A Spiritual Tsunami

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41 Responses

  1. EricL says:

    I had a college geography professor that swore he avoided the large freeway interchange in nearby San Bernardino because it will come down in the next large earthquake. The north end’s soil is on a high water table that will lead to liquefaction, while the south end of that huge complex of sweeping bridges sits on more solid ground.
    I don’t avoid the bridges, but everytime I’m stuck in slow traffic up there I think about what that professor says. It reminds me that life can end anytime…

  2. Michael says:

    All the coverage this impending apocalypse has received has me a little rattled…I avoid overpasses as much as I can…

  3. Jean says:

    “He seems to say that bad stuff happens…that there is a randomness to tragedy that is inexplicable and has nothing to do with the spiritual state of the people involved.

    It suggests that everything doesn’t happen for a reason…at least not one that makes sense here.”

    The question that Jesus addresses is whether the victims in these events were more culpable and deserving of their deaths than their contemporaries who were not killed: “worse sinners?” “worse offenders?”

    The application that Jesus draws for his disciples is personal repentance.

    Where do you see in the text any suggestion whatsoever that Jesus attributes these deaths to randomness? In both the Old and New Testaments there appears to be the unquestioned conviction that nothing consequential happens by chance, particularly to the people of God.

    From our perspective, events may appear inexplicable, but the inspired writers seem to attribute consequential events to the hand of God. In those cases, faith in God’s providential governance of His people is portrayed in the Scriptures sometimes as a reason for comfort, at other times liberating, and at still others for lament.

  4. Michael says:


    Define the difference between “consequential” and “inconsequential” events.
    Jesus does offer the application you stated…but also is clear that the spiritual state of the deceased had nothing to do with either incident.
    Perhaps bad things happen in a broken world…

  5. Duane Arnold says:

    … and good things happen to the just and the unjust alike (Matt. 5:45) without reference to their spiritual state…

  6. Reuben says:

    Great stuff. The notion that god punishes or blesses based on the person, that needs to die.

    I used to face palm every time someone got on TV and stated that this happened because of unrepentant sinners, abortion, homosexuality, etc… It ascribes to god a sense of pure vengeance, whilst simultaneously glorifying god’s “goodness” because Nancy survived the tsunami on the roof of her house while the entire neighborhood was leveled.

    These are the number one things I hear from Atheists, that god would “passover” Nancy, and relentlessly slaughter thousands of others, or the tornado skipped over Bob’s house and obliterated all the others. Glory be to god? Rationality thinks not. The tornado does whatever it does. God folds his arms.

    The incumbency on Christians, or anyone for that matter is to rebuild or move on. Jeremiah 17:10. Of course what it says before that….

  7. Reuben says:

    In short, when you connect god to tragedy or blessing, you by default describe the nature of god. People watch that and learn…

  8. Michael says:


    I think you make good points…that most of us choose not to think about.
    I can’t say God folds His arms…but neither can I make dogmatic statements about what He does or doesn’t do.
    I will say that the world is a scarier place without the doctrine of meticulous providence…

  9. Michael says:


    As troubling as the question of “why bad things happen to good people” is, the question of “why good things happen to rotten ones” is more so…

  10. Michael says:

    A note to the reader.
    I’m thinking out loud and inviting you to think with me.
    I’m not trying to persuade anyone of anything…I’m not finished thinking yet…

  11. Jean says:

    Isn’t Reuben the anti-theist? I harbor no ill will towards Reuben at all. And I mean him no insult. I actually pray for his repentance and restoration.

    However, he acknowledged (last time the topic came up) that Reuben is not a Christian theologian and IMO he makes horrible points in this thread. No Christian IMO should seek knowledge of God from a anti-theist, atheist or non-Christian theist.

    Two points in particular that I take issue with from Reuben’s comments are:

    1. “Rationality thinks not” No one is going to understand God through rationalism. Jesus was crucified by rationalists.

    2. “These are the number one things I hear from Atheists….” Christianity and the Scriptures do not bend to, nor seek their validity in, the perceived needs or opinions of Atheists. The light shines in the darkness.

