May 8th, 2011
12:01 AM ET

In the heart of tornado-ravaged Bama Nation, a new battle cry: ‘Let go! Let God!’

By Wayne Drash, CNN

Tuscaloosa, Alabama (CNN) – The Rev. Kelvin Croom walks down the hall toward the sanctuary his father built 30 years ago with the help of legendary Alabama football coach Paul “Bear” Bryant.

“Just glad to be alive,” a deacon says.

“I know what you mean,” Croom responds.

With its painted cement block walls and low ceilings, the hall has the feel of a locker room corridor. In rooms off the hall, church members rummage through debris, trying to salvage anything they can. Windows shattered when the tornado hit. The roof of the fellowship hall upstairs blew off and crashed into nearby homes.

On Easter Sunday, three days before the tornado struck, Croom preached of salvation, of the need to rebuild one’s life, of finding hope even in times of desperation. The rejoicing and the stomps of feet had the pews bouncing.

The place oozed with love. So many people packed the church they literally filled the building to its rafters, with people standing all the way upstairs in the fellowship hall.

Back in the church for the first time since that service, Croom steps through the doorway into that sacred spot, the sanctuary of College Hill Baptist Church. His voice draws to a hush. The crimson carpet, the pews with their crimson cushions, the stained glass windows – everything is untouched.

“In here, you’d have no idea anything happened,” he marvels.

On April 27, a mile-wide tornado tore through Tuscaloosa, one of nearly 200 twisters to strike the South as part of a record storm. Hundreds died, including dozens in this college town – many of whom lived in the area known as Alberta City where College Hill Baptist sits.

The church lies at the center of the damage, as well as at the crossroads of faith, football and Alabama history. In a community where gospel and gridiron are interwoven like a hand-stitched Southern quilt, it all comes together at College Hill Baptist.

The Rev. Kelvin Croom tells his congregation, "We will rebuild!"

The building speaks of history, of a unique bond between two men – one white, one black – at a time when there were few such relationships. While Bryant is revered like no other, it’s Croom’s father, the late Rev. Sylvester Croom Sr., who stands as a pillar of the African-American community in this part of the state.

As a young man, the elder Croom couldn’t attend his hometown college. He couldn’t even step foot into the University of Alabama stadium. He’d stand outside the gate to watch games.

Eventually, though, he became spiritual adviser to Bryant and two other Crimson Tide coaches. He would come to grace the sidelines for years, decked out in his iconic white suit and crimson cowboy hat and boots.

When the elder Croom was starting the church in the 1970s, Bryant gave him a PA system. He gave the pastor money, too, sometimes thousands in cash, sometimes hundreds. “Whatever Dad needed,” Kelvin Croom says.

“He and my dad had a very unique relationship.”

Kelvin and his brother, Sylvester Jr., were among the first African-American football players at Alabama.

And when Gov. George Wallace apologized to Tuscaloosa’s African-American community for his staunch support of segregation and for barring blacks from entering the university, he came to the Croom family. “Will you forgive me?” Wallace asked.

Today, Kelvin Croom surveys the damage outside the church. The parking lot is littered with lumber strewn from homes, roofing tiles and other debris. With the second story gone, he’s not sure the building can be salvaged, even if the sanctuary is OK.

Behind him, a smashed church sign leans to the side, almost like a crooked cross. Two plaques remain intact: one honoring Bryant; the other honoring the elder Croom.

A portrait of the elder Croom survived the tornado.

“We were taught by my dad and we were taught by Coach Bryant, when situations come into your life, obstacles come, then you have to be strong,” Croom says.

“We have to let go what we’re tasting. This is a bitter pill, but God does have his way of resurrecting us. Yeah, we’re hurt … but we can rebuild and come back.”

Last year, his church made green T-shirts with a slogan in the form of a cross: “Let go! Let God!”

“We’ve been wearing the shirts. Now, we gotta live it,” he says. “Now that we have to deal with this calamity, you put aside racial barriers, religious and political. We’re one people. We’re Alabamians.”

He gives a soft holler: “Roll Tide,” the beloved chant of Alabama fans.

“It’s become more than a sports theme,” he says. “It’s a bond between people who have a common interest in humanity, who believe in a democracy, who believe in a higher power. It’s a nation. We call it Bama Nation.”

Across the state, people are mourning. The loss of life and property is indescribable. Thousands of houses across Tuscaloosa alone are damaged or destroyed. Scores of people remain missing.

Faith and football won’t replace the utter destruction that has shaken so many lives here. Yet it’s what people cling to. Conversations with those whose homes were destroyed often end with “Roll Tide.”

