August 19, 2019

Open Mic At The iMonk Cafe: The Falwell/Robertson Room Has A New Act

radiomicUPDATE: Greg Boyd on Piper’s tornado. BTW, my commendations on excellent behavior by all in the comment thread.

UPDATE: From long, but right on point: The Islamization of Christianty by Udo Middleman.

UPDATE: Some of my own thoughts on the ’04 Tsunami. Also, Halden Doerge: Why John Piper is Dangerous. I first caught the attention of the Reformation Police when I blogged about Paul Proctor’s announcement that God killed emerging pastor Kyle Lake. This was repeated by some bloggers that would surprise you.

UPDATE: Baptist Press takes a break from vilifying Piper’s association with Mark Driscoll to reprint his tornado theology.

Jerry Falwell said that 9-11 was God’s judgment on gays, feminists, abortionists and other sinners. (He later apologized.)

Pat Robertson has repeatedly told us that hurricanes are God’s judgments on the east coast.

More than a few preachers have said that Hurricane Katrina was God’s judgment on New Orleans. Which is apparently why it almost destroyed New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and left the French Quarter in place.

John Piper has chimed in before on what was going on when the Interstate bridge in Minneapolis collapsed.

Now Piper has written that a tornado in Minneapolis was a warning to liberal Lutherans about to vote on issues related to gay clergy. Here’s Pastor Piper’s original post.

When I was 13, I fell off my bicycle and busted a tooth. I won’t tell you what I was doing back in those days, but I got the message.

After you read 1 Kings 19:9-13 and David Sessions at Patrol Magazine, you can comment.

The open mic question of the day: How would you characterize this kind of comment? A bit excessive, but harmless? Arrogantly outside the lines of what any Christian ought to say in the aftermath of a serious or tragic event? Confused, but sincere? Proof that Job’s friends (“I know why it happened! I know!! Call on me!! I know!!) and not Job’s repentance (Job 42:1-6 “I’m shutting up”) are really the model for theology in the reformed camp?

Comments

  1. I’m especially thankful for the update link to Udo Middleman’s article. This was very eye opening for me. I’ve long been uncomfortable w/ the way God’s Sovereignty is portrayed in evangelical (and other) circles but could never adequately explain my discomfort . Even though I’m not entirely sure I agree that the viewpoint comes from Islam (though the pov is the same, I think it was derived independently of Islam) Mr Middleman’s explanations of *why* it doesn’t work in a Biblical context was very helpful for me. Thanks again, imonk!

  2. While I wouldn’t categorize this as harmless, I wouldn’t say it’s a catastrophic statement either, although probably closer to that end of the spectrum. I believe that Piper’s intentions are solid. He desires to call people to repentance, and that, by itself, is a good thing.

    However, it is clear that are other and far better ways to bring about calls to repentance, and I think Piper’s comments can have some significant negative effects for Christianity as a whole.

    While you, Pastor Spencer, are right that he probably won’t get the press that Driscoll et al would, statements like these have the tendency to make Christianity look foolish and lose credibility. Plus, it makes one question the integrity and usefulness of the rest of Piper’s works, especially among those who are first introduced to Piper by this claim. Why would they desire to read some of his good works after this?

    Pastor Spencer,

    There is a reason we have lamenting, grieving, questioning Psalms and books like Ecclesiastes and Job.

    There’s a place that our confidence in God’s sovereignty is expressed in silence. It’s nowhere to be found in this kind of theologizing.

    Amen and amen! It is also quite remarkable that there are far more laments than hymns/praises in the Psalms. That Lamentations was written with the meter of a funeral dirge in Hebrew only adds to its sorrow, an emotion the Gospel still makes room for.

    Blessings,

    BJ

  3. Most of you are clearly biblically ignorant and overlooking the fact that God sent Jonah to pronounce judgement on Ninevah and God sent his judgement to Sodom and Gomorrah!

    Jude 1:7 says,
    just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire,[1] serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.

    Piper was correct to see this as a warning and make sure the world takes notice.

    • I believe the apparent difference between the situation of the ELCA and the situation of Sodom is that in the latter case God himself, by revelation through his prophets and apostles, interpreted that event infallibly. The issue is that there are only two kinds of such interpretation of events in scripture: that done by uninspired men, which draws God’s condemnation, and that done by inspired men, which is limited.

      • You are right Brett!

