Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Most Significant Event Of 2005

"These are the times that try men's souls." -- Thomas Paine

Yesterday, on the Laura Ingraham show, the guest host had an interesting topic. He asked listeners to call in and discuss what they thought were the most significant stories of the year. Stories that had the greatest impact on us and our future.

I think that's a great subject to post a comment on here. To me, it's a no-brainer, and frankly, I was surprised that none of the callers that I heard mentioned the one story that had the biggest effect on me.

Between yesterdays post and The Laura Ingraham show, I came to the conclusion that for me, Hurricane Katrina was the biggest and most significant story of the year. When I searched my archives looking for what I consider to be my most well written and insightful posts from the year, I noticed that most of my best comments were focused around the biggest natural disaster in our nation's history. Three of the five posts I singled out to discuss in yesterday's post were connected to that disaster. There were others.

Nothing else invoked such emotion and introspection from me, not only outrage at the politicizing of the disaster, but also the change in my world view that I underwent regarding racism. If you read my post of August 8th, you know what I'm talking about.

Hurricane Katrina revealed much of what is both wrong and what is admirable in the United States. People from all over the country rallied to help the victims, and certain politicians shamefully used the tragedy as a springboard to attack the President and his administration. Pointing fingers became the national past time for a few weeks in 2005.

Members of both electronic and print media, in their efforts to out-sensationalize each other, took every conceivable rumor from any source, questionable or otherwise, and reported it as fact. Still others concocted ridiculous hypothesis to further divide the country along the lines of racism.

For me, as I mentioned before, it laid my heart bare and forced me to re-examine my priorities and my attitude. It was a painful yet heart changing experience. I can humbly report that my entire life has been changed by the events surrounding Hurricane Katrina.

Truly, as Thomas Paine would say, it was a time that tried men's souls.

That's my opinion. Obviously, many people have completely different opinions on what was the most significant story of 2005.

What about you? What story or stories from this year held the most significance for you?


Lone Ranger said...

For me, it was the Terri Schaivo story. Nothing else has so radically demonstrated the difference between the left and the right in this country as the public murder of this woman. Terri's adultrous husband was so determined to see her dead that he refused to even turn her over to her family, who would have taken on the expense of keeping her alive. It showed once again that without God, there can be no respect for life, whether it be an unborn baby in the womb, or a person who still has value on this earth.

We haven't heard the last of this. Someday the span of a person's life in this country will be determined not by the stopping of a heart but by the banging of a gavel.

Erudite Redneck said...

Mark, Katrina was IT for me, too.

Readers saw me fall apart over at my place. Shame over my own indifference drove me back to church for the first time in almost 10 years, and caused me to start regularly donating to a local charity, The Jesus House, for hardcore homeless-addicts-mentally ill.

It also caused me to reexamine my politics.

We came to different conclusions on that, you and I. But the answer is the same for both of us:

Katrina, the images to it, and others' reactions to it, changed our lives.

BTW, I see that Lone Ranger has way oversimplified a huge, complicated issue again.

Schiavo situation wasn't left-right, except for those at each extreme who chose to make it so, as much as it was "God help us balance our technology, our laws, science, medicine, family, our human failings and our stupid human pride" in the search for justice.

Someday the span of a person's life will be determined by the stopping of a brain, not the stopping of a heart, perhaps -- and that's the science lost in all the political and moral pontificating over Terri Schiavo.

Mark said...

ER, Yes, I noticed that, too. In fact, I intended to point out in this post that you, specifically, were profoundly affected as well, but I spaced it out.

I was telling a friend, offline, that Hurricane Katrina, or rather reaction to it, moved me further to the right and "My friend" further to the left." I was referring to you.

LR, The Schaivo case did indeed symbolize a tremendous shift in morality or lack thereof in this country. I wasn't as affected by it as I was by the Hurricane because it basically affirmed what I already knew, That Leftists stand for a culture of death in America, and for me, at least, the hurricane showed me a side of myself that I never knew existed.

Pastor Timothy said...

I respectfully disagree with you assessment that brain waves determine life. She was alive because she still had a heart beat. She should have been kept alive because her life is valuable, even in it's reduced state of functionality and enjoyment. Why? Because she is still an image bearer. She still bears the image of God and because of that her life has value.

