The View from the Loft: A Lesson on Hurricane Theology

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By Jim Coleman, View From The Loft

Writing about religion or politics is always dangerous, but since I’ve tried politics and survived, I guess I’ll give religion a try.

Actually, it’s not a deeply religious topic, it’s a simple one that always seems to come up this time of year. Before we go any further, please understand that I have a deep and abiding faith. I’m just always amused every fall when we are inundated with HURRICANE THEOLOGY.

I’ll start by telling you that I do have personal experience. I survived a Category 3 hurricane in North Carolina in 1984. The storm passed us out at sea and then in the middle of the night it turned around and came back, stalling half over the land and half over the ocean for 3 days.

The wind blew sustained at 70 miles per hour with gusts to almost 100 and it rained 25 inches.

You really haven’t lived until you’ve experienced wind that moves the forest so violently that the ground literally shakes. Here’s where the theology comes in. I found myself thanking God for Shallotte High School and praying for something to eat other than a cold egg sandwich from the North Carolina State Prison while asking for Divine intervention to prevent me from doing
harm to the offspring of the citizens of the North Carolina tidewater region.

Now I believe in an all-powerful and omnipotent God, the creator of the world and the architect of the universe. Working in the aviation business has given me a new perspective on the beauty of the creation. If you go into space and you photograph a Category 5 hurricane coming across the ocean, few things are more beautiful. The sheer power of the winds and the ocean spinning around a perfect circular eye are all witness to a higher power.

Here is the problem … about 150 years ago, humans in their infinite and self-serving wisdom decided to move where hurricanes go. So, you love the tropical climate, the year-round sun and the opportunity to be outside all year. As a result, you decide to spend a million dollars on a house that’s six feet above sea level and sits on sand (which the Scriptures clearly warned us
against)…and then you want to pray when a hurricane is headed that way??

Seriously?

There are some things that God can’t help you with like stepping in front of a MARTA bus, smoking while filling the lawn mower up with gas and moving to the beach. So, when the hurricane is headed straight for your mother’s condo in Boca Raton and you go to God in prayer only to find out that it changed course and went to Charleston, do you really think that was God? Oh, yeah it was God…it was his creation.

The high-pressure system moved to the northeast allowing the storm to go north and stay in the warm Gulf Stream and gain strength on its way to South Carolina. Mama’s gated community was saved by the divine forces of the universe that have been in place since creation and have governed the movement of storms for ions before you bought that condo. And what about the 5000 homes and lives it destroyed in South Carolina. How are they different from you?

The next time a hurricane is coming let’s all pray for strength to survive our hardships, guidance to do the right thing, patience for our fellow man, good food and sense enough not to walk out in front of a bus.

Photo Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

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Jim Coleman is twice retired as a financial advisor and flight attendant. A theatre geek, musician, arts administrator and preservationist, he lived a relatively obscure life until he crossed paths with Corby Winters. Jim chose Newnan as his new forever home five years ago and is dedicated to making our community the best it can be.

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