Last year the church made "Let go! Let God!" T-shirts. "We’ve been wearing the shirts. Now, we gotta live it," Croom says.

In the fall, they say, the sanctuary on Saturdays is Bryant-Denny Stadium, where more than 100,000 fans gather in the heart of campus to cheer for the Crimson Tide. On Sundays, the place of worship is any of the hundreds of churches throughout this thick Bible Belt region where Saturday’s chants are replaced by prayers and gospels.

It’s why a chemistry professor from Germany says, “The holy man in Alabama is not the pope. It’s Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant.” Outside Croom’s torn up church, a military policeman put aside his allegiance to cross-state rival Auburn University to protect the property from looters.

“I’m an Auburn fan,” says Sgt. Casey Chambers, “but above that I’m a true Alabamian.”

A handgun at his hip, Chambers says through a big grin, “I’m protecting y’all.”

'How we come together'

Terry Jones is the legendary noseguard who played for the Crimson Tide in the mid-1970s and went on to play for the NFL’s Green Bay Packers.

Now a strength coach at Alabama, Jones was in the team’s practice facility when the tornado ripped through Tuscaloosa. An announcement came over the PA system for everyone to take cover.

He rounded the corner into his office. On his wall, Bear Bryant looked down. Jones stared back at the man who shaped his life, one of five mentors who molded him.

“Where you thinking of going to school?” Bryant had asked him on a recruiting trip.

“South Carolina,” Jones told him.

Bad choice, Bryant said. “All you’ll do is play football, and you’ll lose all your games. What’s your second choice?”

When Jones responded with the University of Tennessee, Bryant leaned over. “You can go there,” the coach said, “but we’re going to kick your ass every year.”

Alabama strength coach and former NFL star Terry Jones weathered the storm at the Crimson Tide’s practice facility.

Jones became an All-American playing for Bryant. Yet, he says, he also owes much of his success to another man: the elder Rev. Croom.

Jones, who started playing for Alabama in 1974, remembered a story he heard from his older teammates. In 1973, the Crimson Tide was about to play Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl. The black players for both schools planned to sit out the game to send a civil rights statement across the nation.

Bryant phoned his spiritual adviser: Get to New Orleans and mediate the situation. The Rev. Sylvester Croom gathered the athletes.

“This is an opportunity for you to showcase your talents and get to the next level, the NFL. Don’t jeopardize that,” the elder Croom said. “You’re the pride of the black community. Don’t let us down!”

Everyone suited up. The game went on. (Alabama fans don’t like to talk about the outcome; the Crimson Tide lost 24-23 on a field goal in the last five minutes, but the team still won the national title that year.)

All that went through Jones’ mind as he hunkered down in his office, the storm overhead. The 6-4, 320-pound giant owed his life to both those men. If the elder Croom hadn’t given that speech to the black players who preceded him, his career could have been over before it started. If Bryant hadn’t switched him to noseguard his senior year, he might never have starred with the Packers.

Bryant made his players attend church. He ingrained it in them: Football and faith help shape a boy into a man. Jones now serves as a deacon at College Hill Baptist Church.

Legendary Alabama football coach Paul ‘Bear’ Bryant mentored Jones and helped the elder Croom start his church.

In his office that day, he reflected on a quote from Bryant: “If you believe in yourself and have dedication and pride and never quit, you’ll be a winner. The price of victory is high, but so are the rewards.”

Life has been good to him, thought Jones, a small-town boy from Sandersville, Georgia, who broke racial barriers and crushed many a lineman along the way.

Jones braced for the worst. The wind whipped outside. The tornado missed his building.

“Every Saturday, I’ve seen how we come together – the football and the religion,” he says. “This storm, I think, brought everything together right here.”

Sermons in the barber chair

Clee Greene no longer walks with that pep in his step from when he first arrived in Tuscaloosa in 1960. He got off the back of the bus from Louisiana with a “dollar and quarter” in his pocket and has never looked back.

He’s now got a bridge named after him in Alberta City.

While Bryant brought black players to Tuscaloosa to play football, it was Greene who helped shape them into men. The barber on the other side of the railroad tracks would sit the young kids in his chair and preach to them about life and love, God and unity.

Clee Greene was barber and counselor to nearly every black University of Alabama football player for decades.

Nearly every black football player from the 1970s through the 1990s, from Terry Jones to NFL Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas, sought haircuts and counseling from him. At 73, he remains a father figure to Jones. “If you got nothing to do, you just go to Clee’s,” Jones says outside the shop. “He’s an institution.”

A pious man with veins that bleed Crimson Tide and Bible scripture, Greene says the tornado looked like the devil when it came through. “It began to make a tail,” he says in an accent as thick as sorghum. “It went up in the air, like it had arms and shoulders.”