Only humans, of all God's creation, are given His image. That is why our lives are more valuable than the animals of the earth, that is why our unborn are more valuable than the unborn of say, sea turtles. Not because we have risen above the animals, but because we are made above them by that fact that we are made in HIS image, and the animals are not. I love my dog, but not like I love my son. Why? Because my son has part of me in him. He is special to me in a way that my dog is not. That is the same way God views us. Because we bear His image, we are special to Him than all the creatures of the earth, and therefore, our lives are more valuable than the lives of animals, even life that is lived at less than a standard that we would deem "quality of life."

Erudite Redneck said...

Pastor Timothy: "Respectfully," for a change. This is a good sign. I believe I'll wait it out, though.

Erudite Redneck said...

One other "small" point, Pastor. You're disagreeing with shadows. I didn't say where I stood on the definition of life. I pointed out where the crux of the debates seems to be within socierty at large. Perhaps my "perhaps" didn't make that clear. And, perhaps, you're so ready to fight all comers that you see foes where none exist. In Jesus's name, of course.

Pamela Reece said...

Mark, for me it was the Cindy Sheehan and anti-war protesters. Cindy Sheehan brought out all the liberal, anti-american's and they used her to support the anti-Bush campaign.

The anti-war protesters made me become an activist in support of our troops and their mission. I don't think Cindy bargained for that, but that's what she got. It also made me stand even firmer on my conservative values and my faith in the Global War on Terrorism. My eyes were opened to many people who I once valued but do not anymore. On the other hand, I gained respect for some I didn't know that I could.

For me, it was definitely Camp Sheehan.

Pastor Timothy said...

Actually I was trying to bring the biblical perspective to the argument... which is where I believe the arguments for or against something should be made.

Mark said...

OK, Pastor Tim, So are you saying that the Schaivo case was the most significant story of the year to you, too? If not, what was?

Erudite Redneck said...

Pastor Timothy, I would be disappounted if you didn't bring your own "Pastor Timothy-approved biblical-in-my-narrow-view perspective" to any argument. But you need to be more explicit.

This isn't your church, and not all of us know the jargon and shortcut words and concepts that are so familiar to you and your flock and others like it.

Y'all have your own way of seeing things. It is not common. You have to explain yourself better.

And THAT, ladies and gentleman, is the main limitation in Pastor Timothy's ability to communicate with others.

Too much preaching. Not enough teaching. Too dang much of both. Try hacing a conversation sometime, Timothy. You might learn something.

Erudite Redneck said...

Pastor Timothy, you remind me of a guy, a law student, I worked with at Whirlpool in Arkansas back when we were summer temps during a break from college.

We discussed spiritual matters all the time, and over the course of the summer, he let go of some of his "worldly" notions -- and I learned some things from him, too -- but he had one stipulation:

I could never use "the Bible says," as the basis for anything. I had to have some other source, be it my experience, my own spiritual sense, family, tradition, whatever.

Why? Because the Bible meant NOTHING to him.

By the end of the summer, my willingness to meet him where he was resulted in him having at least some respect for the Bible, and for my views, because I was strong enough in my faith, as well as my discussion skills, to base my witness on something else, at least for the sake of our discussions.

Pastor Timothy said...

I really don't have a major story of the year. They all seem bleak. But I'm not sure there were any that changed me in anyway. There was a lot of bad news... but that happens every year. Yes, Hurricane Katrina was depressing, and so was the Schaivo case. Both were bad in their own right. But, like I said, nothing that moved me in one direction or the other.

Anyone else,
Am I really as unclear as ER says? Yes, I know he calls me narrow. You bet. I don't care to be broad. Holiness, obedient and humble in the sight of God is my desire, not broad in terms of the world. What the world says and thinks is so much drivel. God's glory is what is important. Any comments would be helpful, other than ER.

Erudite Redneck said...

Appalling that smugness passes for "holiness" these days.

And with that, I should probably vacate, and follow the kiddiegarter axiom: I have nothing nice to say to Pastor Timothy, so I should say nothing at all. My bad.

