Thursday, January 14, 2010

Our Hearts Must Go Out To Haiti

While checking in on Twitter to see what the response to Haiti was, I did not see Haiti listed at that moment. American Idol was there. No surprise. I think American Idol would be a top trending topic even if World War III were unfolding and missiles falling. What surprised me was to see Pat Robertson as a top topic. This was strange, until I saw what the buzz, or rather outrage, was about. It’s too bad he didn’t just cite, “The rain falls on the just and the unjust” and ask for help for these anguished peoples. Rather, he said in effect, they had it coming.

The wonderful service of Christians to the hurting and needy is well documented throughout history, from the Franciscans to the Underground Railroad to the Red Cross and the countless efforts of unheralded local churches. Sadly, history has records of other less noble responses to need. The Irish Potato Famine, but one example, resulted in the death of millions because Christian leaders in the British Parliament argued that the famine was an act of God and that it would go against God’s will for Britain to extend mercy by providing food to the starving. These are, sadly, historical facts and indeed damage the reputation of the church.

With embarrassment and pain I recall to mind how when the twin towers of the World Trade Center collapsed in 2001, more than one Christian rejoiced because it was a sign of the end times. I share this with a heavy heart because it is in such contrast to a central feature of Jesus' ministry, whose compassion for those who were suffering caused Him great anguish.

When Jesus saw suffering, He had compassion. Matthew 9:35,36; Matthew 14:13,14, 34-36.

In late 2007 I wrote about a young Iraqi War vet who, after returning from service, went into one of the very neediest ghettos of Port-Au-Prince to help a Catholic outreach there. To get a handle on how needy this nation was even before this week's quake, you may wish to read my blog entries titled A Baby Ripped His Heart Out and A Trip to the Morgue.

Let's be sober minded today and remember those who have been less fortunate than ourselves.


Christella said...

Thanks for blogging about this heartbreaking event. It's hard to believe how some Christians react to terrible events. My heart goes out to the Haitians.

My eye doctor is a member of Doctors without Borders and he goes twice a year to perform surgeries at no cost. A couple of organizations I belong to collect glasses for him to take when he goes.

I'm glad we can text contributions.

ENNYMAN said...

Thanks for the comment. It was hard to blog about anything else without giving an acknowledgement to the tragedy there. It seems like when there is an event of this scale of suffering, we can't just go on as if nothing happened. That kind of reaction tends to minimize things as if human sorrow were irrelevant.

I knew a Dr. Cortez in Minneapolis who did similar work in Haiti annually, and another doctor who does work in Madagascar. My brother, a psychologist, has gone fourteen times to South America to help people to become better counselors.

And even if we can't go ourselves, it is good to be able to support those who can and do.

Blessings and best to you.