Thursday, January 21, 2010

Should we try to make sense of terrible events?: Day 9 of News Fast

Jo Hunter Adams

I noticed that my usual sense of mild indignation at the "state of the world" is much diminished during these two weeks of fasting. It makes me think of the bumper sticker that reads "If you're not outraged then you haven't been paying attention". My sense is that there's a space for that outrage in short, action-filled bursts, but it's not helpful when it's a low-ebbing sense of frustration.

My perspective on the earthquake(s) in Haiti is also altered by the fact that I haven't seen pictures or read, as I would otherwise have done.

I wanted to share some thoughts I heard on the questions that one sometimes asks when such a huge, inherently unexplainable, tragedy occurs.

1. Asking "why?" is sometimes an attempt to insulate ourselves from recognizing our own vulnerability-- if we can suggest why something happened to someone else, maybe it'll feel less likely that tragedy hit us. But the reality is that hard times will hit all of us, albeit in different ways.

2. Asking "why?" cannot lead to anything good (a sense of peace, a sense of how to prevent future tragedy, etc). It'll lead to anything between paralysis and devastating pain.

As such, evil and tragedy are not to be understood, they're to be actively combatted.

Action, in this case, seems to mean prayer, money, and time.

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