Jim Goodrick (23 Feb 2011)
"Andrew Strom: Interesting commentary on Christchurch NZ Quake"

-by Andrew Strom.

It was with terrible sadness that I learned yesterday of another huge
earthquake hitting the New Zealand city of Christchurch. It has only
been 2 months since we left that city and we have many dear
friends there. The first earthquake last year had no fatalities but
this one looks to have many dead and injured.

I want to share a few things about our time in Christchurch that left
me quite disturbed and concerned when we left. But I want to be
sensitive because of the terrible sadness associated with this new quake.

As some of you know, one of the main things that I hoped to do
in Christchurch after the first quake was to organize a large open
worship event in the city - to praise and glorify God that nobody
had been killed even in a huge 7.1 earthquake. I found that no such
event was being planned, but there were thousands of evangelical
Christians in Christchurch, and I felt very strongly that it was
important for us to publicly glorify God for the miracle of surviving
such a disaster with no-one killed. The place was traumatized and
it was obvious that a sensitive Worship event would do much good -
and even many non-Christians would likely attend. But sadly it was
not to be. And this is the disturbing part.

I have organized large events before, so the Christian Radio network
knows me - and quickly agreed to promote the event for free. The
PA sound people also agreed to supply excellent sound for a very
low cost. And the Christchurch City Council couldn't have been
more helpful. Everything was looking good. But then we ran up
against the Christian leaders.

One of the main "networking" Pentecostal leaders in the city told
me that we could count him OUT of any support for the event. Then
I spoke personally with the Dean of Christchurch Cathedral who
told me that we could NOT use the main Square in Christchurch
for a worship event for the whole Body. (Today this man's Cathedral
lies in ruins. It had survived the first quake, but it did not survive
this new one).

I called a number of prominent pastors and worship bands around
Christchurch. I said we had the support of Radio, the Council, the
sound and everything. No response. Worship bands not interested.
Pastors not returning calls. (You might think they were busy after
the quake - but remember no-one died and Christchurch was up
and running pretty fully after only a couple of weeks). I simply
couldn't understand it. The evangelicals of Christchurch had made
no public acknowledgement of God at all - no public worship for
this miraculous escape - no public glorifying of Jesus. Even the
secular News and the politicians were calling it a "miracle". People
were traumatized everywhere. Wasn't it a "no-brainer" that we
should be doing such a thing? Doesn't God deserve public praise
after protecting so many people from harm?

In fact, it was such a no-brainer that the secular people themselves
decided to do something. A number of the top bands and musicians
from New Zealand came down and gave a free concert in the park
for the traumatized city. It was heavily advertised on Radio - and
20,000 people showed up. Of course it was a secular event - not
Christian. The Pentecostals, Charismatics and Evangelicals of
Christchurch had made virtually no public sound at all.

I felt strongly that I could not push things any further without some
basic support from the church. We managed to hold a couple of
outdoor concerts for the homeless, and got involved with distributing
"care packages" and things, but I was so disappointed. In fact I was
more than disappointed - I was alarmed and deeply disturbed. I even
told some friends that it was "dangerous" to offer no public praise
after God has just so obviously saved your city. I felt so strongly
about it - and deeply saddened for the state of the Body of Christ.
But I could do nothing more.

On December 17, 2010, my family departed from Christchurch. On
December 28th we boarded a plane for Australia. I believe it may
be some time before we ever return.

My heart truly goes out to the people of Christchurch - and to all
the world so poorly served by the church of our day. This was truly
one of the worst "lost opportunities" that I have ever witnessed in
all my years with the church. And Christchurch was truly one of
the most beautiful cites I have ever seen. The people are so dear
to us. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, my friends. May
God bless and protect you all in these dark times.

-Please comment on this article at the website below-


Yours with great sadness,

Andrew Strom.

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