Monday, January 25, 2010

Some Thoughts from a Haitian Theologian

Here are some thoughts from a Haitian theologian currently teaching at Denver Seminary. Dieumeme Noelliste is president of the Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association, as well. He says: one story that has not been told is the loss of many Haitian pastors in the earthquake. Haiti had a great shortage of trained pastors before the earthquake. Many churches are now without a shepherd. The American church should know about this and think about what can be done to help.

Regarding Pat Robertson's comments: His point that Haiti is cursed is really simplistic, very facile, and in fact, crude and rude. Haiti's early leaders spoke out against voodoo. Anti-voodoo campaigns were led by the church with the support of the state. So that kind of statement makes a mockery of the God we serve. Haiti is overwhelmingly Christian.

How can a country that has so much Christianity also have so much poverty? How can the two co-exist? My view: the gospel preached in Haiti has left a vacuum - has left the political landscape untouched. The church does not see its business as being a prophetic witness to those in power. The result has been a political sector left to its own devices. This is why the common people were the first responders to the crisis, not the government. This is the result of the gospel being truncated, emasculated, instead of confronting the powers that be to do what God intends for them to do: protect and enhance life.

I don't believe the earthquake will make people question God's existence or whether he is for us or not. Voodoo believers will think the voodoo god is angry and things weren't done to appease the voodoo god. This is not the first time disaster has come upon us. This may be the most brutal but two years ago we had four devastating hurricanes and even then the people did not turn away from God. The people have suffered many things at the hands of fellow Haitians and remained fast to God. Even during slavery, Haitians were treated brutally but were open to the version of Christianity the slaveowners were preaching. The slaves were even asking for more Christianity. I see the church in Haiti continuing to grow. In these situations, people turn to God. This is their only hope. (taken from Christianity Today live blog, Jan 21, 2010)

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