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9.07.2005    |    Some humility is in order
Hurricane Katrina should be a wake-up call, a two-by-four upside the head. Not for the usual blame-game reasons of who didn't do what. Rather, to remind us that we are mortal. To remind us that we have failed, and will always fail. Hearings and investigations are promised, even before all have been rescued. This is merely a symptom; some of our officials seem more concerned about their precious reputations than about saving lives.

It is interesting that the single best take on our situation is provided by a former communist, and current oligarch: Vladimir Putin. The context is Jim Hoagland's column today, in which he relates his visit to Putin in Moscow, and brings us mighty Americans back to earth:
The feet of clay of a nation that has regularly vaunted its standing as the world's only remaining superpower have been in plain view in recent days.
How appropriate a simile; in the classic poetry of the Book of Common Prayer, "Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection into eternal life." Feet of clay certainly fits us. We, as a nation, were not brought down by a hurricane. We were, however, caught short, and many, many suffered, continue to suffer. We are, or should be, humbled.

The correct take is provided by Vladimir Putin. From the Jim Hoagland column:
"I look at this and cannot believe my eyes," Russian President Vladimir Putin said when I asked him Monday evening about Katrina's damage. "It tells us however strong and powerful we think we are, we are nothing in the eyes of nature and of God Almighty...We are all vulnerable and must cooperate to help each other."
"We are nothing in the eyes of nature and of God Almighty." Now, perhaps it was the translator, but I believe that Putin, as a believer (at least that's the impression he fosters, as having re-discovered the Russian Orthodox Church) meant, not that we are nothing in the eyes of God, that's clearly not true. We are in God's image, after all, and we know that His love for us is boundless (see how you'd measure up to the love in John 3:16). What Putin likely means is that we, as mere men, are insigificant in comparison with He Who Is.

We forget this at our mortal peril.

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About this site and the author

Welcome. My name is John Luke Rich, (very) struggling Christian. The focus here is Christianity in its many varieties, its fussing and feuding, how it impacts our lives and our society, with detours to consider it with other faiths (or lack thereof).

Call this blog my way of evangelizing on the internet.

Putting it differently, we're only here on this earth a short time. It's the rest of eternity that we should be most concerned about. Call it the care and feeding of our souls.

I was born Jewish, and born again in Christ Jesus over thirty years ago. First as a Roman Catholic; now a Calvinist by persuasion and a Baptist by denomination. But I'm hardly a poster boy for doctrinal rigidity.

I believe that Scripture is the rock on which all Christian churches must stand -- or sink if they are not so grounded. I believe that we are saved by faith, but hardly in a vacuum. That faith is a gift from God, through no agency on our part -- although we sometimes turn a deaf ear and choose to ignore God's knocking on the door.

To be Christian is to evangelize. Those who think it not their part to evangelize perhaps haven't truly understood what our Lord told us in Matthew 28. We must preach the Gospel as best we are able. Using words if necessary.

Though my faith waxes and wanes, it never seems to go away. Sometimes I wish it would, to give me some peace of mind. But then, Jesus never said that walking with Him was going to be easy...

Final note: I also blog as Jack Rich on cultural, political and other things over at Wrong Side of the Tracks

Thanks for stopping by.