Preaching in Moore: Faith That Stands Up to the Storm

The residents of tornado alley are a religious people. They need that this Sunday more than ever

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JEWEL SAMAD / AFP / Getty Images

Crosses adorn a makeshift memorial on the grouds of the Plaza Towers elementary school in memory of the seven children who died during the devastating tornado, in Moore, Okla., May 25, 2013.

Churches across Moore, Okla., have transformed into disaster relief centers this week — the area is, after all, about as Bible Belt as America gets. The city website lists over 80 churches, and nearly a third are Baptist. Church after church has turned sanctuary into donation drop-off site, and lobby into insurance filing center or food bank. This Sunday, pastors are offering another type of assistance, one intended to feed the soul: preaching.

Pastor Ted Miller of Crossroads Church has led his 1,500-member church for only one year, and this is his first time pastoring a community though a tragedy of such magnitude. While none of his immediate church members lost their lives, all have walked through the valley of the shadow of death this week. Many families had children at Plaza Towers Elementary and faced the traumatic reality of little ones missing. Thirty-two families in his congregation suffered total or significant property loss.

Miller’s main Sunday message is to remind parishioners that the tornado’s May 20 destruction was not God’s judgment. Equating natural destruction with God’s plan can be a dangerous theological path to tread — God is not mad, he says, but rather the opposite is true. God comforts people in the midst of their grief. “God is our refuge and strength, our ever-present help in trouble, therefore we will not fear though the Earth should change and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,” he says, quoting Psalm 46. Miller also points to the New Testament book of Romans, in which the Apostle Paul tells of the Earth’s groanings. “The earth groans, weather patterns change, they come and go with climate changes,” Miller explains. “A natural disaster and an act of God are not the same thing.”

(PHOTOS: Moments of Hope in Oklahoma — One Photographer’s Story)

Miller has many stories of hope to share. Miracle after miracle happened last Monday, and the loss of life, while tragic, could have been far more widespread. There’s the man in his congregation who raced home to awaken his sleeping wife and warn her of the storm’s approach. They rode out the tornado in a closet. Another boy broke out of locked-down South Moore High School and ran two miles to Plaza Towers to try to find his little sister. He dug through the rubble until he pulled her out alive.

Rubén Cabrera is a teaching pastor at Iglesia Bautista de Quail Springs, a Latino church in Oklahoma City that has also been assisting with Moore’s recovery efforts. Their sister church, Ciudad de Dios, is located just half a mile from Plaza Towers. Cabrera had planned his sermon topic before the tornado hit, and it could not be more timely. “We read the Bible chapter by chapter, and this Sunday’s portion of the Scriptures is Luke 12:13-21, which talks about possessions and what our attitude should be toward material things,” he explains. “It is strange and it is by providence — I do not think it is coincidence.”

(MORE: Horror and Heroism in Oklahoma After Tornado Tears Through)

Material possessions can be blessings, he says, but they can become idols if people hold to them too tightly. That does not mean the church is not providing for people’s basic needs — pastors and volunteers have been working 20-hr. stretches, from 7:00 AM until 3:00 AM, to make sure people receive the clothes, food, and shelter they need. But Cabrera’s message is about the attitude of the heart. “The encouragement to the church is to put our trust in God because material things can be gone,” he says. “Where your treasure is, that is where your heart is.”

It is a message that Americans across the country can embrace as they remember the people of Oklahoma from their own pews. Even if the tornado and its victims aren’t explicitly mentioned, Moore’s theological messages will likely be present. After all, worshippers across traditions and throughout the country will likely be singing the old familiar hymns: “O God our help in ages past, our hope in years to come,” “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” and, the ever-poignant, “Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, it is well, it is well with my soul.”

