Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Why New Orleans?

Why New Orleans: A Meditation on the Hurricane offers another take on Katrina and her aftermath. Quote!

It seems to me that the appropriate Bible verses here are Luke 13:4–5, in which Jesus comments on the collapse of a tower in Jerusalem:

Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem?

I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.

We don’t fully understand why God permits natural disasters: only that this is a fallen world undergoing violent “birth pangs” as it waits for Christ’s return and the renewal of the perfection it had when God first created it. But it does seem clear that one of the purposes of disasters is to call us to repentance.

Are we seeing much repentance? We’re seeing a great deal of finger pointing and buck passing, partisan efforts to fix blame, grandiose plans to rebuild the shattered city, and whatnot. “It’s Bush’s fault!” “No — it’s the fault of corrupt, inept local officials who didn’t have a clue.” We’re blaming everybody but the bossa nova — but I don’t think we’re coming to repentance.

... and ...

We want our autonomy. When disaster strikes, the first thing we look for is someone to blame. That leaves the rest of us to carry on business as usual, look in the mirror, and feel satisfied of our virtue because we haven’t taken part in any street orgies lately.

News flash: You don’t have to revel in “Southern Decadence” to be a sinner. The little sins that we do without even thinking about them are enough to condemn us in the eyes of God’s law. Were it not so, there would be no reason for Christ to have gone to the cross.

Humility is never easy, and repentance harder still. But that’s the only way out. And if we’re too proud to take it — well, it won’t take anything as spectacular as a hurricane to make us perish one by one.

Read the whole thing here