PERSONAL REFLECTIONS OF THE PAST WEEK

LIFE GOES ON OR DOES IT?

A plea for help appears on the roof of a home flooded in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana. President George W. Bush, under fire over the response to Hurricane Katrina, paid another visit to hard-hit areas and said US officials were 'doing the best they can' on relief efforts.(AFP/Pool/Robert Galbraith)
(AFP/Pool/Robert Galbraith)
Chief Justice Rehnquist dies and we have all the misery in New Orleans and in the Gulf Coast; no telling what the death count will be. So sad. And, yet life goes on. The college football season is in full swing and not a seat is empty. Someone once said, "We are a fast food nation and the news media has the attention span of a gnat." Will this be the case? I hope not. There are so many ramifications to the aftermath of the hurricane that it is simply overwhelming.

But, for now, we need to look to what we can do individually even in the midst of life charging on. And, where we can, I think, Americans are stepping up with over 200 million in personal contributions thus far and more to come for sure.

SAN FRANCISCO RESPONDS

The Salvation Army is bringing 400 refugee families from New Orleans to San Francisco; they will be housed at St. Mary's cavernous basement and fed by the Salvation Army. The kids will go to school and social services will be provided. Many of these families will relocate to the Bay area which will be quite a dynamic; and, maybe, San Francisco will provide the model for the rest of the country.

The more I've watched the news, the more I've realized that what the hurricane did is expose this enormous underbelly of disenfranchised people. Suddenly, here they were face to face with the world.These people were the people that most never saw: the working poor, the maids, the illegals, the musicians, the homeless. People from various walks of life were out front for all of America to see.

MOVIES REFLECT LIFE AND OFTEN TEACH

After watching the news last night with so much misery, I was flipping through the channels and found this movie: Dirty Pretty Things. The main character was a Nigerian and an illegal immigrant in London. He was a doctor in his homeland, but supported himself by working as a taxi driver and hotel clerk in London. He never slept. This Nigerian doctor and all the other characters in the movie were the underbelly of a city, much like New Orleans.

book jacket to dirty pretty thingsThe story line revolved around his survival and in helping an illegal maid survive and evade deportation. In the process, he literally discovers a human heart in the toilet and realizes that someone is selling body parts; and, in this case, someone has died. And, why are they selling their body parts? They are desperate to escape their hopeless life just like the folks from New Orleans. He tries to do the right thing but is surrounded by corruption at the hotel where he works.

If there has ever been a case where the realization of the Calvinist view of the depravity of man is evident, this movie represents it: the sweat shop boss who preys on his desperate workers, and the hotel manager that recruits, butchers people, and sells body parts. Sounds macabre but not, really; the main character was very gentle, real, and caring; and, amidst all the misery for real in the world, he was a noble being. It was a heavy movie to watch with the current situation in New Orleans of which we are experiencing through a type of uninvolved participation. New Orleans at times seems like a movie. We are watching it; and think, it isn't real. But, it is!

New Orleans is going to teach us many things I hope; but, for now, movies reflecting life can drive home lessons. Dirty Pretty Things does exactly that: we do what we can. And, from all outward appearances, America has stepped up. But, we are just beginning! Please dear Lord, let us not be "a fast food nation with the attention span of a gnat!" God bless all those suffering from Katrina. KT
outside grillHave a Wonderful Labor Day With Family and Friends
Erika Jones cries and holds her father Malcolm Jones as they listen to Father Harold Roberts to during services at the Episcopal Church of the Redeemer Sunday, Sept. 4, 2005 in Biloxi, Miss. Services were held outdoors on the site of the church that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green) Have a wonderful Holiday. We hope you're enjoying your weekend spending time with the family whether it be at a cookout, a picnic, or a football game, but please do not forget the victims of Hurricane Katrina. (Photo courtesy of AP/M. Spencer Green)
Charitable Organizations:
ShareYourHome.org or 1-888-827-2525
America's Second Harvest or 1-800-344-8070
Network For Good
Humane Society or 1-202-452-1100
Red Cross or 1-800-HELP-NOW
Salvation Army or 1-800-SAL-ARMY
Catholic Charities or 1-800-919-9338
Episcopal Relief & Development or 1-800-334-7626
United Methodist Committee on Relief or 1-800-554-8583
Operation USA or 1-800-678-7255
National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster
Islamic Relief
ICNA Relief
United Jewish Communities
Mercy Corps