MORE: The Lost Mementos of Moore: Tornado Victims Search for Family Photos

32 comments
Russell0931
Russell0931

Funny how we have a mass killer in Conn gunning down innocent children and Mike Huckabee gets on Fox News and tells everyone it it because we have taken god out of schools.  However now we have preacher men telling us that the same god had nothing to do with the killer tornadoes in the bible belt. hmmm

KeithWright
KeithWright like.author.displayName 1 Like

“Either God can do nothing to stop catastrophes like this, or he doesn’t care to, or he doesn’t exist. God is either impotent, evil, or imaginary. Take your pick, and choose wisely.

The only sense to make of tragedies like this is that terrible things can happen to perfectly innocent people. This understanding inspires compassion.

Religious faith, on the other hand, erodes compassion. Thoughts like, “this might be all part of God’s plan,” or “there are no accidents in life,” or “everyone on some level gets what he or she deserves” - these ideas are not only stupid, they are extraordinarily callous. They are nothing more than a childish refusal to connect with the suffering of other human beings. It is time to grow up and let our hearts break at moments like this.”  ― Sam Harris

KeithWright
KeithWright like.author.displayName 1 Like

"All knowing?"  If I knew that a plane which I built to carry children...absolutely knew this...to a hospital for cancer treatment, and promised that the children would be okay...but that the plane was DEFINITELY going to crash, and as it was falling down, that these children would be subjected to slow torture from a burning death...and I knew this BEFORE the plane was built, the service offered, and the children boarded...would I, should I begin the whole process KNOWING I would fail, the children would suffer horrible pain, and death...knew this would happen...would I go to jail for this?  What kind of a person would do this....but you say it is fine for God to know the kind of horrible death humanity suffers in the end?  We are told of the end in Revelations...that IS the way it is going to end...God knows we have no way out...he created us because he is a pathetic, self-obsessed, megalomaniacal, psychopath...only a disturbed being could put a species through this...and YOU think this is okay?

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@KeithWright Just be thankful that not all people is intelligent as you. For if there is no faith and hope for salvation, can you imagine a world where it is everybody for himself ? Say, there is no God and people believe it so, and this is the only life after which after death there is nothing, what is to stop people from doing what they want to do and that is make hay while the sun shines ? Can you even imagine where it is everybody for himself ? Just to satisfy your desire and want in this life, for you will not be judge here after ? Would you be satisfied in such life ? Just be thankful that there are still those who believe. 

KeithWright
KeithWright

@ReneDemonteverde @KeithWright I feel sorry for your lack of critical-thinking skills.


If your premise were true, and that the only source for morality is theism, then what prevents Atheists from running amok? How do you explain morality in non-Christians?

Christianity is the danger, not Atheism.  Christianity gives an evil person, the promise of salvation, whether they understand the concept of redemption.  They are told through television, articles, or street-preachers, that salvation comes from mere asking.  So, someone who rapes, murders, and steals, has free will to commit these crimes with the understanding that they merely need to ask forgiveness from Jesus ans the guilt will be washed away.  I was a Christian until I read the bible.  It accuses God of being human.  Revolting.  Only man could have created the god of the bible.  It appeals to man because they see themselves in it.  If anything, god would be a humble Buddhist and not a jealous megalomaniac who is so insecure in his divinity as to only create humans to worship him.  Sick.