        To make a statement like Piper’s requires infallible and inspired support. Piper has both of those because his perspective is supported by scripture. Here are four verses that show that sexual sin is met with just consequences.

        just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire. (Jude 1:7)

        If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them.
        (Leviticus 20:13)

        For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error (Rom. 1:26–27).

        or as Piper noted,
        The unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

        Granted the ELCA in large has not committed homosexual sin but they are heading in a way that permits it. Hence the warning that is appropriate to the message intended for them.

        • I think Ryan is right to the extent that all disasters should serve as a reminder to turn from sin in general, as all pain and devastation is a result of the Fall. All be it, there are tactful and loving ways to point this out and there are ways that aren’t.

          The problem I have with Piper’s comments and those like them are that they attribute a specific and personal sin to a specific disaster. As Brett pointed out God would need to show what His reason was for bringing about this specific tornado, and I for one do not wish to engage in reading God’s mind.

          Peace,

          BJ

        • you scare me, Ryan.

        • Christiane/L's says

          To: All who ‘visit’ the Piper/Falwell/Robertson Room to get in on the ‘Act”

          what’s with gloating over someone else’s sinfulness?

          Are we to assume YOU are sinless?
          Or YOUR SIN is somehow superior and ‘more acceptable’ before God, making YOU a judge of others?

          It smells mightily of hypocrisy: like the Congressional leaders and their shenanigans getting ‘caught out’ after playing so long to the base as ‘good Christians’.

          Enough. Clean up your own sin baggage. And repent of your judgmentalism.

    • Well, BJ you are right that there are ways to be more tactful, I’m sorry, I am constantly needing to humble myself especially when it comes to biblical convictions.

      I happen to believe that the gift of prophecy still exists and that God gives that gift to people to call them to repentance among other things.

      I think Piper has that gift, but don’t misunderstand I am not elevating him to a super human status, he certainly has his weaknesses.

      Consider this event as evidence of his prophetic gifting:
      Piper pointed to downtown Minneapolis and said (apart from what was in his notes), “A Bible study on the 36th floor of the IDS Tower with well-to-do business men is not mercy ministry, but it is crucial and valuable and necessary.” A woman came up to him after that service with joy in her face saying that she was visiting this morning and just that week had had a meeting with well-to-do businessmen on the 36th floor of the IDS tower about a ministry possibility and she came hoping for encouragement in the venture. She took it as an encouragement from the Lord.

      How could you say that something as specific as that is not prophetic? In my mind that kind of thing qualifies him to be more open with what God has put onto his tongue. If it turns out false, then he is the one that stands before God and answers to his actions but we (Christians) do not need to slam him for it. It’s more God honoring to say, “we will not take sin lightly because God does not take sin lightly” and Piper is just trying to remind us.

  4. While I find Piper’s expository work on Scripture generally pretty weak, I always thought that he had his heart in the right place. Now I’m not so sure about that either.

  5. I was just reading this article in Religion Dispatches:

    http://www.religiondispatches.org/blog/sexandgender/1775/lutherans_reap_the_whirlwind/

    …which makes the telling point that Piper’s God-in-the-Whirlwind theory does more violence to Lutheran theology, than their present wrangling over human sexuality and/or possible ways to accommodate the past few decades of theological scholarship and scientific study in that field.

    Perhaps it’s time we paid attention to the long held Orthodox complaint that Western Christianity both Catholic and Protestant has tended to reduce the Bible to a set of propositions and laws, whereas to them Scripture is Iconic – a place to encounter Truth, not to parse and package it.

    • Just found a quote which is often used in AA, and which seems apposite here:

      “The only thing you need to know about God, is that you aren’t Him”.

      I wouldn’t agree that’s the only thing, but perhaps it is the most important – as well as being a key reason why we should refrain from “venturing an interpretation” that is actually putting words in God’s mouth – our words, which say much more about us, than about God.

  6. I must say that after actually reading Piper’s original post, I do not find it as clearly outrageous as both Michael’s post and comments here lead me to expect.

    He points to an unusual weather phenomenon coinciding in both time and place with an apostate church action and speculates on it, in a pretty mild manner.

    If we really believe that God CAN intervene in this fashion (regardless of whether we believe that he USUALLY does), such speculation is legitimate, and is a far cry from the definitive pronouncements of the likes of Robertson. In that regard, Piper’s comments on the bridge collapse bothered me more.

