Mark Joseph Stern posted a story Wednesday, 22 May 2013 over at Slate.com with the headline:

Don’t Pray for Oklahoma

Wolf Blitzer and other journalists should leave God out of natural disasters.

By |Posted Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at 5:44 PM

Well, Mr. Stern, you are wrong, and that is a rather stupid headline. Forest Gump’s momma comes to mind.

The article describes an awkward moment when Wolf Blitzer interviews a mother with babe in arms and asks her if she thanks the Lord. Well, Blitzer seemed a bit forced to me. I expect he realized how much we Oklahomans tend to openly express our faith, and he was trying to fit in. Well, good for him, but I’d rather he stick to the truth of his own heart. If that isn’t something he would normally say, he shouldn’t have said it.

Back to the story, the poor lady kinda generically grunted in the affirmative, and Blitzer didn’t catch the awkwardness, and he followed up. At which point, the lady plucked up and blurted out that she was an atheist, and they both had an awkward laugh. She then finished out with a statement along the lines of, “We’re both here. I don’t blame anyone or thank anyone.”

Okay, whatever works for her. I’m not fond of Blitzer, but that wasn’t fun, and I feel for him, and her. Talking with friends or someone you’ve met under pleasant circumstance makes such a conversation easy if you have chosen to talk of it, but rather uncomfortable when in such dire circumstances and being put on the spot on camera.

Honestly, I don’t believe in atheists. Of course, I understand there are folks who don’t believe in my God, nor anyone else’s, but to believe there is no god, no reason, no ultimate reality, is just more faith than I’ve ever seen anyone demonstrate. I aver wholeheartedly that there is no way to prove God, mine or anyone else’s, and I know that I know that there is no one without doubts. That is the way it must be. Whether God is or isn’t requires that we just cannot systematically, concretely demonstrate it one way or the other. I think it is foolish to take that fact and assume there is no God, no one deserving of our worship. I also think no one does actually make that assumption, at least not in any practical, ultimate, or true sense. There really are only two possibilities. Either there is a god, or not. I cannot find rationale that makes it other than irrational to hold to the negative.

We all understand beauty. We all understand worship, and, honestly, prayer is just an expression of worship and appreciation of beauty. (I mean, God doesn’t need it. We do.)

I have grown over the years to realize that our definition of bad and evil is too encompassing. The tornado was not evil. The lives lost and the destruction are tragic but not bad in the same sense that hacking a man to death in the streets of London is bad. Jihadis screaming about their warped sense of justice and divine order is evil. Cleaving a man with a meat cleaver to prove it is evil. It is bad in the truest sense of the word. This tornado was not bad nor evil in that sense. It was just an emergent phenomenon growing and transforming according to constructal flow tendencies that concentrate the power of the sun and gravity together with the fluid of our atmosphere in such a way as to smash all in its path in an astonishing and chaotic destruction. Doing things with so much power available makes inexplicable things happen, things people tend to refuse to believe, even when they see it with their own eyes (like miracles). It is simply a natural response to an imbalance of energy flows in our atmosphere. An imbalance that occurs often over much of the earth, but it so happens that it is hard to make one of these things, so these kind don’t happen very often. Thank God!

Anyone ever drown? Why does God allow that? Why didn’t God give us gills?

Anyone ever simply slip and fall, crack his head or something, and die from this simple, almost everyday, occurrence? Why does God allow that? Why are such trivial events so potentially fatal?

Anyone ever die of food poisoning? Why does God allow that? Why does God allow food to spoil and become toxic? Why does the sustenance we require turn against us if we don’t consume it quickly enough? Why do we have to work so hard for it in the first place?

We live in a harsh world, a violent universe. Beauty abounds, awe and wonder. Its rewards seem limitless, but it is obviously not for the timid.

Why?

Why? I have inklings, but I do not know. I do, however, believe. I believe there is a reason. I believe there is a purpose. I believe there is an ultimate reckoning, and I believe something unimaginable will ultimately prove out. I believe it will never be easy, but I assume so because it is so hard now.

As Agent Smith asked Neo, “Why?” With Neo I reply, “Because I choose to!”

Isn’t it obvious there is no choice if there is no reason?

Hmm… I find myself a bit sidetracked.

My point is, pray for Oklahoma. Pray when you find yourself in a tight spot. God is there, and He is not silent. God demonstrates His power to individuals. He acts in love. We really don’t understand love. We suppose love means not having tornadoes. I think tornadoes have nothing to do with love. Our actions toward others, that is what defines love. It defines good and evil. To me it is as simple as live justly, love mercy, and walk humbly, and gratefully, before your God. Act in kindness as you are able. That is love; walk in it. Mourn with those who mourn, rejoice with those who rejoice.

Unlike Mr. Stern, I can hold to and count on the goodness of God even while I acknowledge that God “created the waster to destroy.” There is not much I can do with regard to whether such a scripture makes some uncomfortable, nor whether public statements about God and prayer make them uncomfortable.

I choose to live my life with a sense of awe and beauty, a sense of purpose, with my reason intact, with love in my heart (for all, but especially for family), and with an attitude of gratitude. #prayforoklahoma