Date: Sat Sep 15, 2001 8:58 pm
Reply To: ELCA-L@yahoogroups.com
Subject: Saturday in New York
I've just sent out the daily notice to the school about where and how help is needed. In the quad outside my window, there are chairs and tables and a canopy for a Jewish wedding which will take place at sundown. The guests have gathered, and the band is playing Amazing Grace. God bless New York.
It has been a beautiful day, the sun bright and warm, the air crisp. A group of students just left to go downtown. There are reports that air quality there is not very good and that asbestos is a potential problem. But people are still working in the wreckage, still searching for loved ones, still homeless. We have a sense that ministry is a dangerous business.
Quite a bureaucracy has grown up trying to organize help effectively. Many are complaining at how long it takes to reach a human being on the phone; at being told to go here, then there. At hearing they need cooks, trained counselors, etc., and then not being able to find out where and when they're needed. 'Cause you can't get to where the help is needed unless you're authorized.
One of my professors, Pastor Barbara Lundblad, was down at the Armory today talking with those who are still missing family members. The Clinton family, New Yorkers now, was there. A fellow student saw Pres. Clinton give a moving impromptu address last night at the Javits Center. Secondhand paraphrase: "Those who brought down the WTC hate what we have here. Look around. Look at this crowd, look at this city. You see every kind of person here, every kind of cuisine. They can't stand the fact that we're able to live together with all our differences." God bless America.
A number of people outside NYC have asked what they can do right now. I am going to send another note about prayer support. Otherwise, I think the single best thing at the moment is money. That's a gift that will be needed in the short and the long term. That's a gift that can be easily deployed where and when it's needed. I recommend the American Red Cross (800-HELPNOW, due to volume http://store.yahoo.com/redcross-wtc1/ is the recommended address), or your church's disaster relief fund. (This is one thing the Lutherans actually do well, 800-638-3522, http://www.elca.org/disaster/)
I would like to say a little bit about the $40B and the recent actions by the U.S. Congress.
Make no mistake about it, we have suffered a national, even a worldwide trauma. One of the feautures of trauma is that people wish to do something to regain a sense of control over their lives. You probably know the deep desire to DO SOMETHING. We've seen that deep desire over and over again since Tuesday. I have heard the following action plans:
-- Rebuild the Towers
-- Institute a draft
-- Bomb Afghanistan back to the Stone Age (thanks to two decades of war and the Taliban it's very nearly there)
-- Appropriate $40B even if we're not yet sure what to do with it
It seems to me that these are all, at this point, hasty and ill-considered responses to our deep pain. NYC and Washington and our airline security all will need help and money. Combating future terrorism demands action. But it's too early to take action on any of the other plans. Let us first mourn our dead, and then consider what response will truly be in our best interest. More terror will not be a fitting monument.
Please contact your representatives in Washington and raise your voice for a more measured and careful response than the current rhetoric indicates.
President Bush (202-456-6213; http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ELCA-L/post?protectID=197212192112082154184158031248166187239230057219183193250143172201143242)
Secretary of State Colin Powell (202-647-4000; http://groups.yahoo.com/group/ELCA-L/post?protectID=246056219180056134169061164248229222134230057046113121042)
Senators and Representatives (contact info: http://capwiz.com/savetibet/home/)