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Comments

Inventory2

Execllent post ropata. No-one could fail to be moved by the courage shown yesterday by Andy Bray and Murray Burton. To allow the media full access to Elim Christian College yesterday provided an amazing opportunity for the Christian faith to displayed, and the gospel preached, without a word of preaching being uttered. To see someone like John Campbell literally lost for words and in awe of the quiet humility of Ps Luke Brough was deeply moving, and proof that God can use even the most tragic of circumstances for good.

To the families, and to the Elim Christian College whanau - may you truly know the presence of Christ at this devastating time, and may you all experience the peace that passes human understanding. Kia kaha, kia toa, kia manawanui - Arohanui.

peter

This is a most sad tragedy. And if you are like me, not difficult to find a good friend of a friend that was connected to a family, as I have - and share with the feelings of loss.

The Christian school angle has been widely canvassed on the media.

Have you read this in today's NZ Herald?

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10504593

This young survivor is reporting how he asked for God's assistance, and claiming God spared him.

The other side of that equation does not bear thinking about - that God deliberately stole the lives of those that died. And after all, they were at the same school.

I have a hunch that there is a story behind this story. We will find out where the HUMAN decision making was unwise - especially since other things like Tongariro Track were closed the same day.

The claims about Christianity on display and preaching the gospel is just one view. Others could ask why, of all the thousands of school visits to this facility - would God hurt a Christian school ahead of a secular school?

The river itself could be described as an act of God. The risk management as always is totally human. I hope that boundless faith in a protective god would never put the young at risk - in reality I doubt it.

fugley

Peter, I suspect the usual suspects will be all over you any time now for this blasphemy.

Yes, its a tragedy for those involved and I can feel empathy for the family and friends of the dead, but I had to laugh until I cried alst night when one of the "saved" said 'As soon as we got out of the river, we thanked god". For what? Sparing him while others were lost?

I'm sorry, but I cannot reconcile a loving god with any of this. Maybe it was satan? Who knows?

The time for god's action was before anyone died, not after.

ropata

I considered mentioning the "Act of God" angle in the article. God gets the blame for all sorts of things.

For example after the Wahine disaster of 1968, the inquiry determined that it was an act of God and thus neither the Captain nor the shipping company was culpable. It was simply an excuse to whitewash the whole thing; and only 40 years later the truth came out that the captain made serious errors, and the company got away without compensating a soul. Claiming "Acts of God" is an avoidance of responsibility.

Similarly after rugby games we see the players thanking God, almost as if He was one of the players! This is a presumptuous error. God has blessed them with strength and skill, but the training and will to win was accomplished by human effort.

I believe God has created a world of potentialities, and given people nearly unlimited scope to adventure and exercise their freedom. Thus unfortunately poor choices lead to serious consequences. There is a possibility of direct divine intervention, but it's the exception, not the rule.

C.S. Lewis wrote of Aslan, (a figure of Christ), "He is not safe, but he is good". So it is with the (fallen) world we live in. It was created to be good, not safe. Why that is so remains a mystery.

peter

So Ropata - you agree with what I was hinting when you say:

"I believe God has created a world of potentialities, and given people nearly unlimited scope to adventure and exercise their freedom. Thus unfortunately poor choices lead to serious consequences."

I have seen it before with religious people - "the lord will provide" they say - they keep such sharp focus on the supernatural that they forget that there are real world issues that need to be managed too.

You say one thing that I would endorse 90 per cent:

"There is a possibility of direct divine intervention, but it's the exception, not the rule."

We would need to discuss the frequency at which we would expect direct divine intervention. But reworded slightly might be something you and I would agree with:

"Never assume that direct divine intervention will take place"

That is the safest thing to assume. Would that wording suit you too?

ropata

Not quite; I have a lot of faith in the kindness of God, that his intervention is always possible. I have seen and experienced it in a myriad of ways. But I've lived long enough to realize that life is not always a bed of roses.

belt

fools rush in where angels fear to tread :(

peter

So Ropata you WOULD assume that divine intervention would be happening at certain points in YOUR life. When could you reliably assume that direct divine intervention might alter the course of your life. And in these sitatuations, would you be prepared to take greater risks than usual?

george

Satan confronted Jesus with scripture "throw yourself down [from the temple] for it is written his angels shall bear thee up lest he dash his foot against a stone" Jesus replied, "It is written, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God"

I am a professional seafarer. If I put to sea with a ship that is not found [seaworthy] or with an incompetent crew or into existing or known conditions that will imperil the vessel I am going against the will of God and the results are on my head. He may well rescue or spare me, but I can not count on that.

Maybe one day when all within my responsibility is in order and some catastrophe occurs, well my number is up.

My thoughts and prayers are with the family , friends and professionals of the OPC.

Lindsay R. Kennard

We are to thank God not just for the good but also for the bad. It is harder but much more rewarding in the end. MY prayers and thoughts are also for the families, the staff, the rescuers and the rescued of Elim Christian School and for OPC. Take my hand, Precious Lord, through the storm, through the night lead me on to the light, Take my hand, Precious Lord Lead me on.

