A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

With House Majority Leader Tom DeLay facing charges of ethics violations, House Republicans are preparing to make it more difficult to begin ethics investigations and could remove the GOP chairman who presided over the chastisement delivered to DeLay last fall. The pentagon is engaged in a debate over how much and wide should deception be used against other countries and their media, even our allies. Is this the values which were endorsed this year?

But on a more encouraging note, there's been a slew of articles on the religious contribution and cooperation in providing relief to the victims of the tsunami. A number of sites have raised the question of God's goodness with such a tragedy. If God is that which works for the good, then disasters which kill in such a staggering manner, shouldn't be seen as an "act of God". It's even possible to believe that there are events which go against and frustrate God's aims in the world. The question is our response to this.

As blog of the Grateful Bear makes an important point: We can see the hand of God in the response to the disaster, in the overwhelming display of compassion and support from people all over the world. We are all called to let that divine light within us shine forth, and to respond to events we can't understand with acts of compassion, not blaming. Harold Kushner also has a thoughtful response to the problem of evil.


At 3:37 PM , Blogger Jim said...

Thanks for pointing to Grateful Bear's thoughtful writing about God's place in the tsunami.

I've been extremely disappointed in the perspective of xians I've seen quoted in the press and websites responses (or the lack thereof) in regard to the disaster and its accompanying devastation.

My local daily carried a column from Knight-Ridder, a usually strong syndicate of newspapers with better-than-average reporting; this column, for the local religion and values section had an absolutely dreadful, ambivalent column about God's place in the events as they unfolded in SE Asia.


The columnist, Tom Schaefer offered little to anyone, xian or non, to make sense of the entire event and its aftermath.

I appreciate blogs like yours that seek to give depth to issues of sprituality.

As a lapsed (post?) xian, I no longer practice my faith in a traditional sense, but am still open and interested in all things spiritual.

At 8:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's a small offering to the person seeking a religious perspective on the tsunami's devastation. In times of loss and suffering, such as this, people seek meaning in the roots of their faith:

Upon hearing that anyone has lost his or her life, Muslims recite the short statement, "from Almighty God we come and to Him is our return."

Catholic Christians pray, "Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen."

Jews and Christians know from Ecclesiastes 12.7 "The dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it."

Hinduism says, "As a man passes from dream to wakefulness, so does he pass at death from this life to the next." (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.3.11-14, 35).

Buddhists have peace in the knowledge that "Man's real nature is primarily spiritual life, which weaves its threads of mind to build a cocoon of flesh, encloses its own soul in the cocoon….Just as the silkworm will break out of its cocoon and fly free, so too, will man break out of his body-cocoon and ascend to the spiritual world when his time is come. Never think that the death of the physical body is the death of man. Since man is life, he will never know death. (Seicho-no-ie. Nectarean Shower of Holy Doctrines.)

Let us pray in the tradition of our faiths — together — as God's family, to assist those transitioning to the spiritual realms and those dealing with the traumas of lives forever changed. And let us move forward together as one family.

[From prayers compiled by the Interreligious and International Federation for World Peace, c/o Frank Kaufmann: world_prayer@myway.com]

contributed by Joy Pople, jpople@upi.com


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