ASHAMED IS THE OPERATIVE WORD

An infant waits for his mother to unwrap a food ration distributed by the National Guard to stranded refugees in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans September 2, 2005. The meal was the first in several days for the thousands of refugees still stranded in New Orleans. U.S. President George W. Bush, facing scathing criticism of the government response to Hurricane Katrina, acknowledged on Friday the results were unacceptable as he tour the ravaged Gulf Coast and flooded New Orleans. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton
Third world country is an ample description. To be honest, I have been amazed and mesmerized and glued to the TV for several days. I have just read where often many Americans of the WW II era talk about "the before" and "the after" of the war. After September 11, 2001, we thought of before and after 9-11; and now, I think of before and after New Orleans. I really could hardly believe what I was seeing.

I watched the looting; and, really in a sense, don't know what to say about it. I can understand when people are desperate and they are getting food or water; but, carrying out TVs, that is another thing. Nevertheless watching, we saw them enter into a survival mode and who could blame them. We screwed up!

Cash Smith and his four-year-old son Tahj, of New Orleans, listen to a news conference at Denver International Airport announcing the placement of 18 refugees from Hurricane Katrina, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2005, in Denver. Smith and his family will stay in Denver at a local hotel. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
I heard this one reporter who was in the Super Dome talking about the levels of survival that existed. Here there were like 30,000 people, no order, no one in charge, and no police presence. Many reverted to survival mode.

There is no spin here: we were sitting on our hands for a day or two. New Orleans apparently had no contingency plan. The mayor sounds like he is as dumb as a box of rocks-I mean, gee whiz, go to the Super Dome and hang out? They should have had the basics: food, water, portable toilets, etc.

What were they thinking? The mayor, the governor, or the federal government should have brought in the ex-military types; they have knowledge and know how to execute a "worst case" contingency plan.

New Orleans was and is a third world country with refugees and we should all be ashamed. Now, this isn't Somalia or Mogadishu, but New Orleans. This was surreal like in the movie Escape From New York with the looting, shootings, gunfire, and carjackings.

We will be examining our shortcomings for years and we should. God bless all those folks in New Orleans, Mississippi, and Alabama. KT

God Bless The Victims of Hurricane Katrina

Our Thoughts and prayers are with those living in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. God Bless the National Guard and Coast Guard, FEMA, The Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the many others in their rescue and relief efforts.

But my life is worth nothing unless I use it for doing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about God's wonderful kindness and love (Acts 20:24, NIV).

The Webzine is taking a little break. We will be back Friday with new articles. Take a look at the daily devotions if you need a webzine fix.

Sept 06 2005
Michelle Goodman, 8, (C) gets showered with stuffed animals at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas. New Orleans became a struggle with life and death as police sought to evacuate the last diehard survivors of Hurricane Katrina and mobile morgues made a door-to-door search for corpses.(AFP/Getty Images/ Jenkins)
(AFP/Getty Images/Jenkins)
I hope we are never the same again.KT
An Afghan refugee child reacts as his family prepare to relocate to Afghanistan from slums of Islamabad, Pakistan, Sept. 2, 2005. Pakistan wants the Afghans to return home or move to another camp in the country by Sept. 15 for 'security reasons', though many of the refugees have been living in this sprawling neigborhood of mud-built homes on the outskirts of Islamabad for some 20-years. (AP Photo/B.K.Bangash)
(AP Photo/B.K.Bangash)
Other misery in the world doesn't stop merely because we have our own tragedy in America. KT
Hurricane Katrina refugees cross a bridge on US 90 in a downpour as they walk out of New Orleans. New Orleans made a 'desperate SOS' for help as authorities struggled to stem a descent into anarchy and evacuate survivors of Hurricane Katrina which is now believed to have killed thousands.(AFP/Robert Sullivan)
(AFP: AFP/Robert Sullivan)
We can supply the rest of the world at a moment's notice but can't get an airdrop to our own people two full days after a disaster.KT
A handicapped man slumps in a wheelchair while a relative sits by after their rescue by boat from floodwaters in New Orleans, September 1, 2005. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin issued an urgent plea for relief on Thursday, saying the flooded city lacked food for thousands of Hurricane Katrina's refugees and buses to evacuate them, CNN reported. REUTERS/Jason Reed 
Reuters - Sep 01 12:38 PM
(REUTERS/Jason Reed )
Why was there no emergency airdrops of water and meals ready to eat (MREs) to the people? We have warehouses full of that stuff. KT

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