Hendrik Hertzberg has a Talk of the Town piece in this week’s New Yorker (an issue that, by some miracle, actually arrived in Charlottetown during the week it was published!) about the reaction to the tsunami in which he writes, in part:
The terrible arbitrariness of the disaster has troubled clergymen of many persuasions. The Archbishop of Canterbury is among those newly struggling with the old question of how a just and loving God could permit, let alone will, such an undeserved horror. (Of course, there are also preachers, thankfully few, who hold that the horror is not only humanly deserved but divinely intended, on account of this or that sin or depredation.) The tsunami, like the city-size asteroid that, on September 29th, missed the earth by only four times the distance of the moon, is a reminder that, one way or another, this is the way the world ends. Mans laws are proscriptive, natures merely descriptive.
Catherine and I have been considering a sort of “working vacation” in Ljubljana this spring. Somewhere in the back of my mind I thought “at least it’s far, far from the ocean.” Then this morning I read, in this blog from Ljubljana that:
Ljubljana has a serious history of earthquake’s hits. The first one took place back in 1511, and after that one Ljubljana needed to be partly rebuilt. Then, in 1895 a massive earthquake destroyed much of the city, razing most of it to the ground.
Like George Jones sings “There’s no place to run and hide, For He knows where you’re at, God’s gonna get ‘cha for that.” Or better more positively, we are safe nowhere, so we’re equally safe everywhere.
I read something similar that asked where God was in this whole tsunami thing. And the answer was that God was not in the disaster, but in the response to it, which I thought was wonderful.
Come to think of it, it feels like I read it on a blog. Oh I hope it wasn’t this one.
Yup — if God wants to, he’ll drop an air-conditioner on your head. Go about your business.
I’m always bemused by clerics who think God has to be everywhere, do everything, that He created the world in seven days and don’t even talk to me about Darwin and evolution and all that malarkey.
Suppose God just … started the ball rolling? Suppose he just said “Here you go … here’s this thing, called “life”. Run with it. Fill your boots. I’ll be in the tub.”? Is that such a small thing?
I mean … try doing better, in the best-equipped lab you can find, complete with particle accelerators or atom splitters or super-conductors or, like, bunsen burners n stuff. If someone, somewhere, can conjure up “life”, then I’ll call God a trickster. Until then, I’ll credit God for creating in us the capacity for good, to balance out Nature’s capacity to test us.
Oh please, do come and have a working vacation in Ljubljana. You will love it. And those earthquakes hit centuries ago, so don’t worry. I live in Ljubljana and can assure you that you will be as safe as anywehere else:))))))
You don’t have to go to exotic locales to find disaster on any scale…. Just live on the coast in PEI these days and you can watch 20-30 feet of shoreline get chewed away with every winter storm! Friends of ours in Alberton lost a cottage/shack near West Point just after Boxing Day — it was just carried away on the surge sometime during the night, along with several others and nobody has found wreckage etc. in the surrounding waters. Also heard Panmure Island, Basin Head and areas around Savage Harbour and North Rustico also got hit pretty hard.
And if earthquakes are your thing, the 1929 Tsunami hit these parts and central and southern New Brunswick have had magnitude 6 quakes within the last century. Enough to maybe make you think twice while going over wobbly pier 8 (or is it 6?) on the Confederation Bridge!
Depending what eon you’re planning to take your vacation in, you won’t want to take it on Earth, what with that asteroid that’s out there with our name on it.