Sunday, January 17, 2010
Religous People *&^% Up Everything
The title is a quote I read recently. More on that in a moment.
The occasion of the remark was that Pat Robertson made another embarrassing comment, saying offhandedly on The 700 Club that Haiti's problems are the result of a long-ago pact with the devil, and adding "true story." Really? I'd like to have a footnote for that. I wish Pat understood that he is giving ammunition to people who want to say that Christians are _________ (insert pejorative term here).
What I find most disturbing is not the actual comment. I mean--maybe some time in the past some people did do that--or thought they did. It is no secret that there is a great deal of occult practice in Haiti. Pat Robertson's comments are not the main point of this post however.
I made the mistake of watching Pat's comments on You Tube, and then the even bigger mistake of reading the comments (numbering well over a thousand at that time). They were, predictably I suppose, vicious, obscene and often completely false. For example, it is one thing to say that the comment was ignorant or stupid or whatever. It is quite another to say that he cares nothing for anyone, never gives any money to charity, and lots more that is, demonstrably, incorrect. Actually, Operation Blessing, the charitable organization that he started and donates to, gets very high marks from those who monitor the fiscal responsibility of non-profit charities.
But here's the deal. By the time I had read about 20 comments, I realized that there was a theme. The emerging theme is the title of this post. An alarming number of people apparently believe that those of us who believe in God are the cause of most of the world's ills.
People of faith have done plenty of damage over the years. Not that others have not, but I'm speaking of the camp to which I belong. I've written more than one post here about my frustration with what a friend calls "Christiandumb." I'm all too aware, these days, of how short we have fallen from what Jesus wanted his disciples to be.
However, I'm tired of the labels and the name-calling and the outright slander that is becoming the norm in a lot of places.
Listening to the radio yesterday, I heard several interviews with people in Haiti. Who were those people? They were World Vision employees, missionaries staffing an orphanage and feeding programs, people on humanitarian missions from a Bible college, and so on.
Are people who believe in God the only people who are involved in charitable persuits? No. But it's fair to say that they appear to be in the majority.
I will never forget the trip Ken and I took to the gulf area just days after Katrina devastated the coastal cities. Yes, FEMA was there, as was the Red Cross, and others. But the overwhelming number of people who were manning makeshift medical clinics and food and clothing distribution and much more were from churches. I was proud, during the exhausting week we spent there, to be part of the Church of Jesus Christ. I worked alongside Catholics and Lutherans and Alliance and Baptist folks. Convoy of Hope was there.
Again and again the locals said things like, "If it weren't for the church folks we'd have nothing." The disappointment with the efforts of many of the usual relief organizations was sometimes pretty bitter.
WE DO SOME THINGS RIGHT! Let's rejoice in that. And for those who believe we are the source of all ills, wake up! Let's go to a portion of the world that has had little or no Christian presence and see what we find.
We we believe in the gospel of Jesus Chrisst have so much more to do, and so much more we could do if we just would. But we are not the source of the world's ills.
P.S. The pictures are of Convoy of Hope staff and voluteers in action in Haiti. Convoy of Hope is the organization I mentioned in my previous post.