    • Paul,

      I think I have to disagree with you. While Piper’s tone does not condescend to “holier-than-thou”, he seems to be doing more that just speculating. He begins by saying he will “venture an interpretation.” I take this to mean that he is making his statement, knowing full well that opposition is soon to follow. That is what the verb “venture” implies.

      He then ends with: “6. Conclusion: The tornado in Minneapolis was a gentle but firm warning to the ELCA and all of us: Turn from the approval of sin.” As Spencer pointed out at the beginning, there is NO admission such as, “I think,” “Perhaps,” or even, “Is it possible?” Again, this implies that he truly believes his conclusions and has purposely stated them in this fashion.

      In short, Piper is surely doing more than just speculating that it is possible God sent this storm because of ELCA’s position on homosexuality; rather, he is giving his interpretation of the events, which he holds to be biblically true.

      Peace,

      BJ

    • ProdigalSarah says

      But there was nothing peculiar about the weather system. Those of us who have been tracking Hurricane Bill have known for days that this low pressure system moving eastward would keep Hurricane Bill out to sea.

      John Piper was simply wrong when he attempted to make it appear the tornado was unnatural.

    • “He points to an unusual weather phenomenon coinciding in both time and place with an apostate church action and speculates on it, in a pretty mild manner.”

      This was NOT an unusual weather phenomenon for the midwest US this time of year. It’s the NORMAL weather.

  7. I’d characterize it as irresponsible and stupid, and one reason non-evangelicals think so lowly of evangelicals.

  8. Charles Roberts says

    After reading your post and through some of the comments, my next RSS feed to check was a Christian cartoonist’s sight “The Ongoing Adventures of ASBO Jesus” Serendipitously, here is today’s offering: http://asbojesus.wordpress.com/2009/08/20/774/

  9. Northeasterner says

    I guess I don’t see what is so clearly outrageous about Piper’s speculation.

    We know from scripture that God, in some times and places, allowed or caused disasters as a judgment on the actions of humans. What proof do we have that He cannot or would not do something like that in the present age?

    This outrage seems to depend on a worldview that rejects any kind of divine intervention in the physical world. I don’t think we can accept this as Christians.

    I don’t put much stock in Piper’s speculation or that of the ELCA liberals who put their own spin on the event. What seems to me altogether clear is that the ELCA has rejected the clear teaching of scripture on sexuality. Let’s not get distracted by the meterological sideshow!

  10. ”I know why it happened! I know!! Call on me!! I know!!”

    I really had to chuckle at this one. 🙂 That is just a brilliant summary of Job’s friends!!

  11. Actually, I am on the fence about this. As I said at another blog Piper’s comment reveals his own biases about what God was judging when the tornado touched down. He primarily believes it is over the acceptance of homosexuality. The thing is, the tornado hit a neighborhood that was full of poor people, mostly of African American skin color WHO HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE ELCA. You could just as easily infer from this that God was punishing the neighborhood for all the drug dealing that goes on there (and just for credibility’s sake I did live there, and that is no stereotype). Most of the victims are low income families–not very symbolic of homosexuality if you ask me.

    With that said, I don’t think it is wrong to believe that God sends judgment through calamity. Steven J Keilor’s book God’s Judgments lays out a case that we can appropriately think in such a way quite convincingly. The culture of our theological moment in history says that claiming divine judgment for the explanation of calamities is utterly ridiculous. Why? A little more than a hundred years ago, Abraham Lincoln said the Civil War was God’s judgment on our nation’s acceptance of slavery. We can’t imagine a leader saying something like this today, but even by today’s standards this comment sounds much more plausible than the Piper/Falwell/Robertson stuff.

    God’s judgments have a winnowing effect that reveal an almost poetic sense of justice. Throughout the Bible we see God actively judging the nations, first rubbing their face in their sin, and then punishing them by ending their influence or perhaps their presense in history. Israel as well as Babylon were subject to it, and the question is, why would God stop doing this today?

    So in short, I don’t want to dismiss the possibility of divine judgment, but I don’t think Piper’s comment is very helpful.

    • ProdigalSarah says

      Here is a link to a video that shows damage to the neighborhood. Honestly. Who can claim to know the ways of God so well that they would dare to make judgment.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1f9-INUhR4

      • ProdigalSarah says

        Actually, I conclude that God must have a special love for roofers and tree removal services.

    • Lincoln’s interpretation makes more sense because with not a little help from history we can see how failing to deal with slavery and its implications within the nation led to the conflict. It will sound oversimplified to say the nation reaped what it sowed but believing that we brought the judgment of war on ourselves for how we chose to handle the issues of race and slavery would have some braod precedent in how God providentially disciplined Israel by letting them do what they wanted.

