Monday, January 18, 2010
Church is place for profundity and it's opposite!
Well, yet another wonderful Sunday spent in worship, and some nuggets to get me started on some tangents: it's the Adult Onset ADD, as I like to call it. I remember a girl I dated my senior year telling me she always ended up thinking about sex in church: well, I get distracted, too. Yesterday, our pastor started with a comment about his friend and colleague that was killed in the Haiti earthquake, which led to his pronouncement that the missions in Haiti are about Health Care. Yes, partially, true, but I have a feeling we disagree about the reasons and the cause.
Why is Haiti poor? Answer this, and you'll approach an answer about the total lack of health care in the country other than that provided by foreign charities such as UMCOR, which employed the pastors that died in the Hotel Montana. Why is Haiti, a beautiful half of Hispaniola, in the Caribbean, so poor? Why are so many of these tropical paradises poor?
A lack or opportunity for the citizens to make a good living starts with the type of government and economy they have, couple with available natural resources. Haiti needs jobs, and jobs come from capitalism, right? All the foreign aid will only go so far until the country can support itself financially. By the people, for the people, and of the people, folks, and that's not what Dessalines, the French, or the Duvalier family had been doing all those long years, nor the current government, although after all the unrest of the past twenty years, they could use a little time to establish some infrastructure, etc.
What it led me to think, distractedly, is that we have so much opportunity here in the US that so many of us can't appear to comprehend. By an accident of birth or (hopefully legal) immigrant parents, we are in a land where our poor would be considered comfortable in Haiti. Any sick person in America can receive indigent care at any number of locations and not die from, say, diarrhea like children in Haiti do, every day. So stop whining that our heath care is sooooo expensive or the system is soooo unfair, or that the government (which is us, right, our tax dollars) doesn't pay enough... you have it sooooo good if you could only see past your nose. You know, the possibility that NOT DYING from say, aggressive cancer could drive me into bankruptcy is certainly better than dying from, well, I'll let UNICEF say it:
Haiti has the highest rates of infant, under-five and maternal mortality in the Western hemisphere. Diarrhoea, respiratory infections, malaria, tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS are the leading causes of death.
So shut up about your co-pays and your HSAs and MSAs and your pre-existing conditions and be grateful you aren't sitting on a pile of rocks wondering if you will have food for your children hoping that cough isn't TB. Of course, if you get TB here, no big deal, go to the doctor: in Haiti, good luck with that.
Liturgist, 11:00 service, very nice man, starts off with calling the earthquake "unnatural and we call it a natural disaster," or something very similar. Sir, in trying to sound profound, you just sounded like a fool. *update* he got the line from a prayer website, the 9:30 liturgist this week used the same line and I asked her (as I know her a little better) where it came from. She was embarassed that she used the same line! Earthquakes are the very definition of natural, I just heard an expert say that there were over a million a year. According to this Ask a Scientist post, it could be waaaay more than that. The idea that earthquakes aren't natural is laughable. Prayer FAIL.