I STEPPED OUT AND THE WHOLE WORLD FELL APART

As a man who grew up in Tornado Alley and now lives in Northwest Washington—home of slate gray and high winds, I found a lot of interest in the way the media covered the recent earthquake/hurricane situation on the East Coast.  For starters, had either of these events occurred anywhere else, neither would have received very much attention at all.  The only reason these seemed to matter so much is because ALL THE MEDIA LIVE ON THE EAST COAST AND THINK THEY ARE ALL THAT MATTERS.

Okay, I wrote that in all caps, and that was a little too strong.  I apologize.  I am actually not that convinced the issue is East Coast bias as much as  the media’s need for the next big story.  But for most of the time in which the “historical” category one hurricane was moving along the seaboard, I was busy with life.  I took Mrs. Greenbean away to celebrate our 18th Anniversary (horray—our marriage is old enough to vote!)  We spent two nights in beautiful Leavenworth and stayed at the best Bed & Breakfast ever.  I did keep tabs on my iPhone and Sunday afternoon after I returned from church I watched some of the coverage and I have searched the internets.  Here are some interesting things I noticed.

1.  The only voice of reason during the earthquake was coming from Shephard Smith.  Amazing—as he is usually the one who gets so super excited about things.  It is interesting to me that had this earthquake happened on the West Coast, or anywhere else for that matter, it would have made the “crawl” at the bottom but that’d be about it.

2.  What is this lunatic reporter doing?  Apparently the ‘toxic sea’ foam is actually raw sewage.

YUCK

3.  Michele Bachmann just flat-out makes me laugh.  I don’t think she meant anything spiritual or evil about this; but you can’t be saying things like this and expect to be understood or elected!

4.  Cliff Mass is the best weatherman ever.  I love his blog and I think he is very cool because he got fired from public radio (KUOW) for protesting weak math education here in Washington.  His weekend blog seems to have put things in to perspective nicely.

5.  It is curious that the name of the hurricane was Irene, when the word Irene in Greek means peaceful.  In English it is very common to refer to the “irenic sea” when the waters were calm.  I guess the people who named it either didn’t know that or, are highly ironic.

I am certain that to the people who live in these zones it was all very frightening and troubling.  However, things must be put into proportion and the overreaction of the media to things that happen all the time is very troubling.  The 24/7 news cycle is ruining our ability as a society to be anything.

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.