in the hebrew scriptures (or as some people call it, the old testament) there is a whole section of writings called the Nev'im. these are the writings of the prophets.
now a prophet's job was to be the voice of God, to tell the people what God wanted known. and do you know what topic the prophets spent most of their time on? returning to worship of the one God by taking care of the poor, the widowed, and the orphaned.
God's people consistantly turned away from God to worship other gods and in the process often forgot about those who needed the most care. repentance, turning away from sin and living in forgiveness was shown by rejecting other gods and taking care of those who society had little or no room for.
there were plenty of other gods back then. the world that the ancient jewish people lived in was pluralistic, just like ours is today. now i don't want to make this a conversation about pluralism. i believe in the christian God; that's who i am and how i live out my faith. i found love and acceptance with Jesus. i found my true self by being who i am as a person of the christian faith. i believe there is salvation in Christ, but i can't and won't condemn or judge anyone else for their religion.
that being said... i will speak about the gods of consumerism and greed and the downward spiral of destruction these gods can take us on. these are the gods we worship by accumulating stuff; mostly stuff we don't need that we get by spending money we don't have.
these are the gods that created a disaster in the wake of hurricane katrina. not that katrina wouldn't have been devistating on her own. hurricanes are mighty forces, destructive forces that aren't supposed to be pretty. except that i can't help but believe that there were things we could have done differently, as individuals, as a government, and as leaders in this country to fight the destruction that katrina brought with her.
i've been reading a lot of blogs about katrina; mostly because katrina is all we bloggers are talking about. and there is a lot of blaming going around. everyone wants someone to be at fault for what happened. so i've heard that katrina is the fault of the president, the governor, fema, gays, racists, democrats, republicans, and yes... even the fault of God. now really, what people are talking about is the response to the disaster, not the disaster itself. the destruction wasn't prevented and relief from the destruction was too long in coming.
know what i think? i think that the blame game is going to get us nowhere. what i want is for people to take some responsibility for the whole mess and yes, i include myself. see, i think we've all strayed from doing the one thing that God wants from us and that's to show our love for the one who created us by taking care of this world and it's inhabitants.
we have been worshipping false gods and that's what's gotten us into this mess. and before any of you think it, no i don't think that God sent katrina to punish us for our sins. i just know that i own five television sets while there are people who don't have enough to eat.
Jesus God Almighty, how can i blame a looter, who has nothing, for stealing a tv while i own five?
i want to be a prophetic voice in this mess. i want to turn back to God by doing something about poverty in this world and not just by throwing money at it and hoping it will go away and not just by voting for someone else in the next election and not just by reading or writing blogs about it. i want a plan of action and i am stumped; i just don't know what to do.
so i'm gonna pray. and i don't mean the cop-out kinda prayer which some people think releases them from the responsibility of actually doing something. i mean the kind of prayer that asks God to lead me to the place i need to be so that i can worship God in my action and in my life.
and in the meantime i will continue to speak out about poverty and the horror of it and i will keep preaching against those false gods of money and the accumulation of stuff. and i will vote in the next election. and i will share my thoughts here.
and... i will ask you to pray with me. pray that we might be led to change the way the world works.