zyx123
zyx123

God is good.  God is all-seeing, all-knowing, all-powerful, ever present.  Evil exists.  Logically (philosophically) those facts cannot all be true.  Yet (I firmly believe and have faith that) they are all true.  I am a Christ Follower.  But I am not a fundamentalist.  I have studied the Bible for many years and am not threatened by inconsistencies.  I believe they are present and can point to a great many problems with such things as dissimilar names and places which refer to the same things.  I do not believe the Earth was created in six 24 hour days. I believe carbon dating and even more sophisticated dating methods are correct in establishing that humanity has been on this earth for hundreds of millions of years.  Just as I have read the Sumerian Gilgamesh Epic and can see that there are amazing similarities between that account and the biblical flood story in Genesis.  There are also differences but the two stories are too similar to have originated separately.  The Gilgamesh Epic pre-dates the written biblical account by 1000 years.  There are also more than 100 other flood myths in cultures all over the world which are similar.  Still I believe that Christ is Risen and the Bible is divine.  And I believe the Bible is the Living Word of God.  It certainly does contain myth and many other literary forms like poetry, prose, legal contracts, songs, short stories etc.  The thing that makes it "divine" (IMHO) is that the Holy Spirit encrypted eternal truths in it which are divine.   Just as the Holy Spirit  must be present to decrypt many of those eternal truths if anyone is to see the scriptures as anything but gibberish.  Faith is a gift which can only be bestowed by the Holy Spirit (which I believe is Christ's Spirit).  I also believe the "Living Word" of God in scripture is not a complete and final revelation.  I believe God seeks to communicate with every soul on this earth, mostly without being heard or understood.  I have discovered that the practice of my faith through many years has (on most days) improved my openness to hear this voice (of God) which makes no sound.  Sometimes this Living Word is startling.  But always when heard correctly, it moves me toward perfection (meaning, what God designed me to become).  Life is a gift because we are given an opportunity to grow toward God.  And as we do, our love for each other unconditionally grows.  Our tolerance for the shortcomings and failures of each other become greater.  Because we realize that "there but by the Grace of God, go I."  None of us are any greater or valuable in the eyes of God than any other.  We don't deserve God's love.  We don't earn God's grace.  It is a freely given gift to all who will accept it.  Accepting it transforms us to become an earthly "transceiver" of the love of God.  Except when we're not receiving the signal of grace.  Which is most of the time for most of us.  We're like a microwave oven cooking with 10% power when we are new to this.  We're transceiving the signal 10% of ever second.  As we grow forward, our "faithfulness" becomes more efficient.  A person of faith who truly strives to follow in the Way probably gets to 60% or perhaps 70%, most of the time.  Still there will be times when we wake up in the morning and forget to be faithful.  That's why the "Practice of Faith" requires habits (like morning prayers or noon-time devotions and regular worship.  Yes, there are unbelievers and people who disguise themselves as believers.  There are believers who fall on their faces.  I'm one of those, though I don't fall as far as I used to fall when I do.  And since I have regular habits and routines to return me to the "Way," I usually get up faster than I used to.  Christian Tradition teaches that the 7 deadliest sins are "pride, envy, anger, sloth, greed, gluttony and lust." I would be surprised if any moral person would argue that those things taken too far do not tear us down and lead to a negative "place" in our own lives and to the way we relate to others.  I am not trying to change anyone's mind about any of this because I am convinced that faith is not a matter of knowing something.  I have a doctorate degree in my field, but none of my formal education taught me how to to solve the humanly unsolvable riddles which very basically boil down to "faith."  I have found that beyond the grace which produces faith in me, there is another quite bewildering gift.  It is "assurance."  Not all have it.  Somehow, I do.  I have assurance which is something that I have found really only benefits ME and anyone else who has received it personally.  It has enabled me to "know" before all other things that the statements I started this little article with are all true.  It's like everything else I learn cannot contradict it.  It's like placing a piece of paper on a copier and seeing something written on the copy that wasn't on the sheet you're copying.  It's already there.  Before the copy was made.  I don't worry about anyone finding Christ's body in a newly discovered tomb in Israel.  I know that won't happen.  Nothing will contradict God's goodness.  It's a fact that cannot be refuted (correctly).  I know that to some of you who will struggle through all that I've written here, I sound like a zealot, a dangerous person who may become unhinged and hurt someone in some way.  But I won't do that if I follow Christ.  Read the words in Red in the New Testament.  Read what we have as a record of his teachings in the New Testament, specifically the Sermon on the Mount.  Pray that the Holy Spirit will open the truth to you.  Seek and you will find.  That's all I did.  Then I took little steps and fell on my face until I discovered I couldn't succeed without a group of Christ Followers to walk with in the Way and keep me accountable to what he taught.  

