Haiti Horror

The Haiti pictures are so awful. Destruction everywhere. The odd thing is that this has hit the rich areas as hard as the poor areas. But with the poverty of the whole country the resources are non-existent. So the world will come to help. Christian relief will be there quickly since there is already a lot of mercy work going on.




Here is a note from one of my students about his brother. I found myself picturing what it would have been like to be in their place:

We wanted to send a quick update to friends and family about my brother Joel and his wife Rachel. Some of you may know that they have been living in Haiti since September working with Mennonite Central Committee. They were in Port-au-prince during the earthquake on Tuesday. We got word early in the morning after the quake that they were ok. They were able to call us from the US embassy. The details are sketchy at this point, but we do know that they were in their apartment when the quake hit (they live on the 5th story of a big complex) and the entire building collapsed to the ground. Somehow they survived and crawled out of the rubble during the night and made it to the embassy. Joel had a gash in his head and they both had scrapes and cuts, but it sounds like they are doing ok and were able to connect with some co-workers today. They are trying to find a way out of the country, but we don’t know when this will be possible.

Of course my theologian mind asks, “Where is God in this?” I find the NIV translation of Romans 8:28 correct: “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him.” God works in contexts like the Haitian earthquake to do His good work. But as I see it, the evil is not His working, Others agree with the NASB translation of Romans 8:28: :We know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God,” This reading is that in an ultimate sense the earthquake is caused by God for His good purposes.

Which ever is the case, may the LORD grant mercy to the people of Haiti as He empowers His people to express their love concretely.

BLOG UPDATE: I just saw the Op-Ed piece in the New York Times entitled “Haiti’s Angry God.” It’s here. The author concludes, “Why, then, turn to a God who seems to be absent at best and vindictive at worst? Haitians don’t have other options. The country has a long legacy of repression and exploitation; international peacekeepers come and go; the earth no longer provides food; jobs almost don’t exist. Perhaps a God who hides is better than nothing.” I pray that the LORD will be very present through the concreteness of His church. It’s just so overwhelming to get help there in time for all the needs.

Bruce & Cindy McMartin, friends and a Western alum, play a big part in ABC News video report here. Pat Robertson talks about a pact with the devil, but when I watch this report of spontaneous worship the YHWH, I find tears coming. It’s just astounding and somehow comforting that these people are so worshipful in the midst of tragedy. Watcht this


I’m in a season of working in reconciliation. I’ve done that for a long time, but it seems to be even more so right now. It’s in marriages, families, and churches. The work is really hard because the hurt and pain is very personal so the emotions are very high. Flight or fight, avoidance or anger are the responses in places of pain. Both ruin relationships. But while the avoidance and anger are present, there is hope. It’s when apathy comes that hope dies.

When there is sustained relational pain, Mary wants Bill (generic names) not just to know, but also to feel, how much she hurts. When Bill believes that Mary is intentional in hurting him, his anger gets savage. It can get overwhelming really fast.

The strategy I follow is to get each to speak their pain, preferably with full emotion, and the other to listen and reflect back. When people feel heard, a major goal is accomplished. The problem is that the second person often listens with denial or even disdain as the first is expressing pain. “It wasn’t like that at all,” is the internal response.

But things get to going well when Bill moves from what’s wrong with Mary to beginning to look at what he has done to damage the relationship. Then Mary feels safer to confess some of her own damaging things. When there’s no safety, Mary’s confession becomes fodder for Bill’s accusations. Mary isn’t about to make herself even more vulnerable in such a situation.

Things begin to go well when Mary begins to express concern for Bill’s pain and Bill can receive that comfort without going into self-protect mode. Then he can reciprocate, feeling safe that she won’t take advantage of his openness to demand more.

One thing I’ve discovered is that people don’t recognize the terrific pain that disrespect or sarcasm cause.  Our culture has lots of stories of the damage anger causes. But there are virtually none for the pain of disrespect. I’m trying to figure some out.

Of course all this is a strange task for me since I have my own failed relationships where there is nothing I can do to promote reconciliation. That is a great sadness, one where much prayer and doing nothing active is the best thing to do, hard as that is. So strange.

On a different note, I have been trying to evict squirrels from my Mt. Tabor house. I blogged my Thanksgiving fall. My still sore leg reminds me to be careful. Yesterday I surveyed the tiny niche beside the chimney where sparrows renew their annual nest. I love the sound of sparrow babies cheeping as parents come with food. Unfortunately, what I saw was the new squirrel chewed entrance to the attic. My ladder wasn’t long enough for safe climbing, so I called my friend Will. He closed up the niche with metal flashing. So neither sparrows nor squirrels have a place. Evil ruins good things.

I am praying for lots of things: reconciliations, Davis house, Christians in Egypt, finances for non-profits, wisdom for leaders, . . .