You know a different day is dawning when a leading Southern Baptist quotes a Hindu. That's what Houston's Ed Young from Second Baptist did when meeting with local pastors and religious leaders gearing up for a massive community response after Hurricane Katrina at the end of August.
Young quoted Gandhi: "God dares not appear before a hungry man except in the form of bread and water." That sent me to a favorite website (www.brainyquote.com). I found another Gandhi comment that just as easily could have been used: "You must be the change that you seek in the world."
When Katrina struck New Orleans and the Gulf Coast with ferocious wind, rain, storm surge, and flooding, Christianity Today's online staff responded within hours to alert Christians how best to pray, give, or go.
We dispatched news writers Deann Alford, based in Austin, Texas, and Tony Carnes, from New York City, to cover the story as the crisis spun out of control. They interviewed folks from Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama about Katrina and Hurricane Rita.
In this issue, "Hurricane Heroes" reveals Christians being bread and water not only to survivors, but also to lifesavers. Hungry and burned-out police, firefighters, and rescue workers turned up at church-organized feeding stations for a hot meal and emotional and spiritual respite.
Tony told me that on the first Sunday after Katrina he was desperately searching for church services. Nearly all churches in New Orleans had suspended worship. Tony waded from church to church through noxious waters. Some police officers laughed at him, saying, "We will be fishing you out!"
As he stood there, tired and nervous amid the flood, he suddenly sensed someone praying for him. "It was so physical that I turned around ...1