KeithWright
KeithWright

@zyx123 When you read what happened at the Council of Nicaea (i and 2) that Mat., Mark, Luke, and John never knew Christ...that Christ never wrote anything down, that the whole premise is absurd, then you begin to wonder...then you study, then you become a Gnostic...that the WORD has nothing to do with God or Christ and everything to do with politics and control...but sheep are sheep...they merely follow...just what the church wants.  Blind faith.  /when you get your nose out of the book, then you finally see God..in Nature.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde like.author.displayName 1 Like

This is what atheists, non believers cant understand what faith is about. It gives you strength and understanding to go through life knowing that some of the things happening is beyond your control but that you know that at the end of the day, there is a God who oversees all things and a salvation that waits one who has the strength to see it through.


KeithWright
KeithWright

@ReneDemonteverde I have faith in God and the Laws of God (nature) It is the bible, written by man, that I have absolutely no faith in.  Only man could have created //god in his image...hateful, vengeful, prideful, mean, vindictive....My faith tells me that /god could never pull the stunts in Revelations...science tells me that.  Since God wrote those laws, I'm comforted that God didn't have anything to do with the tornadoes...they happened because of the laws of nature, not by the hand of God.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@KeithWright @ReneDemonteverde If you really have faith in God, you would have trust in Him. That what happens to you in this life is nothing compared to what you will receive if you are in His Grace in the hereafter. If you have faith in God, you would submit to His Will. 


KeithWright
KeithWright

"Equating natural destruction with God’s plan can be a dangerous theological path to tread — God is not mad, he says, but rather the opposite is true. God comforts people in the midst of their grief."


Read more: http://nation.time.com/2013/05/26/preaching-in-moore-faith-that-stands-up-to-the-storm/#ixzz2URRGzv6J


Hmmm. So one of the few Baptists who don't believe in the Book of Revelations?


I'm a Deist...and a Deist minister.  I believe that God created the Laws of Nature.  Period.  Since the Big Bang, our universe has worked perfectly based upon those laws, and since the laws are perfect, require no tweaking at all, by prayer or intercession.

I trust in these laws which, when studied, enable us to try and predict these natural disasters and plan accordingly.

God speaks in mathematics and equations which cannot be used to enslave or cause bigotry, and need no translation or editing from one language to another.  The laws never change, only our understanding of those laws do.

The very first page of Genesis shows us that the God of Relativity could not have created light on the first day, and the sun, moon, and the stars on the 4th. God could not have been all-seeing and ask where Adam and Eve were.  God could not have been all-knowing and put humanity through everything knowing that the outcome would have been His total failure in this experiment, using our lives as test matter...could not have created one method of salvation (through the Rabbi) and then change His mind and offer Himself (as Himself) as a "sacrifice" (how is it a sacrifice to live in Heaven for eternity, spend 30 years on earth, then go back home to Heaven...a SACRIFICE!?) ?

No.  God was nowhere during this storm except being used by religious charlatans to pad their bank accounts by using the fear of simple humans.

I can just hear Mike Murdock telling the victims of the tornado..."You didn't sow your seed of $2000 before the storm...and you lost your home...and all your possessions...NOW send in your seed money...I need a new davit for my boat on lake Kiawee and my private jet needs an overhaul.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@KeithWright Wow. God and nature. Man understand how nature works but will never understand the hows and whys of God.

KeithWright
KeithWright

@ReneDemonteverde @KeithWright Never hope to! That is the wonder of God.  I never want to see behinf the curtain.  Dorothy should have never looked.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@KeithWright @ReneDemonteverde Why is it that you and other non believers just cant let the people who suffered and yet still have hope and faith be ? They are using their faith to allow them to see through the sufferings they just experienced. Their burden is lightened by their faith and hope for a better tomorrow.  If your want to live in your dark world, go on. But there are people who sees a ray of light as a promise of better things co come.