    Regarding a correlation or “cause and effect” between godliness/ungodliness on the one hand and prosperity/suffering on the other, such is debunked over and over again in the Scriptures. Don’t blame the Bible or Christianity if some “expressions” of Christianity have constructed a prosperity gospel to entice adherents or ease their greedy conscience. I think the cognitive dissonance caused by the prosperity gospel is something that actually does violence to the Gospel and Christ’s Church.

  12. Michael says:


    I’m going to be more polite than I want to be.
    Reuben isn’t a theological amateur.
    Reuben was a pastor for a long time and basically had his faith and a good chunk of his life crucified by Christians.
    Reuben was a learner..he studied hard to be good at what he did.
    He is like a son to me and I believe to God as well.
    The thing you don’t understand is that pastoral work is not simply theological…it’s often harsh, bloody, and painful and will challenge every theological notion anyone can hold.
    It tore up my boy here…and it’s come close to doing so to me.

    Your take on Reuben’s use of the word “rationality” is ludicrous…Anglicans use Scripture, tradition,…and reason… to think through these issues.

    I want to hear the best arguments from unbelievers…you can’t give an answer if you don’t know what the question is.

    To posit that the Bible never equates temporal blessing with religious faithfulness would take about 30 seconds to debunk…it does, but also offers paradoxical texts that demand reason to parse properly.

  13. Duane Arnold says:

    “Jesus was crucified by rationalists.”

    I must admit, in all the years I’ve gone through the passion narratives, this is the first time I’ve encountered this particular approach…

  14. McGarrett says:

    Eric L posted at 810pm, July 5. The earthquake (the 7.1) hit at 8:20pm, July 5 (in OC, it seemed like it lasted for an hour, although I think it was more like 30 seconds, felt like the House was Surfing). Just saying.

  15. Em says:

    Jesus was crucified by religious arrogance and religious self aggrandizement… the learners and the humble were scattered and confused … Until the man they saw expire hanging naked on a cross at the top of a hill resurrected and walked among them … and through walls ?

  16. Reuben says:

    Duane, I had a slight aneurysm reading that too. There was nothing rational about the crucifixion of Christ, or anyone for that matter.

    Jean, I would appreciate it if you would address me rather than speak of me. It is not Michael’s job to defend me here, yet he does, and I love him dearly. The way you rebut here is disrespectful in any sense or scenario. Are you one of those believers that does not speak to non-believers? Let’s explore that for a second.

    1 Peter 3:15 levels a charge to you, Jean, that you must be ready to answer the things Atheists question of you. The entire concept of Apologetics (reasoning) is built on the notion that the world will hurl non-believing arguments against god and your faith, and that you would hurl right back with the answers that define the hope that you profess. You are supposed to do this with respect so that I am corrected and ashamed. This is fundamental stuff.

    I squarely question you on this, as a former Christian who stood firm on the belief that I always needed to be prepared to answer for the hope that I professed. I did so willingly because it was expected of me as a Christian.

    What I did before in my comments was warn people here about ascribing blessing or disaster to god. I say that with passion from both lives I have lived. Atheists would ascribe the force of nature to Nancy and Bob, and view these events as a power that no human can circumvent. They also question why you would blame god for the good and bad in this things, as do I from an even more extreme position of disbelief. I don’t see how a Christian could even be disrupted in their day by such a line of reasoning.

    I never believed in a prosperity gospel, and agree that it does violence to your cause, and to humanity in general. Whatever you have to do to condemn that ideology is up to you. I don’t even speak to people saturated in that level of nonsensical irrationality. There is no answer for the hope they profess, and it certainly is not rooted in the doctrine of suffering.

  17. Jean says:

    Part of the reason, atheists and other rationalists cannot decipher the workings of God in the world or in their own lives is because human reason, unaided by and in submission to the Holy Spirit, cannot even judge rightly between good and evil, right and wrong.

    Towards the end of Romans, Paul, after listing all kinds of evil acts which deserve God’s judgment, finishes with: “not only do [they do] them but give approval to those who practice them.” These sinners give approval of evil not because they think what they are approving is evil, but because they think they know better than God’s righteous decree and believe they are the ones in the right.

