TWITTER, JAPAN, AND TRAGEDY

(WARNING–WHAT FOLLOWS MIGHT BE MORE OF A RANT)

I’m trying to get into the Twitter action (you can follow me @jamiedgreening) and one of the most interesting aspects of it is following people who keep me informed of what other people are thinking.  This twitterfication came through this morning and I’ve been mulling over it all day.

Tony Jones@jonestony Tony Jones

Maybe the most offensive thing ever posted at Out of Ur (a Christianity Today blog): http://bit.ly/ekbdtX

Well, I’m not really that easily offended, so I had to take a peek at what on earth this man was so offended about so I hit the link and read the post.  What started as curiosity turned into shock.  You can read it too at Leadership magazine’s blog site.   What was shocking was two long quotations of Christian ministry leaders in Japan who were referring to the earthquake, tsunami, and subsequent nuclear uncertainty as an “opportunity” for the gospel. 

As I read the post it reminded me of a pastor’s meeting I sat in almost ten years ago, just days after 9-11 in which pastor after pastor kept talking about how this was God bringing real revival in our land by breaking our hearts and destroying our arrogance.  I remember how horrified that thought made me.  It is ridiculous and arrogant to presume that tragedy for someone else is God’s way of getting peope’s attention.  Jesus talks about this type of tragedy in Luke 13:1-5.  Towers fall, governments oppress, earthquakes come, tsunami’s surge, and all kinds of bad things happen to all kinds of people:  the just and the unjust.  Our role as believers is never to see someone else’s pain as an opportunity but instead incarnationally to hurt and intercede as much as possible for them.  Pray for Japan, give to help Japan, and weep with those who weep.

Might some people come to faith in the Lord through this terrible time?  Yes, in the same way that the death of a loved one might cause someone to start asking spiritual questions.  But no one in the right mind would ever see the death of a loved one as a spectacular opportunity for the gospel.  Instead, we realize tragedy makes us think about eternal things and it might also help us realize who truly cares about us.  But our care must not be so that we may reap spiritual gains.  Our care must be because these people are human beings like us and their tragedy is our tragedy.  No man is an island. 

For now we pray and give.  There are many different outlets for giving, but click here for one through our denomination.

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