      If Piper wanted to emphasize the ELCA going off the rails he could have used the verdict itself and not the meteorological event do do that. If it had simply rained would Piper have said God was crying tears of sorrow? What if it was a sunny day and nothing happened? Would Piper have said the burning fury of God was against the ELCA? For me the annoyance is that after doing such a good job of gently correcting Wilkerson’s doom-and-gloom prediction Piper turns around and does more or less the same kind of thing, claiming God is warning us of danger. Piper’s a fallible person and this is at least not a pronouncement as far gone as Robertson, Wilkerson, or Falwell but it would have been nice if Piper had simply not brought weather into things.

    • A war is different from a meteorological phenomenon. Tornados are caused by a confluence of events including fronts, lows, highs, prevailing wind patterns, etc. etc. Look at any given tornado and you can probably understand the natural causes that led up to them if you have the proper meteorological training.

      Wars are caused by conflict between peoples. In the case of the civil war, Lincoln wasn’t much wrong in his statement as to its cause. I would phrase it differently saying that our nation’s birth defect (or original taint) of slavery and the constant kicking down the road of the attendant problems had finally caught up to the US.

  12. Piper is correct that all disasters, man-made or otherwise, are a general call for repentance (Luke 13). Piper is incorrect to suggest that the Minneapolis tornado was somehow linked to the ELCA vote on homosexuality. A tornado is extrinsic to a church body vote, so without a certain prophetic Word from God that connects the two, we have no basis for doing so. Is it God’s judgment or a coincidence? We can’t know, and so we cannot speak with any authority.

  13. Imonk – thanking you for pointing out the details of Katrina and where most of the devastation occurred (i.e. the seminary, not the French Qtr.)…

    I’ve found it really interesting that Piper cites Luke 13 (the tower falling on some worshipers) which happens to be a passage where Jesus declares that those “unrighteous” that were punished by this calamity were no more unrighteous than the rest of us, effectively negating the theology that says God caused the tower to fall as punishment. It also amazes me that people defending Piper at David Sessions comments have been quoting Matthew 5:45 (…and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous) to set this in terms of God’s judgment when that passage contextually is talking about God’s blessing. The question isn’t “Why do bad things happen to good people,” it’s why do good things happen to bad people, which all of us are. It’s about his graciousness, not our worthiness ‘cuz we’re not… surely Piper remembers that?

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says

      …the details of Katrina and where most of the devastation occurred (i.e. the seminary, not the French Qtr.)…

      That’s because the Quarter (the original site of the city) is on some of the highest ground in the city and the Ninth Ward on some of the lowest. The higher you are, the more likely you are to be dry when the levees breach and the less likely you are to get hit by storm surge.

  14. If people spent more time in the Gospels, they’d see how Jesus responded in Luke 13 when He was asked about the Tower of Siloam, which had fallen and killed 18 people.

    I’m not sure how anyone can claim clarity in knowing whether God is judging people or not, but I’m hard-pressed to find any precedent for judgement through weather since the flood. Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire, but every other incident of judgement I can think of seems to *appear* to be more mundane: military forces conquered the nation under judgement.

    The O.T. pattern is that God sometimes sends a warning (Ninevah), or maybe not. The people in question repent (Ninevah) or they don’t. God judges in a way that nobody would recognize as judgement if we didn’t have the Bible telling us that’s what it was. And so on.

    But hey, let’s not bother looking at how God operates in scripture. Let’s just grab a verse or two out of context, or a story from Sunday school, and use it to bash our favorite targets. Better to pick on *those* guys (the fish-slappers of Ninevah) than ourselves (the Israel that has abandoned God, using His name only).

    I’m not Isaiah, and neither is anyone else I can see. I won’t presume to speak for God with such clarity, and it scares me that other people care so little about Him that they will.

  15. I wonder if the tornado had hit his church, whether he would have interpreted it as a warning about his theology. Nah, I am sure it would have been chalked up to the devil.

    • It’s always someone else’s sin! That’s what makes homosexuality such an attractive candidate as a sin to exalt above all others: very few (none?) just wake up one day and decide to be gay.

    • Actually, the more I think about it, I am sure he would still attribute it to God.
      Because, for a Calvinist of Piper’s stripe, who needs an enemy like Satan, when you have a friend like God.

