Twitter’s 144 characters isn’t always the best medium for deep truths or nuanced approaches to sensitive topics. Sometimes that’s all you work, but sometimes… not so much. In case you need any more proof for that, John Piper fails pretty epically on this topic:
When I saw that I sat there for a moment scratching my head and wondering if he’d bothered to read the rest of the Book of Job. I mean, surely he’s done that, right? The man has a BA from Wheaton, a B-Div from Fullerton, and a PhD in theology from the University of Munich – whatever I think of his politics and theology, the man is hardly an academic lightweight. But Job hardly ends with a resounding defense of God’s actions on this point. I guess it’s better than suggesting people in major cities “deserve” their natural disasters because of their sins.
I think he can do better, or if he can’t, people in general need to. Maybe there really isn’t a good rational answer that we can offer. I’ve encountered a few theodicies that seem to make sense when the pain is less intense, but if they make rational sense in the wake of some disaster, I don’t quite have the heart to offer them to somebody.
So rather than philosophizing, let me offer some practical resources:
For my secularist friends (or religious/undecided interested in helping through secularist groups), the Foundation Beyond Belief gang researched several charities and found two responsible ones working in Oklahoma right now. You can donate through the FBB or donate to their chosen charities (Operation USA + Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma) directly via this page:
I’ve made the small donation I can afford right now through UMCOR, the United Methodist Committee on Relief. They usually do a good job with the donations in my experience, and because it’s an organization I’m personally connected with it feels more organic. They’re asking actual volunteers to hold off from coming down there just now, but they are accepting financial donations and relief kits (where you buy specific supplies and ship it to their depot centers). You can get more info or donate at this page:
I’ve also made a note in my calendar for six months from now, reminding me to reach out to a local Methodist pastor and ask how I can help. I know from experience, it can take a while to figure out what the needs are.
On a similar note, I know I’ve criticized Franklin Graham’s politics in the past, but when it comes to getting things accomplished after a disaster, I have found few groups more effective at getting it done than Samaritan’s Purse. They’re already on the ground and they’ll put your donation to good use if you’re inclined to donate through them.
Finally, for my friends across the duck pond, Globalgiving.co.uk is collecting donations. I’ve never donated through them personally, but they are highly rated, and it may be easier to donate to a UK charity than an American one for some of you:
Do feel free to pass this page around, and if you have a favorite resource drop me a comment and I’ll research it and add it if I think it’s reputable.