    Similarly, Jesus warned His disciples regarding what their treatment would be by unbelievers: “Indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God. And they will do these things because they have not known the Father, nor me.” Here, the very people who think they know God, do not, and the very acts (of evil) they evil commit in the name of God are actually committed in the service of the devil.

    So it is with feelings such as joy and peace. Some people have a lot of possessions, but no joy and no peace. Other people have almost nothing, but radiate joy and peace. Paul said that “the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

    You know the fruits of the Spirit. They are given to faith, not sight, they impact the faith senses not necessarily the physical senses. They are not apprehended by rationalism or those without the Holy Spirit (IMO). Joy and peace are fruit of the Holy Spirit.

    Folks have experimented with Deism and Open Theism to rationalize what they see in the world. Epicurus may have been the progenitor. These theories may attempt to protect God’s reputation from responsibility for His creation (or at least the fallen parts) or present Him as a more attractive deity to fallen man, but what do you give up in the process?

    I see in the Scriptures a God who invites us into a personal communion with the Triune God, a Lord in whom “we live and move and have our being,”

    who knows the number of our years of life,

    who has counted the number of hairs on our heads,

    who sets a table before us in the presence of your enemies,

    and who says, “Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!”

    Take refuge in the Lord Jesus Christ.

  18. Jean says:


    I did not see your last comment, before I posted my last comment. Thank you for letting me address you directly. I am happy to converse with you. And I apologize for not addressing you directly the first time.

    My comment at 8:20 am was not intended to say that Christians shouldn’t talk to you or respond to your challenges to the Christian faith, but only to say that Christians should not look to you for salutary theology insofar as you are now an unbeliever. This is what I said: “No Christian IMO should seek knowledge of God from a anti-theist, atheist or non-Christian theist.”

    I would commend a Christian to the Scriptures and Christian exposition for the knowledge of God. I would hope that would not be taken as offensive by a non-Christian.

  19. Jean says:

    Reuben, you said:

    “What I did before in my comments was warn people here about ascribing blessing or disaster to god.”

    Except for the lack of a capital “G,” I couldn’t agree with you more. It is one of the most distasteful characteristics of conservative evangelicalism I have ever encountered. To, for example, weaponize a disaster for political or theological points is wicked IMO.

  20. Reuben says:

    So then, “salutary theology” is probably a false descriptor, is it not? You and I both agree that it is faulty theology, that it causes more harm than good, that it is indeed wicked, and we do so from opposite sides of the fence. There is nothing salutary about that.

  21. Jean says:

    Here is the rationalism I see in the Passion narratives of those responsible for the crucifixion of Jesus:

    Of the Jews:

    “So the chief priests and the Pharisees gathered the council and said, ‘What are we to do? For this man performs many signs. If we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and the Romans will come and take away both our place and our nation.’ But one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all. Nor do you understand that it is better for you that one man should die for the people, not that the whole nation should perish.’ ”

    Of Pilate:

    “So when Pilate saw that he was gaining nothing, but rather that a riot was beginning, he took water and washed his hands before the crowd, saying, ‘I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.’ ”

  22. Reuben says:

    The Sanhedrin were rational in this? As Em said, “religious self aggrandizement” was at play here, and I would not consider that rational, nor would any learned Christian. This was political/religious power struggle in it’s purist form, and took on the mindset that if they simply put away the voice of dissent, it would prevent collapse of what power they held. That’s evil!

  23. Michael says:

    I can only do so much, then I have to go watch 25 cat videos…

  24. Reuben says:

    We have another two kittens here, as I am sure you have seen. We get kitten videos but real, all day, and I must say that it helps the madness!

  25. Xenia says:

    I live on a hill overlooking Monterey Bay on the Pacific Ocean. I hope it’s a big enough hill.

    Sometimes, when down at sea level I gaze out at the ocean and my imagination gets carried away and I think I can see a giant wave coming in. It’s not a hard thing to imagine.

  26. Michael says:


    I couldn’t let them go once I had them…you and your wife are doing the Lord’s work with those cats.
    Much love to you and your whole clan…

  27. Michael says:


    They say this one that hits us will miss you…the more I read, the less I should be reading about the matter…

  28. Jean says:


    I won’t discount that there was some power struggle and jealousy, however, there’s more than simply those things, as the text I quoted confirms.

