Some thoughts on this whole New Orleans thing. Usually when there is a natural disaster, or any disaster really, the first fingers point to God. This is difficult because it comes back to the age old question, why do bad things happen to people, Why does God allow bad things happen to people?, or Why does God allow bad things to innocent/good people? Pick one any one they are all the same really.
I don't have an answer. I suspect there will be comments offering answers, but really to a person who has just lost someone and doesn't know God, I doubt those answers will be of any value. Timing is very critical when dealing with a person who has just lost someone. I read and responded to earlier blogs on this which probably wasn't a very good idea on my part. I need lots of time to process things and determine how I feel about them. For me to express feelings right after an event will usually result in me expressing incorrect feelings. Can't really explain it..just know that I'm emotionally handicapped. :-)
So...did God cause the whole New Orleans debacle? Was it modern day Sodom and Gemorrah? That's difficult to answer. I guess it all depends on how you think God interacts in our lives. If God is a hands off kind of fellow and just makes subtle touches in our lives, then I think the answer would be no. People who live in the mid-west are at higher risk for tornadoes, people in California are at higher risk for earthquakes, and people in the gulf are at higher risk for hurricanes. That's just the way it is. Everyone has risk of something. I live 15 miles from, for all intensive purposes, the capital of the world. I'm at higher risk of terrorist attack than people in Boise Idaho. But I choose to live here and that's the way it is.
Now lets suppose that God is a micromanager of sorts. He is very active but we may not actively see it (so no hand coming out of the clouds and other such things). If this is how you feel, then yes I suppose God did cause/allow the hurricane and had a purpose for it hitting the spot it did. Did he do it to punish because he was angry at New Orleans for having a bad football team year after year (I kid, I kid)? No, I don't think so. If this is your view though, all disasters are caused/allowed by God. This includes things like 9/11 (Israelites were captured many times by other invading countries. Assyrians, Babylonians, etc. )
The tragedy of New Orleans is not in the hurricane. There are 'canes every year. Just as their are tornadoes every year. The tragedy of New Orleans is that the levy broke. If the levy didn't break this wouldn't have been a big deal. The ironic thing is that the part of the levy that broke first (and thus making it the weakest part) was the part that they had just "fixed". Because of this, New Orleans isn't a natural disaster. This was a man-made one. A structural engineer made a mistake by underestimating the stress, or politicians made a mistake by cutting back on the project to save money. It doesn't matter who's fault it was, it cost human lives. It stinks, but it's true..and it happens. People screw up all the time.
No matter which way you fall on how God interacts with us the outcome is the same. People give time, money, and convenience to help people they don't know. God blesses those who mourn (Matt 5). People go the second, third and even fourth mile to show Jesus.
I honestly don't know which way is the correct way to think of God. At times I like to think he actively put me in a specific spot at a specific time. I also have trouble with that though because of free will. If he puts me in a spot, how do I have free will to do my own thoughts and actions?
A man goes swimming in a river. He gets his leg caught in a tree branch and drowns. Did God cause the storm and the rain to have the branch fall, float down the water and wait for the man? Or was the man just not careful enough and got his leg caught? I don't think it matters. Either way the man is missed by his friends and family. They turn to God for answers/comfort and find his Son waiting for them with open arms.