January 21, 2010

Let’s Talk About Haiti

by Brent Laytham

As I wrote in our monthly newsletter, I’m confident we are already praying for the Hatian church and people "with our hands and feet, our sweat and tears, our time and money." This way of putting things, and deep wisdom about natural disaster, are found in Debra Dean Murphy’s eloquent blog.

With agrarians like Norman Wirzba and Ragan Sutterfield in our midst, I’ve been mindful that Haiti’s crisis was made over centuries of political and economic injustice, culminating in decades of ecological devastation. Things didn't first go wrong when the earth shook last week, but in the last few decades as deforestation made the soil slide down the mountains and as the best arable land was expropriated to service foreign debt. For now the earthquake is the crisis of the moment, and we must pray and care with immediacy and focus. But Haiti needs more than triage for a sudden crisis. Let our praying and caring have enough perspective to see the larger ecological and economic problems in Haiti, and enough patience to stay engaged long after the Red Cross has moved to the next emergency.

I suggested Prichard's article(in the Evangelicals for Social Action newsletter) for some perspective, and because it links to an organization, Plant with Purpose, which has been attending to Haiti’s ecology for quite a while. Endorser Andy Johnson writes that his Sunday School class has been sponsoring a village in Haiti through Florestra, a Christian non-profit which works to reverse deforestation and poverty. So let’s talk about Haiti. Are there other organizations you would recommend to your fellow EPers? Have you


Anonymous said...

It is difficult to overestimate the importance of organizations familiar with and long present in Haiti. Two I would call attention to are Partners in Health, founded by Paul Farmer:

and Jesuit Refugee Services:

Mark Ryan said...

I have been getting emails from family members--ftrying to be faithful, I suppose--about "miraculous" stories displayed on CNN involving the survival of individuals who were discovered after days of being buried. A jug of water was just in reach, or a box of cereal when the quake hit. The subject line is invariably "Good News!" I must say I wonder about why we're turning to these events as signs of Christian hope. What exactly are they meant to be signs of? In one such, however, there was a story quite different. It said that a Prayer and Praise service went on at the Cathedral (presumably Roman Catholic) on Saturday a few hours after the Archbishop's burial in the same location. Isn't that more miraculous, more like "good news" for Christians?!