Thursday, September 23, 2004

 

A Story About Haiti

The latest in the succession of the "swirling weather patterns of the wrath of God" is now past Haiti. Of course, the hurricane never really hit the country; it just gave it a glancing blow. There are 700 dead and counting in that nation tonight. But this is not a story about hurricanes, or death tolls (neccesarily). This is, however, a story about Haiti—and about capitalism and colonization.

Once a colony of France, Haiti gained independennce in 1804. Two hundred years of a nation steeped in poverty. Once a mountainous, wooded country it has now become one big mudslide. The reason? Deforestation has ravaged the countryside because many of the poor cut down trees to sell as fuel so that they can feed their children. The trees that used to acnhor the soil in place on the mountains are no longer in existence. Their existence as a part of the Two-Thirds world has made a natural weather phenomenon and national disaster. In the neighboring Domincan Republic 18 were killed. Eighteen! Three were killed in Puerto Rico. So how is it that the country that gets side swiped by the hurricane loses the most? Capital. The poverty of the nation triggers a failure in right use of the earth which triggers the death of 3000 people with the rains of May. As Anthony and I have discussed on more than one occasion, who will be there to stand in the way of the totalizing consumption of capitalism?

N. T. Wright has stated that the main Christian agenda cannot be abortion and the right to life (see the illustration of the cigarette). This is merely a way of not facing the bigger problem. The bigger problem is that there are poor, hungry, and homeless people in the Two-Thirds world. So whoever you vote for, remember this: the poor you will always have with you. Not a derogatory remark about the ever present reality of poverty, but a statement pointing to what Jesus intended for the church. They are to welcome the neighbour in. The poor will always be with the church because the church is to extend hospitality. How can the church even justify its existence when half of the town of Gonaives is now homeless; a town of 200,000 where 100,000 will be sleeping without shelter, cooking without utensils.

To quote Michael Lodahl from his September 22, 2004 sermon: "The Christian idea of housing is that...well, it is that nobody should be homeless."

This Winter, while sitting in church I had a vision in which every member of the church stood up once the sermon was finished and left the sanctuary. They filed out in a orderly fashion, went to the airport, boarded planes to Haiti and put their bodies in the way of all the violence that was happening in those days. The story continues, what will the ending be?

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Monday, September 20, 2004

 

Ghosts

"I do believe in spooks. I do believe in spooks."

Tonight has been haunted. I just received an e-mail telling me that "Ghosts are real." Earlier tonight I was listening to Sleeping at Last's album, entitled Ghosts. Earlier, while taking that God damned test Anthony referred to, I was asked whether or not I believed that the Holy Spirit (a.k.a. the Holy Ghost) really exists. All this while preparing to order Derrida's Specters of Marx. One more creepy occurence tonight: a ghost from China's communist past has resigned control of the military. It will be very interesting to see where this move takes China. Since reading this book and having its author as my advisor I have taken a recent interest in the affairs of China.

One final note, I would like to officially welcome Jake Sikora to A Failure to Communicate. He is my friend and colleague at Garrett and I am glad to have him contributing here. If you have not taken the time to read his initial post please do it, it is the most charming story I have heard about something that really matters.

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