  16. Here I go giving an opinion with surely much less thought given than Dr. Piper gave before writing his post, but here goes anyway.

    I think of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16), when the dead rich man asked to return to his brothers, who were still alive, and warn them to repent. Abraham responded “If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.”

    So the Lutherans already have clear passages of scripture that teach about homosexuality — if those passages won’t convince them, then a tornado won’t make the difference. But maybe if some are listening to those passages already along with opposing ideas, maybe a tornado could be a catalyst to cause them to listen more closely to scripture and how it is working on their conscience? So in the end it would not be the tornado that convinced them but God’s Spirit speaking through scriptures?

    It seems that would occur in their conscience, though, and be a subjective interpretation of the individual, based on his or her sense of “hearing” the voice of God. Maybe they wouldn’t be sure — maybe God used that Tornado to turn their attention towards Scripture and maybe he didn’t — but that determination wouldn’t be crucial in the end because the important thing is that I that they turned towards scripture. I.e. a squirrel runs in front of my car, which somehow jars my mind to remember that today is my anniversary. Did God sent the squirrel specifically for that purpose or not? In the end it’s not crucial — the important thing is that I remembered my anniversary.

  17. The idea that we should see disasters and tragedies as a reminder of our need to repent is fine. However, the idea that a specific disaster or tragedy is God’s specific message to a specific person or group of people about a specific sin is highly problematic. I don’t remember a Scripture that reads: “Thus saith the Lord: I will stretch out my winds and smite the steeple of the sons of Luther that they might repent of their meetings regarding homosexualty.” Speaking for God like that skirts dangerously close to blasphemy.

  18. I am not sure how disasters should be a call to general repentance if they have no specific significance as God’s will. Is the point that you don’t know when a tower with your name on it is going to fall over so you better be ready to die in a state of grace?

    • Yep. Tower crashes. We think “Oh, man, that could’ve been me under there. Am I right with God?” Disaster doesn’t have to be a call for general repentance, but it can be if we choose to use it that way.

      Really, disasters just happen. How they fit into the big plan of God is above our paygrade most of the time. And that right there is the problem: Christian leaders who think so highly of themselves that they issue statements on God’s behalf.

  19. Dan Allison says

    “Obed” has it right. All real tragedies in this world work as God’s megaphone — He is proclaiming “You need me. Come to me.” I’m very uncomfortable when we get any more specific than that about “weather theology.” In this fallen world, the sun shines and the clouds rain on both the righteous and the unrighteous, the believer and the unbeliever.

    I’m sorry to see that Piper has ventured into David Wilkerson’s territory. I like Piper a lot and I’ve been greatly edified by the extensive good resources available on his website. I hate to be a person who “takes sides” — I’m huge on the unity of all Christians — but I’d strongly encourage everyone to read N. T. Wright’s essay “God, 9/11, the Tsunami, and the New Problem of Evil.” It’s widely available around the Internet, and it’s the most Biblical and sensible thinking I’ve ever read about “weather theology.”

  20. Doesn’t it take as much audacity to say definitively that God was NOT doing what Piper says he was? Aren’t those who speak that way also saying, “I know what God is thinking, and this is not it”?

    The backlash appears more so that Piper tied it to what the ELCA was talking about, homosexuality and the clergy.

    • Doesn’t it take as much audacity to say definitively that God was NOT doing what Piper says he was? Aren’t those who speak that way also saying, “I know what God is thinking, and this is not it”?

      That’s really the point. You can’t speak for God for or against that. The principle of “General Revelation” says that creation gives a general message from God. E.g. that there are disasters etc. can be a general reminder of our mortality, relative smallness, etc. such that it naturally leads to some sort of awe, repentance, or whatever. The principle of “Special Revelation” says that when it comes to specifics, God speaks and has spoken in the Scriptures. The logical corrolary to that is that we ought not put words into God’s mouth. I.e. if it ain’t in Scripture, it’s likely us talking, not God.

      The backlash isn’t because of homosexuality and the clergy; it’s because Piper was presuming to speak for God in an instance where he has no area to do so.

  21. So that same weather system made it’s way through Ontario late yesterday as well. The resulting tornado north of Toronto killed an 11-year old boy at a day camp. Was his death secondary to God’s real purpose in creating this system or did the reason for the weather system change as it moved across the continent? Do you see the ridiculousness here?

