The Lord Works in Mysterious Weblogs

Two years ago, Atlanta Journal-Constitution reporter Ron Martz was embedded as a journalist in Iraq when two soldiers travelling with him were shot. He wrote a first-person column that thanks God for providing him with human shields:

I prefer to believe it was the hand of God that put them there, one behind me, one to my left. They were there to protect me. ...

Had they not been there, I most likely would not be now typing this.

Less than 30 minutes after the two soldiers joined me, both were wounded by bullets that could have hit me. The soldier behind me was hit in the left wrist and the left eye by a bullet that struck the side of the armored personnel carrier and shattered. A bullet hit the soldier to my immediate left in the right arm, just a few inches from my left arm. The bullet broke his arm, entered his body just below his armpit and came out his back.

This kind of reductive, God-picked-sides reasoning creeps me out, whether it's a journalist crediting God for bullets hitting someone else or a quarterback who thanks God in victory but never makes Him catch Hell in defeat.

Because I leave comments open on Workbench, the discussion of Martz's column has become a debate between his current and former wives, now that Cynthia Martz has dropped by:

Mary Warren is Ron Martz's current wife. No wonder she supports him! As his ex-wife of 25+ yrs. I think I know Ron Martz a bit better.

Though I don't know which one is the better authority on Martz, I know who to thank for sending Cynthia to my weblog.


I'm not sure she really sheds that much light on the issue though. Are we supposed to assume that his motivations for invoking the deity are suspicious because he found religion later in life? Or because he was a jerk before he found religion? Unfortunately, such arguments are very easily turned around -- "See, he used to be a jerk who couldn't stay married (or a drunk son of a president), but God changed even that poor sinner's life; isn't God GREAT!?"

In any case, the entire concept of religion is that God picks sides. So I don't see anything strange about the general idea. However, it's not really in keeping with Christian theology for an individual to presume that he can judge which sides God has picked. And it's just plain wacky for a person to be extrapolating "The Will of God" onto unfortunate events that happen to other people close to him. That's tinfoil territory, and something I've seen more than once in homeless and crack addict populations (maybe war reporting is a form of dangerous addiction). We can at least be thankful that his explanation for the two casualties near him did not include the phrase "VENGEANCE IS MINE, SAYETH THE LORD!"

Josh - good points

I used to love comedian Jeff Stillson's act: "Yeah, we were about to score, everything was going great, until Jesus made me fumble. He hates our team." If only life would imitate art more.

Existence is a three-act play. It's really about Life, the Universe, and Everything.

Life is strange, but if we lived like there was no yesterday or tomorrow, it might make more sense.

Quantum field theory will only take us so far, but it does tell us that the Tao doesn't choose sides.

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