Erudite Redneck said...

Oh, to Pamela:

Both sides can thank Sheehan for helping solidify people's thinking, and the morality or lack thereof, of the war in Iraq. Don't think the right got all the advantage. :-)

Pastor Timothy said...

Thanks for at least admitting it.

Mark said...

ER, Pator Tim is a Christian. Not only is he a Christian, he is a minister of the Gospel. He is obligated by his commitment to God to see things in light of the Bible. Otherwise he isn't being a good steward of God's truths.

Jesus wants all of us to give our all to Him. All our heart, All our soul. All our mind. If Pastor Tim sees the world and it's people through Jesus' eyes, he is being obedient to God. He is attempting to give his all to the Lord. But he is human also, with human shortcomings. If he is wrong about something, it is simply a manifestation of his own human frailty.

If the Liberal church you are going to is teaching that Christ is secondary to anything, you are in the wrong church.

It is not smugness, it is belief in an all powerful God who IS truth. If we as Christians don't happen to like the truth, it doesn't change the truth.

God's Word is not changeable according to interpretation. It never changes. It is we who change. Example:

Years ago it was a shame for us to have sex before or instead of marriage. Why? Because God says so. What changed? God? No. Our morals did. Does that make God wrong and us right? Heaven forbid.

I'm sorry. I am not articulating my point adequately. The reason I am attempting to explain this is because it seems to me that you are saying that there are some truths that do not come from God. If you are saying that, you are being heretical. If you aren't, then I misunderstood and I apologize.

One thing I do want to address, for my own sake. Yes, Jesus should be emulated. But to only focus on the love and forgiveness and goodness of Jesus is to do Him a disservice. For Jesus is God, and as God, he is also a just and veangeful God. There is a Devil and there is a Hell. Sin has consequences. It can be forgiven up to your dying breath, but unrepentent sin is punishable by everlasting death. And to look at Jesus and His word through rose colored glasses is dangerous. This is not to say God sends anyone to Hell. We condemn ourselves to Hell by rejecting the gift of salvation which Jesus freely gives to us. The fault, should we end up in the "lake of Fire', is all our own.

If someone doesn't like this truth, it is nevertheless still the truth. We can't change it just because we don't like to hear it.

I am sorry you and Pastor Tim have had a falling out. But I have to be honest here. To those of us standing on the sidelines watching this drama play out, it appears you are being intentionally antagonistic toward Pastor Tim. Again, if I am reading you wrong, I apologise.

But hey! You are known to carry a grudge from time to time. That's ok. It proves you are human.

And so is Pastor Tim. He also has shown he has a temper.

I am not a theologian, nor am I a minister. But I don't like to see two of my friends (for I consider both of you my friends) feuding over something so temporal as ideological differences.

Jesus said, "Bessed are the peacemakers". May I be blessed today?

Erudite Redneck said...

Bless you, Mark.

Bless you, Tim.

"It seems to me that you are saying that there are some truths that do not come from God."

No. I am saying that there are some "truths" that come from Tim that do not come from God.

I fully admit having residual bile against the person Pastor Tim presents, compared to the person he presented to me, personally, on his blog before he deleted it.

For him to have deleted it, and to now continue to present this other person without explaining himself appalls me.

I have spent my entire adult life in journalism. I have had to get in people's lives many times when circumstances had them at their worst: death, crime, war.

I also have earned my "redneck" stripes honestly, interacting with the worsts sorts of everyday people.

I also have looked men and women of power square in the eye, and have come to see through their artifice, and had to smile and walk away.

I have been a bouncer in a brand-new Texas dancehall, when the worst sorts had to be thrown out and banned anew.

I have been attacked verbally.

Yet I have never been talked down to, and condemned so personally and pridefully and meanly as Pastor Timothy spoke to me.


You should have seen how he SPAT at the very IDEA of GRACE! He seems to rest his own salvation on his ACCEPTANCE of the gift. Outrageous.

At least one other brother saw the attack before Timothy deleted it. I am as wrong, maybe, to hold the grudge as Tim was to make the attack. But am I wrong in how I characterize it?

I have forgiven as much as I am capable. I have hard feelings toward him, but they will pass.

