Thursday, January 14, 2010

Haiti


Dear members and friends of Salem:

As people who understand what it is like to suffer the results of a terrible natural disaster, we're in a position to empathize with the people of Haiti as they dig out from the recent earthquake and its aftershocks. Thousands of lives hang in the balance this very minute. Ham radio operators in Haiti are just now beginning to make post-earthquake contact with the outside world. Rescue workers are making their way to Port-au-Prince any way they can. And we know that this is just the beginning of the rebuilding of this country and the lives of its people.

We can help.

Even if you're like me and unable to physically go to Haiti to help the people there onsite, you can do two things: pray and send money. If you think back to the desperate times after Katrina, you will recall what a great blessing it was when people traveled long distances to come to help us and when we received financial gifts to keep us going until we could get back on our feet. A lot of people selflessly donated money and time to help us. Now is our chance to show the same Christian compassion and charity to our neighbors.

While I was at seminary, we had many Haitian students and their families on campus as Haitian men studied for the ministry, prepared to do mission work, and worked towards the establishment of a Haitian seminary. This was a project especially dear to the late Prof. Kurt Marquart, who took a special interest in our Haitian brothers and sisters. As of now, many of our classmates are unaccounted for. Please keep them and all earthquake victims in your prayers.

You may have heard or seen Pat Robertson's claim that the Haitians brought this disaster upon themselves owing to some pact with the devil. This is simply nonsense, and it is a horrible witness of the Christian faith. Our Lord's response to Robertson's false theology can be found here and here. The same kind of things were said about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. The Church is to be a beacon of hope in such times, and we are to be unconditionally compassionate and loving toward these the least of the Lord's brethren - even as the Lord Jesus shows compassion, grace, and mercy to us.

Click here for a video from LCMS World Relief and Human Care director Rev. Matthew Harrison. Click here for a radio interview with Pastor Harrison on Issues, Etc. Click here to see how you can help, whether giving your time and talent, or by sending much needed money to help LCMS World Relief and Human Care carry out its humanitarian work.

To make a financial donation to LCMS World Relief and Human Care for relief work in Haiti, click here. And of course, please keep the people of Haiti in your prayers.

Lord, have mercy.

Pastor Beane

9 comments:

Paul McCain said...

Amen! Well said Pastor Beane. I posted your remarks on the FIRST THINGS blog site, Evangel, as a model of how a pastor addresses himself to this crisis, unlike that windbag Robertson.

Theophilus said...

Amen! Amen! Amen!

Rev. James Leistico said...

Professor Pless has this response to the "Why" question:
http://www.lcms.org/pages/wPage.asp?ContentID=706&IssueID=40

christl242 said...

You may have heard or seen Pat Robertson's claim that the Haitians brought this disaster upon themselves owing to some pact with the devil.

Pat Robertson is a loon.

Still, there is no denying that in the Caribbean and Latin America a dark syncretism lives alongside and under Christian symbols. The Carnival in Rio is hardly what I would call a public display of Christian propriety.

My husband, a retired police officer and former Marine was stationed in Haiti while he was serving. He certainly doesn't scare easily but he said some of what he saw there made his hair stand on end.

The type of animism that is seen in Florida, Cuba, Haiti, etc. and yes, in Louisiana is not compatible with the Gospel and I pray that some day the people living there will be freed by the true light of Christ.

None of my comments in any way is meant to deny that the suffering that Haiti is undergoing needs the speediest attention and relief.

Christine

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Christine:

Such things as animism and syncretism with spiritism are indeed found in impoverished places like Haiti.

In America we have a different kind of Satanism, of satiety, of the worship of entertainment, and the syncretism that binds Christianity to the theology of glory and of the worship of Mammon.

Same Stuff, Different Manifestation.

Pax!

Father Hollywood said...

Dear Paul:

Thanks for your kind words and for the forward. Let us keep all of our relief workers and those supporting them in our prayers. Pax!

christl242 said...

Such things as animism and syncretism with spiritism are indeed found in impoverished places like Haiti.

With all due respect, Father Hollywood, it isn't limited to the impoverished. It is said that Duvalier practiced it as much as the population he exploited.

There is also a difference in what you describe as takes place in the West. It's fairly easy to know by Biblical standards who is practicing genuine Christianity and who is not. Those who are enamored of this world will live accordingly.

It is the way Santeria is inculturated that makes it dangerous. For example, at my former Catholic parish we had a sister relationship with a black parish in another part of town. They had been enthusiastically embracing the traditions of Africa so when they celebrated in my parish their priest would offer the mass in honor of the "ancestors." A person practicing Santeria would know immediately what that means in the context of his own practice. It is not surprising that Santeria and Catholicism live side by side in Haiti and Latin America.

That's all I'll say about this.

Christine

Paul McCain said...

If, in fact, God specifically targeted Haiti for his wrath, Hollywood and Las Vegas better watch out.

For that matter, my own home is toast.

Please let's not go down this path of conversation on this.

Pastor Beane hit the nail on the head, and let's just keep in mind those texts he cited from our Lord.

christl242 said...

If, in fact, God specifically targeted Haiti for his wrath, Hollywood and Las Vegas better watch out.

No, no, no I am not at all saying that. I don't share Pat Robertson's views.

My point is that because animism is so deeply imbedded in Caribbean and Latin American culture they desparately need the light of the Gospel to lift them out of the prison of superstition it represents.

Period.

Christine