Minister Points to Old-Time Religion After Katrina
Katrina served to change one minister's church and faith focus from what he calls the focus of the "normal" American church toward a more ancient Biblical time - or a third world. On the first-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, Rev. Cliff Nunn, pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in New Orleans, will preach at a Marietta church.
"I believe one of our major roles as clergy is interpreting this event for the rest of the country. We need to go to where they are and encourage them to come to where we are. If I can get them down here and get them a scouting trip, I can tell people we have a mission field down here. We need all the help and support we can get."
Pastor Cliff Nunn said First Presbyterian Church in New Orleans lost 46 pews, 184 hymnals and 92 Bibles when water filled the sanctuary to a depth of two feet. Photo credit: Evan Silverstein. Caption credit: PC-USA
Katrina served to turn Reverend Nunn around after he saw what became of the people in his small parish.
....the storm upturned normal lives and so-called normal churches, he said. "The storm makes you into a church that is much more like the Old Testament image of the Israelites and the New Testament early church than our normal American church experience. There are people who are suffering and poor and who have diseases - and you don't typically have that in the normal American church. And so people feel like they have been made abnormal. I used to have some poor people in my church. Well, now I have a whole bunch of people with a whole set of problems."
What he says here reminds me of the Biblical references to lepers.
It doesn't matter to the volunteers who've traveled to New Orleans and the Gulf Coast - Republican, Democrat, church, religious affiliation - people who are willing to help their fellow men and women in New Orleans are finding their "own circle"...and this circle reminds Reverend Nunn of the earliest Christians at a time when the passions were pure and the motivation was nothing more than the message of love.
At the most recent count, 1,836 people lost their lives as a result of the storm, with a further 150 still unaccounted for almost a year after the event. (some say 1723). Forty nine victims remain unidentified. Developers want to bulldoze the areas where the poorest populations resided. Many of those people are still waiting to get their possessions out of their condemned apartments.
Outside the tourist areas, New Orleans seems ghostly a year after Katrina. Shopping plazas are boarded up in empty parking lots. In one article, a comment was made that "ruined belongings are still piled up in yards, and it looks like a week has passed since Hurricane Katrina, not a year."
Less than half of city's 450,000 population have gone back to their homes one year after Katrina. Newsweek has a new article about where the storm evacuees are today. Many of the 25,000 to 50,000 evacuees in Baton Rouge, Louisiana today are uninsured, and hundreds are still living in FEMA trailer villages—unsure how to start anew, with no place else to go. A Texas state-funded survey released recently implies that most of the quarter of a million Katrina evacuees still living in Texas don't have jobs and nearly half live in households with incomes of less than $500 a month.
More than one hundred thousand Gulf Coast residents have been living in FEMA trailers, which recently have been the focus of health and safety concerns. In St. Bernard parish, nearly 1,200 families are still waiting to get into trailers that sit locked on their home sites but need utilities or other services and an additional 400 families who were made homeless by Katrina are still waiting for trailers. Until recently, FEMA was not allowing residents in FEMA camps to speak freely with the press. Some families have been waiting since last October for a huge pile of sand left by the levee break to be removed from their back-yards so they could begin to repair and rebuild. In some spots, the sand was higher than the window sills of the homes.
Eldo and Julia Allen's story is a testament to the kind of government failure that cuts to the soul's core. Say a prayer for them tonight as Katrina's anniversary draws near.
Psyche is defined as the seat of the faculty of reason.
George W. Bush says the American psyche is "strained."
Given the fact that Bush flatly refuses to campaign for the Republican candidate in Connecticut - just because Joe Lieberman supports the Iraq war - shows that Bush's own reasoning faculties are intact and that the psyche of the Republican National Committee is hard at their desperate work.
With his usual fuggly grimace, Dick Cheney adds to the psyche strain by blatantly suggesting that Connecticut voters are aiding the terrorists by having democratically chosen someone in the Connecticut primary who strips the emperor of the paper-thin veil of clothing he's got left.
The Bush administration has been a miserable and embarrassing failure in Middle East policy. And Bush blames the psyche of the Americans, in yet another astounding attempted escape from accountability, for his own responsibility for the faliure in Iraq.
The American people are smart enough to have reasoned it all out by now. If there is an effect on the American psyche, it comes with the innate ability to reason with which each human is potentially equipped by the Creator.
What Bush is really saying is: Americans aren't stupid. They see my complete failure. They're concerned. They're going to vote for Democrats in 2006 and 2008 because Democrats won't only bring tax relief to the middle class, they will bring death-relief, disaster-relief, and failure-relief.
Listen to the sweet voice of Mary Beth Maziarz singing A More Perfect World. This YouTube video is a creation by " mnemosyne23" featuring the characters Jim and Pam from an NBC show that I love - "The Office".
Note: The YouTube video is strictly from the creator's own artistic ideas, not an actual production of The Office show. Mary Beth's songs have been heard on TV shows like Dawson's Creek, Everwood, Beautiful People, and Joan of Arcadia