He has not even attempted to make an amend. He attempted to explain himself. He was wrong. He has made no effort to admit such. See the beam, brother, see the beam.

This is NOT about differing politics, or about our differing interpretations of Scripture.

This is about him being so full of himself as to confuse his own prejudices with the unction of the Holy Spirit, and his own knowledge of the Bible with discernment, and his owm ANGER at his own self and others, and God Himself, with a sense of God-breathed righteousness.

I have no doubt that Timothy is a Christian, yet he doubts that I am.

How dare he.

Bless you Mark.

Bless you Tim.

Let no one on the sidelines wonder:

This is a violent disagreement between brothers, whether Tim thinks so or not. Odd that it plays out in the this venue.

I think it's a blessing in itself. Because being a "Christian" doesn't mean being nice to each other -- and it for dang sure doesn't mean agreeing on what the Scriptures mean.

It means surrendering to Jesus, regularly, daily, hourly, as need be -- and accepting that none of us KNOW ANYTHING much beyond the need to throw ourselves down helplessly and let grace -- GRACE! GRACE, Timothy! -- wash over us!

Poison Pero said...

The most significant story of 2005 was an event which didn't happen.

Since 9/11/01 a terror attack has not occured on the United States........And we all know the Jihadists are looking for any chance they can get.

Attacks have hit all over the rest of the globe, but the U.S. has been spared........And surely not due to pure luck.

Of course we have lost 2000+ soldiers in the Iraqi Hell hole, but we lost over 3000 Americans in a couple hours on 9/11.

The lives of our troops are precious, but they know what they are in for when they join, and most (99% from my personal experience in the service) are thrilled to be doing their jobs.....And they are doing it magnificently.

So, my case for "Most Significant Event of 2005" goes to a non-event......One which would have surely happened again by now were it not for the constant force of our military and priority the president has put on the GWOT.
If I have to pick an actual event I would pick the Tsunami, with Katrina a close second.

Here's hoping the natural and man-made disasters will be at a minimum in 2006.

I think we can all agree this would be a good thing.

Lores said...

Mark: I'm torn. I hate to choose the ONE most significant event. Terry Schiavo was huge. The pro-life movement will never be the same. Pero is right. We must note the absence of another 9/11 every year and every day since that day in 2001.

However, I am going to have to say that Katrina tops my list. For several reasons. The catastrophic nature of the event. How devastating it was for all the victims and for those of us watching in disbelief that this could be happening in our country. It also revealed to us the inadequacy and inefficiency of at least some local, state and even federal government relief efforts.

The question many Americans asked was, "If we can't handle this, how do we expect to deal with a weapon of mass destruction?!" The Katrina problem reflected a greater weakness beyond the levees.

My final note on the significance of Katrina is the way Americans responded. We are the biggest, most generous givers in the world, no exaggeration. Americans came through for our fellow citizens in a time of critical need.

To the gang here: A very happy and blessed 2006 to all!!!

Poison Pero said...

Since I was late on the question of Best Posts of the Year.......I'm going to put them here.

#'s 1 & 2 are easy choices for me......The 3rd is an evolving post, and is becoming one of my favorites.

#1: 9/11/01: Never Forget, Never Surrender, Never Forgive

#2: We Have Some Hero's....And Some Zero's

#3: Pero's Glossary
Another highlight of the year was being given the title of "the Rightiest of the Right Wing Righties"...Along with a few other choice words, by the Redneck:)

Mary said...

I always have trouble choosing the "most," "best," "favorite," or whatever.

All of the events mentioned were certainly significant, as well as the non-event cited by Pero.

Something that had a tremendous influence on me personally in 2005 was the death of Pope John Paul.

I wrote about it today (technically yesterday).

In short, I pointed out that through his suffering and death, John Paul taught the world an important lesson about the sanctity of life in all of its stages.

Mark said...

Thanks to all the people who commented here. All of the events alluded to had a special significance to someone, some to many, many to some.

I think the important thing is what we take away from these events, and how we choose to apply the lessons learned from them.

Erudite Redneck said...

Good idea, Mark. I'm sorry I sloshed bile all over it.