Saturday, May 25, 2013

Tornadoes - a response from Rev. Adam Hamilton

Originally published in response to tornadoes in 2011, by Adam Hamilton, pastor of The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Kansas [Full article]:

The devastation left in the wake of last Wednesday night’s tornadoes is mind numbing. Mile after mile of homes, businesses, and schools obliterated; over 340 men, women and children whose lives were taken by the storms. This weekend millions of Christians throughout the affected areas will make their way to their churches, if they are still standing, looking for hope, strength and comfort. Many will also come looking for answers to the question, “Why?” I wonder what their pastors and priests will say to them?

Some will hear their pastors preach that God’s ways are mysterious and that “there are some things we just can’t understand.” Others will hear their spiritual shepherds call them to trust that “everything happens for a reason,” and that God’s purposes are being worked out through this terrible devastation, noting that it must be “the will of God.” A few will hear their leaders suggest that the death and destruction is God’s judgment upon the sins of these communities and that this judgment is meant to lead those who survived to repentance.

This kind of preaching is comforting to some, for it offers the assurance that “God is in control” and that the suffering is purposeful. Yet many others will find the assumptions behind these messages not comforting, but unsettling. The underlying idea is that God called forth the tornadoes and intentionally directed them to strike Tuscaloosa, Birmingham and so many other places last Wednesday night. They will wonder how God could intend the death of children, or the destruction of the homes and businesses of people who were their fellow church members.

But there is a different message many pastors will preach this weekend. [Full article]

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