    However, we shouldn’t overemphasize the power struggle. Let’s looks at some of the facts:

    Jesus sent the cured leper to the priest to make the gift that Moses commanded.

    Jesus referred to the Temple as “my Father’s house.”

    Jesus held the Temple and the Altar in high esteem: “You blind fools! For which is greater, the gold or the temple that has made the gold sacred? And you say, ‘If anyone swears by the altar, it is nothing, but if anyone swears by the gift that is on the altar, he is bound by his oath.’ You blind men! For which is greater, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred?”

    Jesus was not from the House of Aaron and never could have served in the Temple as a Priest. The Priests knew that. Jesus was no threat to the Priesthood or the Temple, but did seek its reform and prophesy its destruction.

    Jesus claimed no temporal, political kingship. He enacted the Zechariah prophesy to teach the people the nature of His kingdom: “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’ “

  29. Michael says:

    They say that everything west of the Cascades will be obliterated by the quake…and I live just slightly west of the Cascades…

  30. Reuben says:

    Jean, what does any of that have to do with the rationality of crucifying Jesus? I still don’t see any rationality.

  31. Reuben says:

    Jean, it sounds to me like you are trying to convince me through prophesy being fulfilled that the crucifixion was rational to you. So be it, but I can’t bring myself to that ideal.

  32. Jean says:


    My examples are posted at 12:09 pm today. I said the Jews and Pilate employed rationalism. I acknowledge other factors at work as well.

    Jesus always seeks to challenge men’s reason. His conversation with Nicodemus and the whole Bread of Life controversy in John 6 are leading examples which reverberate to the present day.

  33. Reuben says:


    a belief or theory that opinions and actions should be based on reason and knowledge rather than on religious belief or emotional response.

    My guess is I am understanding rationalism different.

  34. Jean says:

    Same definition

  35. pstrmike says:

    Interesting article on the next “big one” to hit the PNW, even though is some respects, it was a worst possible scenario. I thought the evidence of the ghost interesting but there is no widespread evidence throughout the region. However, I guess I found another reason to be glad I’m on the East side of the Cascades.

  36. Duane Arnold says:

    The California earthquake it tore the land in half
    While San Andreas cleared her throat I heard tsunami laugh
    The ground began to tremble the land began to sway
    And people in the other states they were glad they’d moved away
    But suddenly California just floated in the breeze
    While every state that wasn’t sank down into the seas…

    Larry Norman

  37. Em says:

    I remember as a child growing up in California hearing adults say there were predictions of Calif. sloughing off into the ocean – why were we living there? I guess no one really believed it… Kinda like the Rapturing out of the Church? ?
    Taking road trips on the Oregon coast in our little RV and seeing road signs saying “designated escape route” – or something like that – was sobering. .?
    This week’s earthquakes at China Lake … Is God messaging the Navy? Every catastrophic event in nature should be a reminder … IMNSHO….

  38. Josh says:

    God is in control, everything has a purpose, and God is good beyond our imagination. That being said, we will never understand many of the things that happen in our lives.

  39. If you’re on the Monterey Bay side not facing out to sea, you’ll do better than the land facing west, if there were a tsunami. When I took geology in ’91, our teacher said that at the time, there was enough stress built up on the San Andreas fault to slightly eclipse the 1906 SFO quake. The ’89 quake was on the Hayward Fault.

    As for death, what’s the difference between a life aborted in the womb, a teen losing their life in a car accident, or grandma passing away peacefully in her sleep at 95? All are dead. Everyone dies. Whether tonight in my sleep or 20 years from now after I’ve seen my grandchildren, the end is the same.

  40. Em says:

    Food for thought, New Victor…. AND the “end” here is really just the beginning… Hopefully, one enters Eternity prepared to meet God as a friend and a Father…. Eternally separated from our Creator sounds unbearably bleak ?
    God keep all close and comforted in the knowledge of the reality of His loving intent …. err something like that ?

  41. Steve says:

    ‘I am at all events convinced that God does not play dice.’
    Albert Einstein, December 1926.

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