Pastor R. C. Blakes has two flocks in two different cities. On Sunday mornings in New Orleans, services are packed at his New Home Family Worship Center, which is working to get all of its ministry programs up and running two years after Hurricane Katrina.
Driving west from New Orleans along the water’s edge toward Mobile, Alabama, one sees that the boulevard stretching along the Mississippi coastline now has flora and fauna, but piers are ruined and homes are missing.
The second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina has come and gone, and the storm’s devastation continues to take its toll—sometimes in ways that are the consequence of human negligence, indifference, incompetence and just plain stinginess.
Wesley United Methodist Church is an active congregation of a few hundred members in Marco Island, Florida. A prime-location church only two miles from the Gulf Coast, it has ministries to homeless people, students and elderly people, and each year sends missionaries to Guatemala.
At a dinner in honor of a prominent guest, I was seated next to a woman who works for CBS.The tsunami had just struck off the coast of Sumatra with all its destructive force, and we were talking about the magnitude of desolation, the plight of the victims and the insanity of the event. She knew I was a theologian, so she broached the question of God. “Where was God?” she asked bluntly.
Evil should be mourned but not ascribed to any greater divine purpose
Jan 25, 2005
It is hard to speak theologically about the Indian Ocean tsunami without being banal or obscene. To say the event reminds us of our finitude or our inability to control nature is to mumble platitudes. To say God willed such devastation for some greater reason is to administer a theological slap to the tear-stained faces of all who mourn, especially the parents who mourn their drowned children.
New guidelines for starting Southern Baptist churches ask members of new congregations to affirm biblical inerrancy and male-only deacons. The guidelines, adopted October 6 by trustees of the North American Mission Board, do not apply to existing Southern Baptist congregations but can be applied to the 1,500 new churches planted by NAMB each year.
Pope John Paul II called for generous international aid to “our Iranian brothers and sisters” even as a range of religious relief organizations began to respond to an earthquake that claimed more than 25,000 lives in the ancient city of Bam in southeastern Iran.