LarryHollingsworth
LarryHollingsworth like.author.displayName 1 Like

I missed the outpouring of support for the community by the atheist community. I guess they left it up to the nasty church going folks (of all denominations) to do the work while they sat at home and complained.

KeithWright
KeithWright

You, sir, are the very same that Christ spoke out about.  Pharisee.

KeithWright
KeithWright

@LarryHollingsworth Since you missed it...http://foundationbeyondbelief.org/node/1780 http://www.weareatheism.com/donate/atheist-giving-aid-oklahoma-tornado-relief/, http://www.reddit.com/r/atheism/comments/1ez7yb/the_american_humanist_association_and_humanist/http://freethoughtactionblog.blogspot.com/2013/05/humanist-crisis-response-supporting.htmlhttp://freethoughtblogs.com/rockbeyondbelief, http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/06/opinion/sunday/the-blessings-of-atheism.html?hp&_r=1& . Sometimes Atheists don't feel the need to blow their own horn and try to sound self-righteous.  Sometimes they actually follow the Christ-preached message 

" Matthew 6:1-4
Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth: That thine alms may be in secret: and thy Father which seeth in secret himself shall reward thee openly.

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@KeithWright @LarryHollingsworth I thought you were a Deist. Now you are quoting the New Testament ? If you believe, believe fully. Just be prepared for the trials and challenges God may throw your way to test your faith.

KeithWright
KeithWright

Quoting within his frame of reference...if I didn't, I would sound stupid for quoting the Qu'uran, since he was a Christian, right?

StephenSwain
StephenSwain like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

Joe, That is not the message in this tragedy.  The message is this:  God is Love but Mother Nature, as she is called, operates by cause and effect.  The human condition has never been materially free from cause and effect, but spiritually, the Good News is that we are not what we eat, or wear or drive or want.  We are eternal spirits, housed in fragile earth-suits, longing to be as free as when we were first created in God's image.  Why not give up your bitterness?  Jesus is not leading anybody backwards.  Give up your bitterness, live in this moment, and look forward with hope and expectancy, as the people of Oklahoma are doing as they work through this horrible blow.

DeweySayenoff
DeweySayenoff like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@StephenSwain Generally very well put, except that one doesn't need to believe in any of the myth in order to do what you say people should do.  "live in this moment, and look forward with hope and expectancy, as the people of Oklahoma are doing as they work through this horrible blow."

There is unity and tangible support flowing into the area.  That alone gives people the hope and expectancy (I think you mean optimism) that they'll get through it.  No myths required.  It's merely a positive attitude.  Having someone REAL at your shoulder feels a lot better than having someone imaginary there.

And Joe makes a very valid point.  According to the often repeated and consistently maintained Christian myth, God is all knowing and all powerful.  All things happen according to His plan.  Those two themes are in EVERY sect of Christianity.  

The only rational explanation for events like this is that this tragedy was part of His plan - as are ALL of them.  In other words, everything good and everything bad is within His power to change, but if it's part of His plan he lets it happen because it is all part of the "Great Design".  He put it in so that it happens according to plan.   If not, if it WAS random, then God is NOT all knowing nor is He all powerful, which means He is NOT God as defined by the Bible.

The trouble with absolutes is that they can't be qualified and still be absolute.  Saying "we can't understand God's plan" doesn't absolve Him of the responsibility for allowing, or planning, the tragedies - big and small - we all encounter in life.  If it's part of the plan, God created the tragedies in the first place.

This is one reason I, personally, rejected the Christian faith long ago.  There were too many contradictions, too many absolutes and far and away too much hypocrisy involved for me to live with myself.  I could not make the "leap of faith" because I have a mind that sees that the leap is toward a belief that is patently irrational.  If I'm going to do something irrational, it needs to be based on more than empty promises of "eternal life".

I was six at the time.  My parents were not pleased.

