articulating gratefulness

Someday when i grow up I want to be able to articulate my thoughts better. But until then …i just have to wing it.

I feel for the recent tornado victims here in Okl, but I’m so very bothered by responses of survivors!

The typical response here is: “God spared our child” , “We were blessed” and all i can think of are the ones NOT spared, NOT blessed;

crumpled bodies of children, never to grow up, never experience first love, or become a father or mother, or help to create a better world.

Are people so hard and calloused? Why not think first? simply say “we are so sad for all the lives lost, and also humbly grateful to be alive”

To say “GOD decided to spare our children” is to say to the mother who lost her child, “sorry, I guess God decided NOT to spare yours”


11 responses

  1. I agree Sohahi:io. People have forgotten how to be gracious and care for all instead of the selfishness we see and hear.

    May 25, 2013 at 11:11 am

  2. nyá:we Sakoieta,
    exactly! this is what concerns me too. When i hear it coming from self-assured “religious” people its even more troubling somehow.

    May 25, 2013 at 1:38 pm

  3. What you say is true. For those who escape death by a thread, it is easy to forget those who didn’t. I cannot fault those who thank God for being spared, but to imply that He was OK with the death of those not spared seems like using His name in vain.

    May 25, 2013 at 2:25 pm

  4. Hi Caroll,
    I guess I’d doubt thankful survivors would intentionally imply “God is ok with the death” of one child over another. The problem as i see it, is in the theology itself.
    When one child is considered “spared” by a direct act of God, but other children around them die, then with that same theology you’d have to say some were NOT spared by God. When you have “selective” sparing, then you have a god that takes one and leaves others for destruction, making God into a kind of fireman who can only walk out of a flaming building with one child, but not having enough will power, time, or strength to save all of them. You still end up with a god who is not doing what he’d like to do.
    To avoid that theological problem myself i simply would say “I’m grateful that my child survived, and i have compassion on these heartbroken parents who were not so fortunate.”

    May 26, 2013 at 12:34 am

    • I look at the situation that occurred in a very different manner. My understanding of Creation from a Mohawk perspective is that the trees were given the responsibility of controlling the winds so they would never reach such strength to hurt the human beings. But as humans continue to deforest more and more of the earth we are also the direct recipients of those actions and consequences. So my belief is that man in his greed for money gave the winds that power to do the destruction that they were never meant to be able to do and as a result many innocent people died or were hurt because of that greed and I offer great sympathy for all of them who were caught in the path of a 300 MPH twister. Consequences hit home and all are affected by that, it doesn’t matter whether one believes in a Creator that spared some and not others. The consequences were set in motion by loggers who have continued to deforest the earth long ago up to the present day and time.

      May 26, 2013 at 12:53 am

    • You have the same problem with the theology that people have had for millennia. It comes with the territory, all the way from Genesis up to Revelation. It is the idea that God is involved with our day to day activities. The Jews described it by saying He was a living God, as opposed to the gods who appear only in stories. It is what Emmanuel means, that He is with us not just in “spirit” but in a tangible physical way, and of course that is what the Incarnation means. But that is what leads to the problem. If He is active and involved in what goes on, He ends up with a lot of explaining to do. He spares some and He does not spare others, in other words. It has bothered people since the Jews were rescued from slavery in Egypt. The only explanation He gives is the Incarnation, that He became one of the ones He did not spare, and He leaves it at that. We can either trust, in the face sometimes of our feelings or experiences, that He is good even when He does not spare, or else not trust. That He takes one and leaves another for destruction is not a good description. Those who did not die in the tornado will die of cancer or a car wreck or something. We are all still in the burning building, dead or alive. But He is in it with us. That is what makes us – Christians anyway – hope, and it has to be either good enough reason or not good enough. For me personally, I want Him with me, whether He spares me or not, rather than not.
      I do believe, as well, that ultimately He saves everything He has made.
      Sorry for the long response but I figured I might as well try to explain what I think.

      May 27, 2013 at 2:55 pm

      • Hi Caroll,
        it appears that you’ve accepted the Bible as a representation of real history.
        As one who sees that humans can only report about reality as they “experience” it or as they comprehend it, and not what is ultimately real, i don’t have the same view of the Bible. You’re right though, theologians have struggled ever since the book was put together about what it means to believe it.
        I simply have come to a soft conclusion that no book assembled by humans is “holy” and even if it was “holy”, every individual would still interpret it and think they were getting the true holy interpretation when they read it. ANY book, or focus point one centers on CAN be a window to knowledge and wisdom…there is still “go to the ant!” that people read…but then…fail to do.

        May 27, 2013 at 3:40 pm

  5. I felt that response very odd as well. A sense of gratefulness and compassion is so different from the sort of arrogance that seems to accompany many organized religions’ views. The Mohawk understanding mentioned above is interesting and I do believe humans are creating consequences they fail to take responsibility for. What I also don’t understand about the “God spared us” response is? Where is the notion that omnipotent God also brought the tragedy down upon them in the first place? Is God a puppeteer who creates havoc just to show strength to spare some and not others? I don’t think so.
    I agree, Sohahiyoh, the problem is in the theology itself.

    May 27, 2013 at 3:02 pm

    • I agree with you Caitlin,
      Sakoieta’s response resonates with me, because its coming from longhouse ceremony itself, even mentioned at times in the ceremony essential “thanksgiving address”. One may not see trees as literally keeping tornadoes at bay…BUT when forests are torn down by greedy men looking at the earth with lust, as simply a mine to extract resources to sell to get rich, they degrade who they are as “true human beings” and begin to act as lesser human beings, and for that there are natural consequences. In our creation stories the Boy of FLINT tried to make people but they were more like what we might call “zombies.” These old stories can represent DEEP truths which we ought to pay attention to.

      May 27, 2013 at 3:47 pm

      • Agreed, Sohahiyoh, If only we could get back to the noble occupation of becoming “true human beings.” There’s a battle going on in this age between the “true” and the “lesser.” It’s not so simple as the Dems vs. the Repubs at all, it’s a much deeper battle than that. Thank you for all you do to bring values of the earth into our lives. I love your artistic expressions in clay, etc., too, BTW.

        May 29, 2013 at 2:52 am

  6. Thanks Caitlin! 🙂

    May 29, 2013 at 4:26 am

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