oh the storms our mouths can cause

oh the storms our mouths can cause May 27, 2013
the storms our mouths can cause cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward
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My cartoon and post last week “Other Tragedies in the Wake of the Tornadoes”, referring to the theological pronouncements following the Oklahoma tornadoes, got a lot of traffic.

Most of the time I assume theologians mean well and that they believe their intentions are sincere. But being well-meaning and sincere doesn’t seem to prevent harmful things from being said.

John Piper’s tweets are still stirring up a storm. I’m not satisfied with the explanations he and his team have put out. It is, after all, consistent with his theology that God uses tornadoes to warn and punish. Rachel Held Evans offered an apology for her reasoned response to Piper’s tweets that in my opinion was humble and kind but unnecessary.

And Wolf Blitzer’s asking an atheist, “do you thank the Lord?” has received lots of attention.

The comedian Ricky Gervais, after learning that many stars were sending their prayers to Oklahoma, responded, “I feel like an idiot now. I only sent money.”

Care should be taken when famous people open their mouths to make theological statements. I just did a cartoon the other day when the pope announced that even atheists are redeemed and then Catholic theologians followed it up with some fine backpedaling. This incident has raised the question of whether or not Pope Francis is a heretic.

I have to be sensitive and aware of the impact my work and words can have on people. For example, the other day I posted a cartoon “Women Should Carry Rape Insurance?” (TRIGGER WARNING: rape scene). It hurt some women who had been raped and they asked me if I could please provide a trigger warning next time. Advice taken. It was insensitive of me to post that cartoon without a warning.

Yes, our mouths can create their own storms.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Jesus knew this.

    He said, “It’s not what goes in the mouth that defiles a person. It’s what comes out.”

  • Adam Julians

    In the link you posted Racheal Held Evans said “Piper’s tweet was vague enough that I don’t know that he was necessarily saying this point this time. Maybe it wasn’t the best time to call him out.” Piper’s explanation was “My hope and prayer for Oklahoma is that the raw realism of Job’s losses will point us all to his God ‘compassionate and merciful.’”

    I like Ricky Gervais’s quote! :).

    I wonder what the intention was in Piper’s quotes? Was it to point to a compasionate and merciful God? My concern would be for attention to be drawn away fomr the more important needs of tornado victims and hijacked for the purposes of either a conservative agenda or anti-patriachal rhetoric.

    Perhps Piper was inappropriate with his tweet. I would be asking what he meant by it – hard to discern from just one tweet. I’m not familiar with his theology about God usnig natural disasters for punishment. Maybe his theology in this is inapprpriate, maybe it is inappropriate. Maybe his theology is accurate on this and it is inappropriate to say otherwise.

    More importantly, if Evans and Piper, and others really are in Chist, that would be taking the greater priority, with working out practically, favouring what is condcive to attending to the needs of victims over thelogical differences.

    The reality is that scripture interpreted well and applied can give hope where ther is personal trajedy, and if those in Christ put their faith into action then a lot of good can be done. Perhps Ricky Gervais got it right about sending money and offering prayers that in partnership together something can be done for these folks in need.