My life is lived without invisible sky friends.  I have real ones upon whom I can (and have) relied when the inevitable random negative event happens.  They can rely on me as well.  I don't worry about what happens after death because I believe it's simply the end of all consciousness and self.  But I maintain a life that is fruitful, abide by the laws and ethics of my society, volunteer and aid my fellow man.  I am as moral as the next person and have never needed the threat of eternal damnation or the promise of eternal reward to be so.  I do it because it's how to best get along with people.

I remain optimistic about the future in the face of overwhelming evidence that we will not survive it because of clashes over politics and who has the best invisible sky friend.  And I do no worse than others of faith, and seem to be far more content with myself and my place in the world primarily because unless someone ELSE brings up the subject (like Joe or you, or evangelicals at my door), I don't try to change anyone's mind.

For those who have faith, the fact is that my live, too, is part of God's plan.  That He knows what our choices will be before we were even born.  This is one of the things I was told by the clergy of my parents' faith.  The illusion of free will in Christianity is just that - illusion.  You can't have a plan without knowing the steps that will be taken to get to wherever it is the plan is supposed to be taking us.  And if one's conversion to a faith has no effect on that plan, why bother putting up with the hassles, expense and attendant guilt?

Platitudes about what a mythological figure will do for us doesn't fly in a world where the places for gods and devils to exist grow smaller by the day.  It may be terrifying for some to think, as I do, that the "self" ends at death.  But imagine how much different human society would be if that was how "religion" actually worked.  No postmortem reward for living a life of austerity and deprivation.  No postmortem punishments for living a life of excess.  Life punishes those who live to excess by making it shorter, if you only have one life, austerity means it's going to be pretty awful (unless you LIKE awful).  No more suicide bombers (no promise of eternal reward), no martyrs for the faith (no point to it), no excess (it will kill you) no austerity (it's not a good way to live).  Eventually, you have moderation, reason and rationality.  You may make up stuff to turn man against man, but they will be based on things we can see - race, customs, traditions - all of which can be learned to be understood and tolerated if given enough time.  No more justifications for hating those who don't abide by your made up mythological rules.

Having faith in the actions of others who only sometimes let you down seems more reasonable than having faith in a deity who almost never answers your call - leaving you with platitudes and rationalizations like "it wasn't part of his plan" or "you'll get your reward when you die."

We can have faith in ourselves and be stronger for it, or  we can turn to some vague father figure whose aid is imaginary, whose existence is unproven and whose willingness to intervene in tragedy is constrained because he planned the tragedy in the first place, and beg Him to kick us again.

I prefer to stand with my friends, have faith in the kindness of strangers, take responsibility for my life - for my victories and for my mistakes - and face the uncertain future knowing that we likely will kill ourselves because our superstitions give us easy rationalizations to inflict death and destruction on others with different superstitions as we squabble over diminishing resources than believe in some pie in the sky nonsense that says EXACTLY THE SAME THING (Armageddon).  By doing this, I can actually fight to avoid that dark future by telling people that they are responsible for what happens to us.  There is no plan except that which we choose to do.  No one is going to save us except us.  And if we do nothing to stop it, it's on us that it happened.

A small difference in philosophy, perhaps, but trying to save humanity from the folly of its own superstitions is better than rushing head-long into the self destruction abetted by those same superstitions.   After all, being absolved for the "sin" of aiding and abetting our mutual self destruction because one was "saved" doesn't leave you any less dead than if you sat back and did nothing to stop it in the first place.