Mark

There is no point in the Christian faith if it's only for this life. St Paul said 'And if we have hope in Christ only for this life, we are the most miserable people in the world.' and later 'If there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and get drunk, for tomorrow we die!”'
We believe in the resurrection and eternal life, these ones who died have gone on ahead to the reward we are looking for - from that perspective this is a temporary situation. I'm not trying to minimize the hurt for the families involved as I have been through a measure of what they now face. But, they have hope to counterbalance the pain - it's tragic but it's not the end.

Andrew McIntosh

The Elim pastor interviewed on TV3 by John Campbell quoted the scripture that the rain falls on the just and the unjust.

Natural evil can happen to anyone of us. For the Christian they can take comfort in one day being re-united again with their loved ones. All Thanks to a Loving God who gave us His only Son so that in our believing in Him we would not perish but have everlasting Life.

The following link tells the story behind the hymn "It is well with my soul." This hymn seems rather apt for a time like this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KYP--c2LTfg

Be Blessed

Peter Burns

I am appalled at the comments of a very sick fugley and a deranged Peter.

My prayers are with the grieving families.

CMBurns

What is "Natural evil" that "can happen to anyone of us."?

Why this emphasis on evil in this tragedy when in fact it was purely and simply one of the many random acts that take life every day.

Life is random.

Natural accidents are random.

This was an accident, not an act of evil.

Rick

"HA HA HA!" said: The other side of that equation does not bear thinking about - that God deliberately stole the lives of those that died.

I've thought about it often and it sits perfectly well with me and I'm over it. What amazes me is that people think that "god" has a conscience like a man; that he is all loving and really just a big mother in a metaphorical man's skin. I call it Baptist's syndrome. I mean for goodness sake, has no one read Job?

That young chap on TV last night saying that god saved him hasn't thought out the possiblity that he was saved for a more nasty end.

I'm unmoved by the whole Woman's Day approach to this event taken by mainstream media.

peter

Mark says:
"There is no point in the Christian faith if it's only for this life. St Paul said 'And if we have hope in Christ only for this life, we are the most miserable people in the world.' and later 'If there is no resurrection, “Let’s feast and get drunk, for tomorrow we die!”' "

Ian's logic for a Christian's early death is actually very similar to this - that since death leads us to a god, it does not matter when death happens - whether baby or octagenarian.

In either case, an argument can be made that life on this Earth is cheap.

I tend to go along with Ropata and say that we should NOT be assuming divine intervention. Like it or not we are here, so lets get on with living.

But I think it is ill-judged to suggest that a god is playing favourites with our lives. CM Burns says:

"Why this emphasis on evil in this tragedy when in fact it was purely and simply one of the many random acts that take life every day."

To which any agnostic or atheist would say hear hear! And be ready for the unexpected.

fugley

Peter, why do we fall in to the thesits trap of letting them define us?

Why should I be an atheist because I have no need for theology?

I have no need for santa, easter bunny or fairies in the bottom of the garden, but no one sees a need to define me in those terms.

KT

What *would* be inconsistent would be to blame people for bad things that happen and thank God for good things that people do; or vice versa, presumably. Or generally to fail to make an appropriate distinction between acts of God and acts of people.

Quite probably, the act of thanking God is better understood just as an expression of subjective pleasure when the way things are happens to line up with what a person thinks they want. I’m sure people are constantly thanking God for things that are actually bad for them, or seem good for them individually but are ultimately bad for society - and conversely, complaining about things that are good for them/society.

peter

Of course I agree entirely with you Fugley and KT as well.

'What *would* be inconsistent would be to blame people for bad things that happen and thank God for good things'

Just like rugby - praise the players for the wins and sack the coach if you lose!

And I think that thanking a god is an act of subjective pleasure. An alternative to exclaiming Hooray or Whopee perhaps.

But again KT you highlight a risk here. Thanking god when the gain for yourself is a loss for someone else is nasty.

You also highlight the risk of thanking a god for something that is not going to work out - I wonder if any subscriber here could recount experience where they were thanking a god, and the god replied "Thanks but no Thanks"?

How do gods respond:

e.g. "Aw shucks, it was nothing really"

Rebel Heart

To be honest I think the best thing for us bloggers and the media to do is to not cover this incident or discuss it in depth as if we were close to them etc and leave the families alone and not make it into some God-standing show. There's great pressure for them to be sharing their faith right now because they feel like they're expected to do it. My friend said her grandma recently suffered loss and the worst thing was Christians trying to tell her God had His hand over the situation, when all she wanted to do was grieve.

They have their friends and communities to look after them... The truth is none of us know them personally and we don't give a shit if it happens on the other side of the world. The only thing is the fact that it happened in NZ which really doesn't connect us at all.

Give them time and if they want to talk about the experience later publicly and talk about God they will.

Man I hope none of the families are reading what I just wrote - it was directed at the bloggers here. Just to show I'm not trying to be insensitive my co-worker just committed a painful suicide two nights ago by drinking litres of acid, last thing he did was call his father at 3am asking him to save him - rushed to the hospital. Isn't a Christian, was a builder all his working life.

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