  22. ProdigalSarah says

    I am a little surprised The Baptist Press is repeating the story. I can’t tell you how many Southern Baptist churches were damaged during the 2004 hurricane season in Florida. What were their particular sins? Too much gossiping in the church offices?

  23. God did all kinds of things in the old testament like natural disaters, plagues, etc. Jesus didn’t do stuff like that. I’d rather focus on Jesus than on the old testament God.

    We’re saved, we’ve got the love of Jesus, we don’t have to waste our mental energy on trying to square the natural disasters happening today with the things that may or may not have happened 4,000 years ago which were attributed to God. It makes us appear superstitious.

  24. Christiane/L's says

    Is there a particular name for the syndrome where a religious personality does things like Piper, Falwell, and Robertson?

    Or do these men simply sometimes exhibit a ‘lack of judgment’?

    How ‘serious’ is all this, other than the fact that it damages credibility?

  25. Christiane/L's says

    Addition to my comment: I do realize that the goal of their actions is to foster more opposition to the ‘sin of the month’ in their eyes. But, I think, when people end up as badly as Fred Phelps, you are getting into a very sick area.

  26. “We are under the New Covenant. Our duty is to announce the Good News that God has inaugurated his reign in the world through our crucified, risen, and ascended Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ. Our commission is to make disciples, to continue the mission of Jesus, who said, “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but so that the world might be saved through him.”

    Exactly, we are in the new covenant. God did all kinds of things in the old testament like natural disaters, plagues, etc. Jesus didn’t do stuff like that. I’d rather focus on Jesus. I thought he whole point in being Christian is so we don’t have to worry about all that old testament baggage. I can’t understand why anyone would want to dredge up all that old testament stuff.

    We’re saved, we’ve got the love of Jesus, we don’t have to waste our mental energy on trying to square the natural disasters happening today with the old testament. It makes us appear superstitious.

    If the Missippi river were to turn into blood, I’d probably change my tune.

    • Christiane/L's says

      “I thought he whole point in being Christian is so we don’t have to worry about all that old testament baggage. I can’t understand why anyone would want to dredge up all that old testament stuff.”

      Wow. Where did you get THAT ?
      Is that a particular denomination’s belief?

  27. As a person who lived through Hurricane Katrina and the subsequent levee failures, where devout grandmas drowned in their livingrooms, little children fell off roofs into raging water and people in wheelchairs sat helplessly while the water came up, I am really outraged that anyone would have the nerve to say that the weather is God trying to tell us something. If God were trying to tell us something through the weather patterns of the entire world every day, then God would make no sense.

    What happened after Katrina — how people sent aid and traveled from all over the country and the world to help us, to cry with us, to pray with us … THAT was God trying to tell us something.

  28. I was just speaking to a friend at the ELCA Churchwide Assemby and he pointed out that the sun came out the moment the announcement was made that the Social Statement on sexuality had been approved by the necessary 2/3 majority.

    No weather divination from him though.

  29. Whatever life brings us—financial success or natural disasters—our posture toward Him should always be one of repentance. I think it’s distasteful at best and heretical at worst to imply that we can interpret the news on God’s behalf. His ways are hidden and mysterious and paradoxical and to imply that we ‘know what He’s up to’ is just dangerous to every believer and particularly hurtful to those who now live with the judgement that has been proclaimed on them. I’m a member of the LCMS lutheran church and wholeheartedly disagree with what the ELCA is doing. They should repent and turn back to God—as should we all. We ALL are like sheep who have gone astray—whether natural disasters strike us or not.

    Thanks for a very spirited discussion and blog!
    Blessings to you and yours,
    edie wadsworth

  30. Doesn’t the Bible say God sends the rain on the just and the unjust? So how do people get to God punishes through natural disaster?

  31. Bill Morgan says

    “A cheerful heart is good medicine …..” Proverbs 17:22

    It is things like these that are medicine for my heart. I believe laughter is good for the soul.

  32. My neighbors are devout fundamentalist Christians and the wife has just had a relapse in her cancer and won’t live long. They wanted to sell their home and move closer to family for her last days but the deal fell through after all their belongings were in boxes. Their daughter is autistic and requires constant care that the mother will no longer be around to provide while the father works.

    Do you think this is a warning for me to stop smoking? Or could one of them be gay or something?

    • Christiane/L's says

      So, if we do what Piper says,
      no tornados.

      And if we don’t, we lose our steeples.

      Has Piper lost his steeple? This is nuts.

  33. is it any wonder?