Electricity poles snapped with gigantic flashes. The tornado screamed, and his house shook. “A train is coming in,” his granddaughter said as they huddled in a hallway.

“That’s not a train,” he told her.

Remarkably, his house is one of the few in Alberta City that wasn’t harmed. He runs his barbershop out of his house. He gives away more haircuts than he sells.

Sitting in his barber chair amid Crimson Tide memorabilia, he says God is trying to send a message with the tornado: “He wants us to get back to loving each other.”

It’s kind of like football, he says: “You got to dig down deep inside yourself and pull yourself up.”

What sustains him now amid such destruction?

Faith for one, he says.

The other? Well, Greene decides to demonstrate. He leaps from his barber chair and searches through his belongings. He pulls out a stuffed elephant, the Alabama mascot known as Big Al.

Terry Jones, left, and Clee Greene belt out the chant of Crimson Tide fans.

He presses a button. The elephant grinds its hips to the tune of the Alabama fight song. Greene places his nose to his shoulder and throws his arm into the air, like it’s an elephant trunk.

With Terry Jones at his side, Greene begins to belt out that iconic chant. The legendary noseguard joins in: ROLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL TIDE ROLL!

'We will rebuild'

Standing at the altar on the Sunday after the storm, Croom dabs the sweat from his brow with a white coach’s towel. Dozens in his flock lost their homes when the tornado gutted Tuscaloosa. Many lost friends and loved ones.

Tears and hugs, singing and rejoicing punctuate the service. The University Church of Christ volunteered space for members of College Hill Baptist to worship.

“Just tell somebody I need you to survive,” he preaches. “Tell the person next to you: I pray for you; you pray for me.”

The congregants pause. They share hugs and pleasantries. “Our community has been devastated, but God still lives,” Croom says.

The pastor calls everyone to the altar. More than 200 people huddle together. Some place hands on shoulders; others hold hands.

“Some of us looked death in the face. Some of us thought it was over in the storm. But God gave us new life,” Croom says. “The flock will not be scattered because of this storm. College Hill still stands. We’re here today!”

“Some will say the church is over there,” Croom booms, pointing toward the tattered building across town.

He then points at members of the congregation: “No, the church is where you go! And you go! And you go! … That’s where the church is!”

Kelvin Croom walks down the hall of his church; many members of his congregation lost friends and loved ones.

He preaches for more than an hour. A woman sings "Amazing Grace":

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Croom implores the congregation to volunteer, to help thy neighbor. The church was planning a complete renovation before the storm. Maybe, Croom says, the tornado is a warning to be careful what you ask for. Now, they have no choice but to rebuild.

“Lord, I will serve you forever,” Croom hollers. “We will rebuild! We will rebuild! God bless you! God bless you!”

And in true Alabama fashion, he ends with the two words that have brought people here together for decades: “Roll Tide!”

CNN’s Sarah Hoye contributed to this piece.

- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Alabama • Baptist • Belief • Church • God • Houses of worship • Pastors • Prayer

soundoff (600 Responses)
  1. Bob Rock

    Osama and Jesus actually had a lot in common. they looked alike (beard an all – allthough the pictures of "Jesus" are probably imagined). One was of the religion of "peace", the other one of "love". They both died at the hands of an empire. Let's just hope that Osama will not get resurected too soon (although for sure someone will take over for him soon). Amen!

    May 8, 2011 at 11:35 am |
  2. Johny

    What evidence can you put on the table that there is no God? If my church taught that god was an invisible being that was in the sky somewhere then frankly I wouldn't believe in God. Your image of God is flawed. Next time do some research before you put down someones beliefs without knowing what they actually believe in.

    May 8, 2011 at 11:31 am |
  3. Name* Sad

    I find it sad how easily people say there is no God. He placed his holy ghost in all if us so that we may be living embodiments of Him. Even with your denial and insult of Him he still loves you.

    It is not because of stupidity or lack of reason that I trust and believe in Him, it is because I am a witness and embodiment of His great love, mercy and grace. I hope you
    Get the great pleasure and joy to experience His love in your days on earth.

    May 8, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  4. Megan

    I lived in Montgomery, Alabama in 2 grade. I did not know there was a difference in people having been raised military and by parents that did not agree that others should be treated differently. One day mom was returning home and there was an elderly crippled man walking along the road with heavy packages. She gave him a ride home even though he protested she could get in trouble.I was 7. To this day I think she did the right thing. She came home and told us to go through clothes toys books etc that we didnt use and put it in the station wagon. She did the same thing with my dads and her own clothes then the food. We were not rich. Our belongings were bought on sale or not at all.This held true even when I was the only child still at home. I am white and my best friend and her late husband who was like a brother to me is black. She is like a sister to me to this day.

