What follows here is a Christian response to Pat Robertson.
So, I was going to just focus on my kids, and their families because most of the kids I work with are of Haitian descent and are first generation Americans. However, idiocy from Fundamentalist Preacher Pat Robertson has forced me to do otherwise.
I am typing this and at first I was obstinately furious, but after reading Donald Miller’s response I calmed down a bit, and would like to take seriously the task of explaining why Robertson does not represent most Christians and their views.
I had felt righteous indignation boil in my blood, and a compassion overflow out of my soul. However, after feeling the effects of graciousness from Miller, and the responses of some of my friends, I decided to calm down and pursue responding to Robertson in love, and with gracious patience.
Here are a few things to consider:
1. Pat Robertson does not represent most Christians.
While some will surely use him as a way to denounce Christianity, we’re not all like that, in fact many of us are not like that at all. I’m in Fort Myers, and I know several ministries I participate with have mobilized to send relief, supplies, personnel, food and water.
You can help prove Christians are not like that with your prayers, support and general disagreement with Robertson, and also by living the gospel. Haiti’s biggest need right now is medical personnel. Medical personnel interested in going to Haiti can contact me if you live in the Fort Myers area or Chris Shepherd of CREW, or Todd Milby at Summit Church. The 4 major areas that the missions groups need money for are medical supplies, food, water and fuel. In fact they risk running out of fuel shortly without emergency funding. Donations can be made at Mission of Hope Specify “earthquake disaster relief.”
2. The statement itself is absurd, and does not accurately reflect the response of most Christians to this tragedy. Nor does it reflect a Christian response to the problem.
Most Christians are not heartless entitled white supremacists using theological language to back up their cultural biases. Most of us, simply care too much to make time to point fingers. We’re just everyday people who love and care for our neighbors, unfortunately that doesn’t draw lots of media coverage.
Many lives were lost, buried under rubble, including children and The Archbishop of Haiti and most of us are grieving this news.
3. Christians are not bloodsucking fiends who want to judge the world.
Most of us have better things to do with our time than presume America’s righteousness, and our own and go about pointing fingers trouncing around accusing people of sins. Some I’ll admit tend to do this, but they don’t represent the Jesus I’ve come to know through study, prayer, church community, the scriptures or the Christian tradition on Jesus. And as for some who might want to raise arguments about the Crusades, we all know they were wrong. The point is moot.
Let’s move on and together build a better Christianity, a better Religion, one that expresses the truth of Christianity. One that embraces ancient roots, as well as failures. Moving on doesn’t mean ignoring, that’s not what I’m saying moving on in this case means accepting failure, accepting the shame of things we did in the name of Jesus that do not reflect Him. I bear the name Christian because it was given to us at Antioch, and Jesus has shown me you cannot redeem anything you’re not participating in. Thus I bear the name with honor, and humility, showing people that while Christianity can produce a Pat Robertson, when divorced from the tradition and its emphasis on caring for the poor and love, Christianity can also produce a Mother Teresa, a Saint Francis of Assisi, a Pope John Paul II, a C.S. Lewis, and a Saint John of the Cross.
4. We believe in Good News, being neighborly and helping people in need.
Jesus tasked us with the message of GOOD NEWS, not bad news, not judgment and hellfire, but the good and acceptable year of The Lord. That good and acceptable year is now, the time of liberation is now. The time of freedom, love, and peace is now, if Christians will rise to the occasion and participate in The Mission. Our mission is a rather simple one when we boil it down. It is: Embody Jesus, Save the World.
That’s our mission, we add things to it because it takes certain forms and requires other things of us than that simple tagline sometimes, we engage in mini missions to help this mission get completed. However, this is the overarching mission. This is our task, this is our goal, and we love to do it. Embodying Jesus is our task, our goal, our mission, but it’s also our joy.
When we act like our leader, we find that we are more free than we could ever imagine, but we’re more inescapably bound to the needy and the poor than we could ever dream. We’re freed up to be of service, to embody the liberation that God is bringing with or without us, but he’d like to have us on His side, I’m sure. Jesus tasked Christians especially with remembering and caring for the poor, the downtrodden, the weak and the outcast, the forgotten. We take this seriously.
I mourn with those who have lost loved ones, and I offer up my prayers in behalf of the starving, the weak, the dying, the lonely, and the angry. I will not be satisfied until justice is established, and until redemption is manifest, not just in Haiti but in the entire world.
Where is God in the Haiti earthquakes? Right here. In these hands, in this heart, in these prayers. Where is God now? He’s not sitting on his throne contemplating His own glory and satisfied with Himself. He’s in each and every person across the planet, suffering, loving, working together. Christ has suffered our entire misery, and borne the depths of our own God Forsaken-ness with us.
In the cross God has truly given us good news about the world of chaos we find ourselves in. It’s not over.
In his memoirs entitled Night, Elie Wiesel recounts one of the most powerful accounts of suffering in our age. It is the story of how the S.S. sentenced a child to death along with two other prisoners due to a power station that the Gestapo suspected had been sabotaged after it blew up. As this happened a man behind him asked “Where is God? Where is He?” He recounts the following:
Then the march past began. The two adults were no longer alive. Their tongues hung swollen, blue tinged. But the third rope was still moving; being so light, the child was still alive….
For more than half an hour he stayed there, struggling between life and death, dying in slow agony under our eyes. And we had to look him full in the face. He was still alive when I passed in front of him. His tongue was still red, his eyes were not yet glazed.
Behind me I heard the same man asking:
“Where is God now?”
And I heard a voice within me answer him:
Where is He? Here he is–hanging on this gallows.
This is taken from Night by Eli Weisel. (New York: Avon Books, 1960) 76.
Wiesel recognized God in the suffering of the child. He saw a moment where God was in the face of that suffering child and recognized the Divine mercy of God’s immanence living in and with the child there on the gallows. Christians claim to have seen the same thing in Christ, except it’s beyond symbolic, it is God’s suffering. Christians claim that what God looks like among us is a patient, suffering teacher, who was crucified for loving others and teaching us what it means to be God’s people. He was raised again to undo the power of sin to destroy this world and has started His victory march across time and space in the lives of disciples who embody His work.
So where is God in the Earthquakes? Here he is, the drowned, the oppressed, the dying. He has not forsaken us, but drawn our entire human experience into Himself. He has not sat on His throne speechless, He’s shown us the cross, and shown how far he is willing to go to to show us He cares. The prime and ultimate revelation of the Christian faith is God with us, in suffering. In Jesus God has brought Himself into the world, and the world into Himself in such a way that his presence among us is truly bringing about a change in the whole order of creation.
I offer apologies for my brothers and sisters who might have dissuaded non Christians from the faith through other claims. This is what we believe.
So, all in all, I’m gonna put the resources where my mouth is, and hope to do some good. I ask you to do the same, whether Christian or not, there are dying people out there, people in need of food, shelter, clothing, medicine and fuel. Embody Jesus.
Just a reminder to dissenters, people who think that Christians are evil or have never done any good.
Christians look like this:
Not like This: