Sunday, August 26, 2007
This was the headlining article in our local paper this morning. Big Church has gone to work in Mississippi for the past two years and has another trip planned for the end of October. I am sure that some scholar of missions is currently doing research on how faith-based Katrina and Rita rebuilding efforts have changed the way main-line churches participate in mission trips and mission projects. I believe both St. Casserole and Bayou Christian, colleagues who read this blog occasionally and serve Presbyterian congregations in Mississippi and Louisiana, would be well-equipped to answer this question.
A couple of quotes in particular caught my eye:
"The National Council of Churches estimates that church-sponsored volunteers have produced $600 billion worth of labor for the Gulf Coast. In contrast, the total amount of federal funds spent on Katrina aid as of March was $53 billion."
"Critics of the administration point out that the government's very ineptitude in the wake of the storm substantiated Bush's emphasis on better access to federal funding for faith-based groups.
"Katrina (allowed) the Bush administration to say, 'We told you faith-based communities are better at this,'" said Kim Baldwin, public policy director for the Interfaith Alliance, an ecumenical group critical of the White House's faith-based efforts. "The president hid his incompetence under the cloak of the faith community.""
So, I wonder what the long-term ramifications of the faith-based role in these relief efforts will be? How will the ways in which the church does mission be shaped by the actions of the last two years? How has this administration helped to shape my role as the associate pastor for pastoral care and missions at Big Church? What is God doing here that we can't fully see or understand?
I'd love to hear other voices on this issue...