September 12, 2005

A New Perspective On ... Katrina

I had the opportunity to preach yesterday evening at Greenup First Baptist church, where my family has been members for a couple years now. I spoke on the reasons for Bible study. Midway through the sermon, I went off on a track that I didn't recognize from any of my preparation. I was talking about the importance of being able to give an answer to people who are asking. That's a theme of mine, as you can see from the verse in the graphic at the top of the page. An example I used was the number of people asking "WHY?" in the wake of the hurricane.

I didn't say what I've been thinking. I didn't say what I've read, or written about before. Here, as best as I can remember, is what I actually said

Whatever the reason, we have been given an opportunity to minister to people. As I speak, thousands of Christians are in the disaster area, giving and ministering. Here at home, we've had the opportunity to give to disaster relief as an act of worship and ministry to those who are hurting.

But, there were poor people in New Orleans before Katrina. We see them now, but they've always been there. We hear stories about people who have lost everything -- but the everything they lost could fit in the back of one of our SUVs. Why does it take a disaster for us to become aware of our obligation to meet people's needs? Why do we wait until something tragic happens before we are motivated to service?

When we place blame for Katrina, we must look to ourselves. Because it took a disaster for us to get out of our seats and minister to people who were hurting long before a hurricane named Katrina was even a tropical storm. And we should be ashamed.

It's odd -- I'd never thought of it from that perspective before. But as soon as I said it, I knew that it was true. I could tell from the reaction I got from the church. I could tell from the reaction in my own heart. We have the poor with us always -- why do we wait until a tragedy to begin to minister to those who are in need?

A group of students at NOBTS is eagerly waiting to return to their city to minister to the hurting. These are students who have had a heart for the city all along -- maybe now they can get the support that they need to make a tremendous impact on that city. My prayer is that the needs of the Gulf Coast will not be forgotten in another month, or two, or even a year or two. People down there will continue to hurt, and we need to continue to minister to them.

Posted by: Warren Kelly at 05:10 PM | Comments (1) | Add Comment
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1 I think of the tourists who were warned not to bring valuable personal belongings into the French Quarter. I hear disparaging words about the folk in New Orleans, and the 'sort of people down there'. I see our North American exodus to the sanitized, middle-class (read: affluent), suburban comfort zone... and I stop wondering why evangelicalism receives the bad press it gets. Ron Sider's writing moves me to be part of the heart-and-theologically-driven ministry to 'the poor'.

Posted by: -q- at September 12, 2005 05:32 PM (PVb0h)

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