Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Earthquakes - upheavals -- and other disasters

It happened at night. I was sleeping peacefully on the fifth floor of the hotel. It took awhile for me to register the fact that I was experiencing an earthquake. The bed bounced, the window rattled, and the car alarm blared. Fortunately, it was a minor earth shake, strong enough to wake, but not strong enough to damage. I did experience the utterly helpless feeling of having the whole earth out of control -- not a good feeling. I could empathize with those families tossed around in Haiti, Chile, and now, Northern Mexico, as earthquakes rocked the very foundations of their buildings, bridges, and bodies. I can empathize. I cannot fully grasp the horror and despair they had as they watched buildings collapse on loved ones, tearing apart families, but I can empathize. However moved I feel about their situation, I can never fully understand their sorrow as life as they knew it was changed forever.

As I watched the reports about the Northern Mexico earthquake, I was alerted to the fact that Tiger Woods would give his "come back" news conference in Augusta. Television reporters promised we would hear the whole story about Woods and how his infidelities rocked the world of golf. A select group of reporters from around the world were allowed to ask him questions in hopes he would be candid and reveal the details of his sins. After the news conference one reporter commented, "I was looking forward to a steak dinner and all I got was a bit of fluff."

Woods' news conference happened the same day a coal mine explosion in West Virginia killed at least 25 miners. In one instant, families were torn apart, the life of a town forever changed. As long as people live in Montcoal, West Virginia, April 5, 2010, will be a day that marks disaster.

All this happened to the backdrop of the Butler Bulldogs losing to the Duke Blue Devils after a buzzer beater three-pointer rattled off the rim.

Each story was reported more passionately than the last -- each event portrayed as the most important news story of this decade. Then, I thought, how can that be? Tiger Woods is a sinful man. He messed up. But are his sins as newsworthy as an underdog basketball team almost upsetting the established giant? I think not.

But then neither story has the impact that a mine explosion or earthquake has: people died. Guys, what is happening in our world when sports stories are on an equal footing with earthquakes and mine explosions? What does it say about our priorities? What does it say about those who put out the news? Do they report the news or do they make the news? What does it say about what our society values?

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

I don’t think we should get hung up on which current news story is the most important. The world is big enough, with enough people, that there is room for more than one news story at a time. Certainly, all the earthquakes in recent history are newsworthy. And certainly, I have compassion for all those who have suffered and are suffering as a result of them. And I pray to God to comfort those who are affected. But if you want to only hear about the most terrible news of the day, there are probably things that happen every day somewhere in the world that are worse than anything in the news. Death and destruction from an earthquake is terrible. But is it worse than a child who starves in Africa, or a person who is imprisoned by terrorists, or a person who falls from a mountain to his death? We can’t make judgments of this nature. The fact is, since sin entered the world, bad things have happened. But, thanks be to God, we have a savior. And someday, heaven awaits all those who believe.

I also have to disagree with some who are so quick to condemn Tiger Woods. He sinned. He did a terrible thing. He hurt lots of people, including his wife, his friends, his golf followers, children who looked up to him, etc. I don’t know what’s in his heart. But he has publically said he was repentant many times. I heard a woman on the radio the other day indicate that she thought Tiger’s wife should never forgive him, no matter what he did or said to pay for it, and essentially that what he did was unforgivable. The bible says that sin is sin, and we have all done it, and that the wages of sin (any sin) is death. That makes us all as guilty as everyone else, and all deserve death. Tiger has continually apologized for what he did. He has admitted he has a problem, and has volunteered for treatment. I don’t think any of us have the right to judge him, or assume that he is not sincere. If he is repentant, God has forgiven him. Thankfully, I am not a celebrity, so I don’t have the temptations Tiger has. But I’m not sure if I would withstand the temptation of numerous beautiful women throwing themselves at me. I’d like to think I would. But I don’t really know. It’s easy for us who don’t have that temptation, to point fingers at Tiger. God has given Tiger tremendous talent, and with that comes fame and responsibility. And for the most part, I think he’s set a pretty good example. Yes, he blew it on this one. But I’ve done my share of sin in my time as well. I would hope people forgive me when I sin against them. I know God does. I’m for accepting Tiger’s apology, and wishing him well.