Baptists often squabble. That’s just the way we are. It’s in our DNA, I suppose. Sometimes we squabble face to face, sometimes in letters to the editor, sometimes in blogs. We do it because we care passionately about what we believe and our ability to decide what we believe. We do it because we’re loyal to people who (in our minds) have been mistreated or misrepresented. We do it because we love institutions and ministries that have been built together through the years. When we don’t see eye to eye, we squabble.

There are times, however, when our differences seem much smaller and you see us all on the same page. It’s a tragedy, perhaps, that tragedy brings us together more quickly than anything. When disaster strikes, we’re all over it, and the unspeakable suffering in Haiti has us focused on something other than our differences.

Baptist World Alliance is mourning the death of a prominent Baptist pastor in the quake, and missing others. As of Thursday, a BWAid team was on the ground in Florida (above) awaiting clearance from U.S. officials before flying to Haiti, with other teams — including a dog rescue unit from Hungarian Baptist Aid, also waiting for clearance.

The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is raising money and working together with the American Baptist Churches in the USA to coordinate relief efforts in the ravaged country. A Southern Baptist team is making plans to go, as is a team from Florida.

A medical team from North Carolina Baptist Men has left for work in a medical clinic in Port au Prince (you can follow their progress on Twitter), and North Carolina Baptists will no doubt have a long time presence there.

I’m sure other Baptist groups are at work that I don’t know about, along with many other Christian and charitable organizations. All of them are raising money through donation portals on their websites, and donations are certainly needed.

Baptist work will be one small cog in international efforts to relieve the unspeakable suffering in Haiti, but it is an important cog, working tirelessly because we care.

That’s just the way we are.

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