much so.

7:51 AM  
Blogger T.S. Hendrik said...

Way Cool.
Steve Taylor Is awesome. I can't wait for his movie to come out.

4:24 PM  
Blogger Sean MacNair said...

He's been working on a movie for years. Is this St. Gimp, or did he start a different one?

I have a bootleg of him singing "Pass It On" to the tune of "Born To Be Wild." Awesome.

4:37 PM  

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