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Though the Earth Give Way: Haiti, Suffering, and the Crucified God

Paradox before the Ruins Jack Gilbert’s poem “A Brief for the Defense” is a haunting meditation on a central contradiction: that profound suffering and extraordinary joy—each apparently unaccountable in light of the other—so pervade a world ascribed to the work of God. In the poem (Job-like in its honesty of language), Gilbert sets the stark horrors of poverty, violence,... Read More

Fear and Recovery in Post-Quake Haiti: An Interview with Brooke James

Nurse and aid worker Brooke James was on the ground in Port-au-Prince the day that Haiti was hit by the earthquake. A worker for Child Hope/Maison de Lumiere, James was recently featured in CNN’s documentary Rescued, a film following the lives of children and aid workers in Haiti. In this interview, she recalls the quake and reflects on life in Haiti, five months after the... Read More

The Mountain Beyond

In March of 2003, I returned to Haiti for the first time in two decades. I was aching from hours of stooped sitting in the minivan from Cap Haitian to Papay in the Central Plateau. For the past few days, members and supporters of the Papay Peasants Movement (MPP) had come on foot and mules, on the colorful tap tap buses with names like “God Come to My Rescue.” They came... Read More

Still Thirsty: After the Election, Belair, Haiti

February 12, 2006 women and children encircled the broken pipe tongues depressed dry buds colored carmine licked libations from the spout intoxicated bellies with sustenance Five days after the election women and children encircled the broken pipe carried cerise painted pails baptized terra cotta cotton dresses and trousers for petit Jean Paul On a Sunday women and children encircled... Read More

Privilege as Blindness: Why North American Christians Need Haiti

Ever since the devastating earthquake of January 12, we have been talking nonstop about Haiti. To hear us speak, it sounds as though we have just discovered that Haiti exists. However, given that Haiti and the United States have been deeply interconnected since their revolutionary inceptions more than two centuries ago, this ignorance is not just regrettable, it is downright strange.... Read More


Pulled out, alive, from beneath the rubble of mud, slumbering lumber, oppressive concrete clumps, you are a poem a poet has fashioned with a hallelujah ending, a song that simmers then explodes with mirth, a canvas splashed with dashes from every rain-color-bow that ever arched over the Amazon, the Mississippi, the perfumed Nile. Shiny fellow, new as the dawn, novel as a ghost, your... Read More

Gird Up Your Loins, Haiti: A Lesson in Theodicy from Job

One cannot evade the question of God, especially in matters such as the earthquake in Haiti or Chile and the devastation that has followed. Disasters, both natural and unnatural, have a way of opening the human to epistemological crises, and if Alasdair MacIntyre is right, such crises are the essential element of any viable system of thought.1 Pat Robertson, on the other hand, the... Read More

Search and Rescue

u n d e r t h e m u d b r i c k s w o o d a n d m e t a l r o o f s i n b e t w e e n p a n c a k e d b u i l d i n g s d i r t r o c k r u b b l e s t i f l e b l u e s o p e n r e f r i g e r a t o r s c o f f i n s m o t h e r s a n d f a t h e r s s o n s b a b i e s b r o t h e r s d a u g h t e r s s i s t e r s b u r i e d w i t h ... Read More

Why Lord? Haiti and the God-Question

On January 12, 2010, a magnitude 7 earthquake, the same strength quake that rocked San Francisco in 1989, brought the little island nation of Haiti to its knees. Some news outlets have reported that nearly one-third of the nation’s population, or somewhere in the neighborhood of about 3 million people, have been affected either by being killed, maimed, or left homeless. It is... Read More

“With Sighs Too Deep for Words”: On Praying With the Victims in Haiti

We know that the whole creation has been groaning in labor pains until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait... Read More