In the end, believe as you will.  No amount of reasoned argument will change your mind since the mind must first be willing to entertain doubt.  Faith forbids doubt.  But know this: No amount of argument on your part will change the mind of another, either.  Live YOUR life in peace as you will it and allow ALL others the same courtesy.  In short, unless asked, keep it to yourself.  You may not be aiding humanity in staving off our likely destruction by doing that, but you won't be harming it by abetting that destruction, either.

babycheeks
babycheeks like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 2 Like

@DeweySayenoff @StephenSwain My journey has been the polar opposite of yours. The first 32 years of my life were free of any religious or christian influence. My parents were good moral people, taught values you espouse, but free of any religious context. I never attended a church service or read a Bible until I was 32. Before then, I had pursued what both intellect and culture said was a good life. I had a law degree, a successful career, political office and was a millionaire before the age of 30. Nevertheless, the more I gained, the more I realized life must be more than what a person owns, drives, or the esteem others show him. You found hypocrites in the Church, I found them in the world. There, we all were pursuing wealth, power, even doing good, professing it was a good life, while inwardly we were all as empty as could be. We sought and received the respect of others while silently we concealed the fact we were filled with self doubts, joylessness and self condemnation. I played  a shameful  game of professing to be a success while concealing a gnawing witness with in that I was terribly flawed and my life had no significant meaning. Alcohol, drugs, sex were my self medication. Finally, at that age of 32,  I decided there must be more to life and began my spiritual journey. I got a Bible, lots of good books, and started to seriously see what Christianity really was.  I still was making lots of money and had public esteem. I was not "down and out". I was secretly  "up and out". After a two year spiritual journey I took the step of faith and embraced the Jesus of the scriptures. My life changed radically and the reality of that "myth" you allude to has proven his existence and worth to me repeatedly for over 30 years now. It is a mysterious thing to attempt to explain. Better experienced than understood. I also do not doubt your spite toward the hypocrisy that prevails among many professing Christians is justified. It is a fact and  has been among the faithful since the very beginning. Jesus himself said it would be so. But the world is also playing it's own game of hypocrisy, professing a quality of life and purpose they themselves have not found. I urge you to simply consider the possibility that there is more to life than you personally have experienced, that possibly others may have found something you do not understand and that it has produced much good for them and for others. Whether you admit it or not, that is a truth of this vast human existance, beginning with me.

JoeMartinez
JoeMartinez like.author.displayName 1 Like

One can not forget, that once people of color(not white) were not allowed in their church. With the large concentration of Baptist churches in OC you would have believed that their God should have spare their sanctuary, but instead they consistently get hammered by god's making. Has it not occurred to these folks, that perhaps God is trying to convey a message that he does not tolerate self righteousness, prejudice and or injustice and that no one will depart without paying for their bad deeds?

ReneDemonteverde
ReneDemonteverde

@JoeMartinez Just as black churches leans to black members,  Latino evangelicals lean towards Hispanics, and Korean protestant church leans toward Korean member {had the mistake of attending an ongoing Korean mass which I presumed to be open to all}. Most important is Christ Himself. You could communicate to God everywhere you go. You do not have to go to a Baptist organization or Church. God is everywhere for people to communicate. To point out that God should have spared people in Oklahoma because of the number of Baptist church, is forgetting that God challenges come regardless how pious or how bad you are. It is an individual test. Just prepare for an individual test that will surely come to each and everybody. Because God Himself will ask each and everyone of us the question, what did you do with the life I have given you.

mary.waterton
mary.waterton like.author.displayName 1 Like

@JoeMartinez

Or it could have been the "gay pride" parade that was held in Oklahoma City the day before the tornado. 


It's a fact that God doesn't like racism, but I can't find a precedent in the Bible for God destroying a city because of it. On the other hand, there is a well known story in the Bible (Genesis 19) in which He did destroy a city over tolerance of the homosexual lifestyle. 


Rachel421
Rachel421 like.author.displayName like.author.displayName like.author.displayName 3 Like

@mary.waterton @JoeMartinez God also calls on people to execute those who work on the Sabbath.  I pity emergency personnel should this part of the bible be taken literally.

Meanwhile, cherry-pick away at the parts of the bible you need in order to justify absolute bigotry.

2camaeb
2camaeb

hence the problem.....

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