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.


Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

I love what you wrote. Yes it is time for us to wake up and make another name for ourselves.

Diane M. Roth said...

yes, very good. I know that there are some questionable practices in Haiti, but I also know that 80% of people are catholic.

I've been thinking about the fact that people think that Christians (and actually anyone who believes in God in any form) are the cause of all or most of the problems of the world lately. found out a former parish member is now an atheist. Have been having some on-line chats.

David M. said...

I had many different comments on my facebook page and quite frankly disappointed with the Christians who didn't come out and disagree with Pat Robertson but instead took the whole judgment perspective. It is intersting that after any major disaster, people are quick to pronounce judgment on those affected. Not much different from the Pharisees who wanted to know what sin resulted in the person's illness. I also saw it during Y2K where people I went to church with were convinced Y2K was God's judgement on America and they stored up goods and many said they would not share them because those that did not were being follish. When nothing happened these same people were disappointed.Perhaps its human nature to question why bad things happen but we'd be better off springing into action and being an extension of His mercy.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Judgement begins at the house of God. Did I read that somewhere?


"...they stored up goods and many said they would not share them..."


Being an extension of his mercy...remember the old song, "Just to be his hand extended"?

Ruth said...

"...reaching out to the oppressed. Let me touch Him. Let me touch Jesus. So that others may know and be blessed."

Since we will be judged the way we judge others (or as a preacher I heard said "God will judge our being God by God's standards for God" Yikes!), I find it very difficult to understand how any Christian leader can pronounce judgement on any group of people or circumstance. If only more people would be God's hands and feet rather than trying to be the Lord's mouthpiece...

David M. said...

Heard it in church Saturday nite when one of the associates before praying said we don't know why this happened, some speculate it is because of voodoo...

Why even bring it up? People are suffering-they don't need us condemning them also. (Not to say that there are not times when God calls a man or woman to deliver a difficult or prophetic word)but I don't think that is what he was calling these men to do in this hour.

Now I do admit I was quick to jump on Pat Robertson's statement without hearing it in context but Rev. Robertson could have avoided a lot of grief by praying for the people instead of speculating.

I know people ask why and they want to know but we just can't get inside of God's mind sometimes. Look at Job's friends as classic examples. They way I look at it-I have eternity to ask why but by then it probably wont matter:-)

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Ruth OUCH indeed! I'm going to remember that one!

David, I am not discounting that the overwhelming amount of voodoo has an effect. I think it likely does (why I think that is another story). But as you said so well here, why bring it up? Yes, there certainly might come a time when God does bring a prophetic word about this.

Evangelist David Olsen (amaing man) had some stories about what can result when there has been lots of occult practice...

I just had a conversation about how I have reali8zed I must become more comfortable with the questions and ambiquities in this life.

We do not have all the answers. Why do we so often think we must tryn to?

Ah, another post for another day!

much2ponder said...

Good post and good point. I don't have time to respond right now, but wanted you to know I stopped by and read, and then I read some more in the comments. This is a very good discussion going on over here.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

Diane, I heard a comment on the news (was only catching a snippet as I walked by the room, so don't know which program or who) that said, "Haiti is 20 percent ______ [I did not hear the word] and 80 per cent Catholic, and 100 per cent Voodoo."

I think it may be much like some parts of Mexico where the population is heavily Catholic but it gets mixed with other stuff, and a strange mix (like Sangria) is the result.

One of our professors from Trinity who had been in the Phillipines remarked, in a Cross Cultural Communications class, that in the Phillipines people who were Catholic, and Protestants too, saw no problem with mixing it all in with occult things that were part of the culture.

A Jamaican commented recently that "we all know that what Pat Robertson said was right. Everyone knows that about the Haitians."

Strange stuff. Doesn't change the fact that it is our responsibility to show love, mercy and grace....ah, I gotta get to work.

David said...

I had heard a similar quote that said Haiti was about 80% Christian and 50% voodoo. I have also heard people say that about Africa. During the day 50% are christians, 50% are muslim but at night they all are (whatever the indigenous religion may have been).

What I find interseting is that everything indigenous is wrong. I have many native american friends who express their Christianity in a native way. They use sage and cedar, they use their pipes to pray, they sing traditional songs, they use their native language to pray, they participate in sweat lodge ceremonies. There was a time that most in the church said that doing so was wrong. I even had a Dine brother told he could not wear a ribbon shirt to church because it represented a "pagan" culture. Another church told him he had to cut his hair. Many christian pastors tell their congregations not to go to the pow wows but pow wows are not even a religious gathering although there are some who would like to make it such. I spoke at an indian church in hayward and I asked the congregation-where would Jesus be this weekend? At the pow wow with the people.

I do not know enough about voodoo or african religions to make a judgment nor am I saying that all that is indigenous is good. We need to use discernment but we also need to sit and listen and when appropriate ask questions so we dont jump to a wrong conclusion.

Dont mean to ramble nor do I mean to hijack your blog but from personal experience I have seen many christians rush to judgment about things they dont know. More on that later:-)

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

No ribbeon shirts? No long hair?

I can't even comment on such foolishness!

No problem, DM, you didn't hijack anything. And I don't know if that remark was correct or not...just musing. And (blush) I said Sangria and I meant Santeria. That's the Caribbean religion, but there is a Mexican counterpart..

David said...

Too funny-sangria is a drink and the meake a great sangria soda in Mexico:-) There is a central american religion called macumbo which is probably a variation of different things and there are some others too.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...

The most fascinating missions/missionary book I ever read (sat up all night because I couldn't stop) is "Bruchco" formerly titled "For This Cross I'll Kill You." I HIGHLY recommend it. It is the story of Bruce Olsen, a young Minnesotan who God sent (compelled?) to go to the Motoloni tribe in Columbia. The story is really amazing, and the whole tribe comes to God...after many years. But one of the most fiscinating things is how he realized the "witch doctor" i.e. medicine man or shaman of the tribe was not an enemy but could be an ally. I'm not, by any means, saying this is always the case. But the wisdom and insght Bruce demonstrated when he realized that the man was trying desperately to HELP his people...well, it is amazing.

David, you'd love the book. Do get a copy if you haven't read it. I stumbled across it in the library years ago when looking for fodder for a missions paper. I'm pretty sure it is still in print.

Dorcas (aka SingingOwl) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
seethroughfaith said...

love what you wrote ....Quoting Brennan Manning

The greatest cause of atheism is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips, then walk out of the door and deny Him with their life style

that - I think -is what many of the negative comments perhaps were trying to say. it's time we lived as disciples :)