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Posts Tagged ‘tsunami’

Japan

I don’t have the initiative to scan photos from my time in Japan just now (and my scanner is buried under paperwork I need to deal with before next Monday). And the photos would be irrelevant anyway: I was 17, the year was 1974, and there was no earthquake. The only dramatic thing that happened was Richard M. Nixon stepped down from the presidency and I watched it on Japanese television, feeling a million miles away from home.

I didn’t feel sorry for the President. That was a long time coming.

I do not believe the Japanese people have changed that much. They are a resilient people with deep-rooted traditions and a moral code to make any hell-fire Christian blush.

I remember mentioning this to my son last Sunday as we watched wave after wave of tsunami crash over villages and farmlands on the available videos online. My daughter-in-law expressed surprise, but Levi understood what I was saying: there would be no looting or stealing in Japan. Everything would be handled in a very orderly fashion because: Japanese people do not steal. They do not loot. They believe they are all in it together and they are going to take care of each other first.

I was not surprised when the American media began to pick up on that anomaly. What should have looked like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina or the tsunami over Indonesia looked more like a very organized and calm queue of people waiting their turn for ten items in the only surviving grocery store, for five gallons of gas, for bottled water. The Japanese (who survived Hiroshima and Nagasaki) are not about to lose face in the face of this newest disaster. They have their personal ethics and pride to maintain.

I was surprised at how quickly the hate rhetoric came out of the wood-work. God’s wrath. Heathen Nation. End Times. Judgment Day.

Wow. Really? Because the Shinto-Buddhist Nation of Japan puts the pseudo Judeo-Christian Nation of the United States to shame in how they handle a crisis. Kindness, order, and generosity are the order of the day in Japan. What do you think would be the order of the day if it was Portland, Oregon, that was just hit with a 9.0 magnitude earthquake?

If I was not already a believer in Jesus Christ, the rhetoric I have seen spouted from some of my Facebook “friends” would turn me off completely. Do we really think our non-believing friends and family understand terms like “End Times” or “Judgment” in any other context than WE are judging THEM? That our God is a hateful, murderous, spiteful God Who somehow has spared the American coast from a terrible disaster and has instead dumped it on an island people whose National moral code puts ours to shame?

There was the video (I can’t give you the link because YouTube has removed it) posted by some young girl who was “celebrating” because her fasting & praying had caused God to shake the earth and “wake up” the Nation of Japan to His Mercy. Babies, children, husbands, wives, sons, daughters – all dead because this kid fasted & prayed? Aside from the fact that a prayer like that is manipulative and all about “power” (and very unlikely to be answered by a loving God), just what does this sort of “witness” accomplish? Last time I read the Word, it said “pure religion is to visit the fatherless and widows” not to pray God would create the fatherless and widows. James 1:27

Glenn Beck claims the earthquake is a call to Japan to “follow the Ten Commandments”. Another “wow”: There’s no stealing, looting, rioting, shooting at rescue helicopters, or even cursing God from the survivors of the tsunami and earthquake in Japan. If that is not “following the Ten Commandments”, what is? And did Glenn Beck forget that God sent Jesus to fulfill the law that we could not follow? The Ten Commandments are nice, but they are so Old Testament and were replaced with “love thy neighbor as thyself.” (Galatians 5:14)

I have another friend on Facebook who is ranting about nuclear meltdown, chaos, are you ready, and make certain you’ve purchased your stock of potassium iodine. All in the same breath, it seems.

Let me tell you about ready. I am ready. If Jesus comes back tonight or I find out I have bladder cancer tomorrow, I am ready. I am not afraid. I am not running out and buying a year’s supply of potassium iodine to protect myself from the possibility of nuclear radiation drift (thus leaving some more needy soul without because – heaven forbid – they did not think ahead. Besides, doesn’t this remind anyone of the Y2K hype?). I have made my peace.

I’m no fan of nuclear power (I celebrated the day Trojan Power Plant went down in a boom and a puff of dust and smoke, thus ending Oregon’s greatest threat to my health).  I pray for the people of Japan, that this is truly not a melt-down of Chernobyl magnitude (not like they haven’t faced something similar before, like around August 7-9, 1945). And don’t get me wrong: I believe the Enola Gay was the only answer to the war on the Pacific front in 1945. It was a horrific thing to have to do, but talk to any survivor of the Death Marches on the Pacific Islands and the cruelty of the Royal Japanese Army of the 1940’s – and their single-minded loyalty to the Rising Sun – and you can draw your own conclusions.

What I am saying is simple: I am a Christian. I do not waver in my faith. I do not believe God pulled Japan out of a hat and sentenced doom on the Japanese because they are a heathen nation. I do believe the laws of physics and plate tectonics had a greater role in deciding who  got the great 9.0 this time around. It could have been us and we were not spared because we are 1) a Christian nation 2) so very good  and always obedient to the Ten Commandments 3) we back Israel in all things (ha!) or any other “luck of the draw” theories. We’re due. It’s simple mathematics.

Is it End Times? How would I know? I don’t. I just figure every day I get up I should be prepared. And every day that I get up, I recognize that I know fewer and fewer people who believe the way I do. And I want less and less for them to suffer because they disagree with me.

Jesus was not a political creature. That was Judas. I think Judas repented of is decision and he went to Heaven, by the way. I have a hard time imagining Jesus sending one of His own good friends to hell, even if His friend stole money from the purse and turned him in with a kiss on the cheek. Judas was just a man with a political cause who thought he was getting sold out and then realized the ones who paid him off were the ones selling him out.

But I also believe God takes all of our animals to Heaven. And you should see the arguments you can get into on a “Christian” forum about that – even though the Bible specifically mentions animals in Heaven and Jesus riding a white horse!

In conclusion, I want to say this: I am a believer in Jesus Christ. That was a hard-won victory for God. I do not believe God just rained down judgment on Japan: I believe sh*t happens (apologies to my sensitive friends and my mom in Heaven as she just rolled her eyes at me) to the good and to the evil, equally. I believe we choose how we deal with it and we should all take a lesson from the irreligious Nation of Japan as they dig into their Shinto roots to deal with this latest disaster on their small island. I do not believe Japan is innocent. I do not believe WE are innocent.

I do believe we are all in this together and we better reach out, regardless of faith or creed or moral code and help one another.

postscript – I know there are some grammatical & spelling errors. I’m too tired to go look for them. You figure it out.  AND – I love you all. My heart hurts for Japan. I have friends there. I do not know how they are because I lost touch with them over 30 years ago. But they are my friends forever.

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