Thursday, September 15, 2005

We deserved Katrina

I know that title may be offensive to you. So, I want to preface these remarks by saying that I am just as horrified and saddened by the destruction, chaos, and looting in New Orleans as you are. Like you, I've been praying for the poor people still trapped there. I've been glued to too. (Very compassionate, courageous reporting.) The heroic rescuers have my heartfelt admiration and applause.

My main premise in this article is that our country as a whole deserves God's judgment.

But first, please understand, I recognize that there are many good people in our country. The fact that individual people are injured or killed by an "act of God" like Katrina does not necessarily indicate that they were struck down for a particular sin.

Jesus, when responding to a natural disaster of His day, said: "Or those eighteen, on whom the tower in Siloam fell, and killed them, do you think that they were sinners more than all men that lived in Jerusalem? I tell you, No: but, unless you repent, you shall all likewise perish."

However, having said all of that, our country taken as a whole has done a lot to offend God. We deserve His judgment. If He does not sooner or later judge our country for its sins, He'll have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.

One thing you may not know is that hurricane Katrina hit right before a scheduled "celebration" of sexuality in New Orlean's French Quarter. "Southern Decadence" was supposed to be held from August 31 to September 5. It has been held annually for the last 33 years, attracting a crowd of 125,000 last year. Among other things, it features sex acts performed in the public streets. For more information, click here.

I can do no better than quote the prayer that Pastor Joe Wright prayed as the invocation in the Kansas State House on January 23, 1996. (For more background on the prayer, click here.)

"We come before You today to ask Your Forgiveness and seek Your direction and guidance.

"We know Your Word says, ''Woe to those who call evil good,'' but that's exactly what we have done.

"We have lost our Spiritual equilibrium and inverted our values.

"We confess that we have ridiculed the absolute truth of Your Word and called it pluralism.

"We have worshipped other gods and called it multiculturalism.

"We have endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.

"We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.

"We have neglected the needy and called it self preservation.

"We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare.

"We have killed our unborn and called it choice.

"We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.

"We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self-esteem.

"We have abused power and called it political savvy.

"We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.

"We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression.

"We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.

"Search us, O God, and know our hearts today; try us and see if there be some wicked way in us; cleanse us from every sin and set us free."

Now is the time for our nation to repent, not to simply try to rebuild. -- Daniel Bartsch

An anonymous reader's response:

"Dude you are scary. Just promise that you will leave the 'deserved cleansing' to God, ok? Btw, all i wanted was to buy some office supplies. I think i'll buy my stuff from a company who's main focus is in fact office supplies. People like you make me want to run from Christianity - not to it."

Dear anonymous: please understand, I am not calling upon anyone to become a terrorist to execute the wrath of God. God can carry out or withhold His own judgments as He sees fit, without any help from me or anyone else. (This is one place where Muslim theology goes wrong, believing that they have to help God cleanse the earth of infidelity.) The only "cleansing" that I am calling for is the personal cleansing of our own hearts, as we turn in repentance and humility to God. Hope that helps.

Another anonymous note:

"Maybe YOU deserved Katrina but WE did NOT........ by the way, who is "WE"? Is it Arizona? Is it Lousianna? Is it the US? Is it North America? Is it blacks? Is it whites? Is is kids? Is it adults? Ya right...... You tell me what "I DID" to deserve it? Or what the lady across the way from you "DID" to deserve it...... don't project your guilt onto others bud -try feeding the homeless or something....."

Dear anonymous: I think a more careful reading of my article above will answer your questions. (Did you read it or just see the link?) Our entire country deserves a "Katrina" -- including me. What did I do to deserve it? Repeatedly, systematically chose to go my way instead of God's.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Terri's Fight

Terri Schiavo has been murdered. I won't take the time to try to convince you of that fact if you have not already come to the same conclusion. If your only source for news is the major media networks, I can honestly understand why you might disagree. For some sides to the story that you may not have heard, visit Terri's Fight and WorldNetDaily.

The main point that I wish to discuss is why something like this could happen in America.


