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Thursday, September 08, 2005

Saving New Orleans

New Orleans is a city with a rich tradition of music and food. It has so much culture and history that it must rise again. It will. But it won't be the same. It wil probably be better.

New Orleans also has a dark side. Filled with Voodoo religion, the debauchery of Mardi Gras, poverty, and gangs and thugs.

Is New Orleans a darker (eviler?) place than others in the world? Well, I don't know about that. It might be, but then again, who knew the Catholic Church would protect child-molesting priests? Darkness can be anywhere.

I am not trying to make a case that God punished New Orleans by sending Katrina. No way. I think that so much of what makes New Orleans such a great city is pleasing to God, and that whole line of thinking is weird to me anyway. But then I got to thinking - what if God is saving the city? What if God loves New Orleans so much that he wanted to start over with it?

I know this is not going to fly well with many people because their pain is so immense. At the same time, I have heard so many people say that they are not going back. Maybe I am naive or just don't get it, but I am really surprised at how often I hear people say this. Some people, though they have lost so much, have this sense of escape from New Orleans. Maybe it is a break from poverty. Well, not that they are better off in a shelter, but poverty is not merely about what you do not have, it is about not even being noticed. Some people, for the first time ever, are getting noticed and cared for.

I wonder if some people who were oppressed with poverty will get a chance to start fresh. Maybe they will have access to resources that they would not have any other way. Maybe the wave of compassion from millions of Americans will help them long term.

It is also interesting that many, not all, of the remaining people in New Orleans are criminals. Let's face it, there are people who looted because they needed something and then there are people who looted because it is what they do. They were thieves before Katrina and they are thieves after Katrina.

What if God arranged a situation to separate the majority of good citizens from the small, but dangerous, minority of intentionally and willfully evil people? What if the National Guard (who finally showed up) is their justice? What if God saved New Orleans from its thugs by compelling the people to leave where the thugs are, gather up the thugs, and then return the people to their homes?

Voodoo is not known to be a religion that honors God, at least not YHWH. I wonder if God made a statement to the Voodoo Snake that God is God and it is merely a wicked spirit?

I don't know any of this. But I do believe that God would be more interested in saving New Orleans than killing it. Well, I think He would be more inclined to save the people of New Orleans from the bondage of poverty, violence, evil religion, and debauchery than He would be to just destroying people.

The evacuess who have been oppressed by these powers of evil now have a chance now to do something different. Many, but certainly not all, of the systemic mechanisms that perpetuated their oppressed state in life have been disrupted.

Maybe God is saving New Orleans.

2 comments:

Hikingalong said...

As an employee of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, I agree with you. God will do a mighty work in the rebuilding of New Orleans. Yes, there is a lot of darkness and evil there but there is also a lot of good there too. The seminary is right in the heart of the city, a beacon of light in an otherwise dark place. As the city was swept clean by Katrina, many of our employees and staff lost everything they owned, but their spirits have grown stronger. They have bonded together with others from the campus who've lost everything and yet they still minister God's love to one another. Often we see our true character revealed in difficult situations. I am reminded of something a pastor said to me long ago...when you're squeezed, what comes out sour lemons or lemonade? I am waiting to see what God does when the seminary staff move back into main campus. I know he's got something big in store for all of us and many souls to harvest!

Hikingalong said...

As an employee of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, I agree with you. God will do a mighty work in the rebuilding of New Orleans. Yes, there is a lot of darkness and evil there but there is also a lot of good there too. The seminary is right in the heart of the city, a beacon of light in an otherwise dark place. As the city was swept clean by Katrina, many of our employees and staff lost everything they owned, but their spirits have grown stronger. They have bonded together with others from the campus who've lost everything and yet they still minister God's love to one another. Often we see our true character revealed in difficult situations. I am reminded of something a pastor said to me long ago...when you're squeezed, what comes out sour lemons or lemonade? I am waiting to see what God does when the seminary staff move back into main campus. I know he's got something big in store for all of us and many souls to harvest!