Though the event displays the wonder of God and His creation, no minister can hand down an edict one way or the other whether a particular earthquake other than the ones foretold in prophetic passages of Scripture such as the Book of Revelation was an act of retribution and judgment.
Countless congregations no doubt heard from the hyperpious among their number how they were disappointed the quake didn't result in total destruction and that any not so eager for it all to end aren't even worthy of the chewing gum stuck under the pew.
In response to the earthquake, it has been admonished that it id God and not government that saves you. But should you need to be pulled from the rubble, is it the direct hand of God doing so or, in the vast majority of instances, is it more likely to be a policeman, firefighter, members of the National Guard or a group of average concerned citizens? Taking this mindset to its natural conclusion, is it therefore wrong to express gratitude toward parents if they do something good for you? Is it wrong to verbalize one's love to one's spouse if language can only be used in such an exclusivist and univocal manner? Furthermore, if we are to wait on the direct divine intervention of God to determine what happens to us in such calamitous upheavals, does that mean we should not seek medical attention during times of sickness or to even prepare a meal to stave off hunger?
If earthquakes are to be viewed as Godís judgment, is one sinning if one takes steps to save oneís life during such an event? Would hyper legalists such as Christian Reconstructionists and Dominionists advocating the perspective that natural disasters are to be understood as divine retribution insist that criminal charges be filed against those their elaborate spy network discover took steps to protect themselves?
Just because your family and spouse mean less to you than promoting your image as an uberChristian is not sufficient grounds for insinuating a lack of faith on the part of those that left work after the quake to check on loved ones and property.
A number of talk radio hosts and hyperpious individuals actually have their panties in a bundle thinking the response to the earthquake and hurricane indicate America is a nation of wimps. And what if we are? So long as you don't trample over innocent people or take any undue handouts, it really isn't anyone's business. If the President's life is valuable enough as to be guarded with excessive caution, then why can't the rest of us exercise such care and concern over our own lives?
Speaking in reference to the earthquake, a host substituting for Rush Limbaugh insisted Sarah Palin was more of a man for killing a feral ungulate on national television than most actual men. Real men donít get their undies in a bunch if a TV station doesnít have a bendy straw in a particular brand of bottled water.
In part of his condemnation of the response to the earthquake, the fill in for Rush Limbaugh ridiculed so-called helicopter parents who tend to watch over their progeny rather than hand them over for exploitation by assorted social institutions such as government, education, and I suppose the purveyors of intoxicating compounds such as booze and cigarettes. It most be noted that it is the parents that are the ones that are paying the bills and thus should have ultimate say as to the training of children and what risks their progeny should be permitted to take.
It's easy, as in the case of these various radio personalities such as Rush Limbaugh, to sneer down your nose at those that may have overreacted at the prospect of losing their homes when you no doubt own several fortified compounds scattered across the United States. Are those outraged over the nation's alleged lack of courage themselves willing to die to prove that Americans are not wimps?
Do those losing their lives and property think the calls for emergency preparation were overkill? Are these individuals any less dead because predictions regarding the intensity of Irene didn't pan out?
Do talk show hosts encased in padded studios out of the elements and the hyper pious criticizing "excessive" hurricane preparation intend to pay the expenses incurred in the next disaster by those persuaded by such orators that living up to some arbitrary affectation of machismo is more important than survival? Of course, some of the ostentatiously pious probably salivate at the prospect of a high casualty count in order to validate their rants regarding judgment and such.
Assorted foreigners are accusing Americans of self-absorption for paying attention to the coverage of Hurricane Irene rather than the uprising in Libya. Isnít it an even greater act of self-absorption to fly into a homicidal rampage when someone pokes fun at your religion?
A number of posts on the Washington Post website are lamenting the fact that consumers have stockpiled their pantries with "too much" food following Hurricane Irene. For starters, who are they to determine how much food is too much for your pantry? Can't the victuals just as well sit in your cupboard as on the store shelf? What these elitists really oppose is the notion that a food supply of your own makes you less dependent on whatever agenda they may be attempting to implement.
Technically, isn't it a form of borderline Humanism to assume that the earthquake and hurricane were primarily a response to mankind's behavior. God may have simply been focusing on natural processes, phenomena, and cycles with humans just being in the area when these events occur as a result of where we ourselves have decided to live.
It is interesting how those arguing that the Book of Revelation is not to be taken literally are among the most insistent that the hurricane and earthquake when He has not handed down any specific decree as to why these particular events took place. At least those crazed Dispensationalists can point to a text that definitively tells them which earthquakes in history are to be viewed as retributive in nature.
God sets the weather into motion. He's bright enough to realize why you might not have been in church last week. Church authorities might have the say so whether or not there will be services. However, you are the one that has the final veto as to what transpires from your house to the church. No need to harang a congregation if most thought it more prudent to remain home following a significant storm.
I don't see how it logically follows that if you did not go to church last week because you did not know what the conditions were from your house to the church that you somehow don't care about learning about God. Church will still be there the following week. I thought the strength of Protestantism was suppose to be the individual following one's own conscience in regards to unsettled matters.
If I will be declared a heretic for thinking that the quake was not necessarily God's judgment, so be it. They can add it as another charge at my Inquisitional hearing.
Frederick Meekins is an independent theologian and social critic. He holds a BS in Political Science/History. Frederick earned a MA in Apologetics & Christian Philosophy from Trinity Theological Seminary. Frederick holds a Doctor of Practical Theology through the Master's Graduate School Of Divinity in Evansville, Indiana. Dr. Meekins earned a Ph.D. in Apologetics through Newburgh Theological Seminary. His books are available in print and electronic formats through Amazon.com. His ministry site, Issachar Bible Church & Apologetics Research Institute, can be found at http://issacharbiblechurch.blogspot.com/. The Twitter page of Dr. Meekins can be found at