After all of the "due process" and "rule of law" has taken its lengthy course, wrong has been the result. How could our legal system, which is supposed to be the best in the world, produce such an incorrect decision? (Even if you do agree with the decision of the courts in this case--I do not--you can probably think of your own examples of major court cases that you felt ended on the wrong side.)

To many people, apparently including Jeb and George Bush, the "rule of law" has become the highest master. Whatever the law says is what they feel they must do, even when it goes against their personal beliefs.

It sounds like an act of integrity on their part. But it is actually just the Nuremberg defense in different words: "We were only following orders." Remember, everything Hitler did in Germany was "legal". They had a very orderly and systematic legal system. Very deadly too.

Well, you say, if "rule of law" is not the final authority, what is? That is the question that American politicians refuse to answer.

Without direct revelation from God, there is no other possible source for a binding, non-optional moral code. Ethicists and philosophers (such as Kant) have written treatises attempting to prove that it’s possible to find a universal moral code solely by the use of reason. It does seem plausible at first, until you really sit down and think about it. Most people, even atheists, agree that it is bad to hurt other people. But without God there is no authority to make that rule a rule. Why is it wrong to hurt others? Also, there is no way to specifically define “hurt” and “others”. Is it hurting someone to abort a baby? How about euthanasia for the old or disabled? If it is wrong to kill humans, is it also wrong to kill monkeys? Cows? Mice? Flies? Trees? Is it hurting someone if a poor man steals $10 from a millionaire? Is it hurting someone to destroy an embryo to use the stem cells for medical research?

Fortunately for all of us, God has given us a moral code in the Bible.

You might be wondering, “If men by themselves cannot discover or establish absolute moral laws, why do so many politicians refuse to acknowledge the existence or authority of God’s laws?” Because politicians, like most of us, would rather do what we want than what God wants. In order to justify our behavior, we rationalize it in our minds, seeking to paint the moral bull’s-eye around our own arrow. Most people can’t succeed in totally silencing their conscience, though, so they don’t draw the bull’s-eye with their own behavior right in the middle. That would be too obviously a manipulation of the target. Instead they draw it so that they land just inside the “good enough to go to heaven” line.

When we refuse to recognize any higher source of law than a human government -- regardless of whether it is a democracy or a dictatorship -- we have unwittingly opened the door wide to becoming another Third Reich or Khmer Rouge.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Your Tsunami

Sunday, December 26, 2004, started like any other day for the residents of the southern Thailand. Suddenly, residents along the coast noticed that the waves were receding much farther than normal. So dramatic was the departure of the water that fish were left flapping on the sand. Being practical (and poor), most of the people who saw this phenomenon did the natural thing. They ran out onto the beach and began grabbing fish as fast as they could.

Alas! All too soon, the maxim proved itself true: there is no such thing as a free lunch.

With one small shift of the earth's tectonic plates, well over 225,000 people were sent into eternity.

How life can change in the space of an hour!

However, there was one tribe of fishermen along the Thai coast that survived. "Knowledge of the ocean and its currents passed down from generation to generation of a group of Thai fishermen known as the Mokkien sea gypsies saved an entire village from the Asian tsunami. By the time killer waves crashed over southern Thailand last Sunday the entire 181 population of their fishing village had fled to a temple in the mountains of South Surin Island. "The elders told us that if the water recedes fast it will reappear in the same quantity in which it disappeared," 65-year-old village chief Sarmao Kathalay told the paper. So while in some places along the southern coast, Thais headed to the beach when the sea drained out of beaches -- the first sign of the impending tsunami -- to pick up fish left flapping on the sand, the gypsies headed for the hills."

But here's something interesting. On an average day (one without any tsunamis), 150,000 people die. Think of that! When factored in to 2004's death statistics, this tsunami will account for less than 1/2% of them -- a statistically small amount.

Your chances of getting hit by a tsunami are slim. But your chances of dying someday are grim. 100%. In a way, the story of the Thai is an apt metaphor for life. We humans constantly face the choice between grabbing momentary pleasure and gain (the fish) and obeying the instructions of an older, wiser Person, God (Whom we often think to be out of date!).aid, "How does it profit a man to gain the whole world, if he loses his own soul?"

Be ready. Learn a lesson from the tsunami victims. Yours could be today.