    May 8, 2011 at 11:27 am |
  5. Miguel

    the wonderful thing about faith: it requires no evidence...I think just as freely as anyone yet I still have faith in one God, one Savior and one Holy Spirit. I don't try to convince anyone to believe. I live my life and when the opportunity arises, I'll tell others about Him. They make the decision to accept or not. Also, God doesn't send tornados or earthquakes or fires. These are just the acts of nature in a turbulent world. I don't blame God for things I cannot control...lastly, I find it sad that people judge God by the actions of people who claim or have claimed to be His followers. He is; regardless of what people say or do. KKK members say they worship God but their actions say otherwise...does that change who God is?? not at all....

    May 8, 2011 at 11:24 am |
  6. Rollins

    A demonstration of how Christinsanity is getting whites to kill themselves. "They're just like us! Jesus told me so! Hallelujah!"

    CNN's really pouring on the diversity prop lately, isn't it?

    May 8, 2011 at 11:21 am |
  7. Darwin

    Every time something REALLY horrible happens, preachers come up with "explanations" of how it's "all part of God's plan", "God is testing our faith", "They're in a better place now", etc. etc. Apparently they actually believe that there is a big white guy with a beard up in the sky who controls the weather and occasionally says, "Hey, I think I'll make some tornados today and kill people." I think I'll discuss this issue with the tree spirit in my backyard and the leprachaun who lives in the attic.

    May 8, 2011 at 11:19 am |
  8. jen

    Ah the woes of religion, faith, and false gods.
    Believe in the human spirit, compassion, helping others, doing the right thing, and love. you don't need a god for that. Just you and every other human and living thing on the planet and in the universe.

    May 8, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • kdog

      Have your been reading the Gospels? You're quoting Jesus.

      May 9, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  9. jojo

    Don't you just love it when God sends warnings to the red states, and they ignore them????????? I wish he would just hit politicians, tho. He needs to work on His aim.

    May 8, 2011 at 11:09 am |
  10. kdog

    Anytime there is an article on faith out come the (very) predictable comments.

    May 8, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Sonny

      Sooooo predictable. They must think they are being very creative.

      May 8, 2011 at 11:14 am |
  11. jojo

    Don't you just love it when God sends warnings to the red states, and they ignore them????????? I wish he would just hit politicians, tho. He needs to work on His aim.

    May 8, 2011 at 11:08 am |
  12. Sonny

    No difference in the hate being posted on here from the hate being posted on Foxnews.com. You are more alike than you think.

    May 8, 2011 at 11:07 am |
    • Darwin

      You seem to be forgetting that Christians are the largest hate group on Earth. Every Sunday, tens of thousands of preachers around the world proclaim that if you don't believe and do exactly what we tell you, YOU ARE GOING TO HELL TO BURN FOREVER. That's about as hateful as it gets, folks.

      May 8, 2011 at 11:31 am |
    • Sonny

      Not all Christians are alike. I am Christian, my pastor for the last 25 years reads from the Bible and at the end of his sermon about mostly about being good and helping others, he says "Do as you believe is right". he never says " you are going to hell" or anything of that sort. I have seen many preachers do that, so you are partially right. Now explain to me, what have so many athiest dictators done? Your argument has no base.

      May 8, 2011 at 11:58 am |
  13. RTR

    Evidence of a God? Let's see: Bear Bryant and Sylvester Croom Sr. ROLLLLLLLLLL Tide.

    May 8, 2011 at 11:05 am |
  14. ben

    these primitive idiots still worship an invisible man in the sky and want to 'let go' of criticial thinking and the ability to reason (not that they ever had these skills). The irony is, that the same god they want to 'let go' to, just sent a tornado which destroyed their town. LOL!!!

    May 8, 2011 at 11:00 am |
  15. pd

    Roll Tide, Tuscaloosa Family! Much love to Bama nation from a transplant in TX! I'm not sure why the atheists felt the need to rant on a story about overcoming adversity. As a rule, no one likes when anyone pushes their religious beliefs on others, even a lack of belief. We all believe in whatever we want. Donate and volunteer to help people.

    May 8, 2011 at 10:57 am |
    • Phage0070

      This story about overcoming adversity has a strong religious overtone. The dangers and damage caused by religion will overshadow a simple inspirational story, much like a rags-to-riches story set in the context of the Nazi push for world domination and genocide would be overshadowed with discussion of the regime.

      May 8, 2011 at 11:13 am |
    • sassypants

      We will praise the Lord through this storm! God is an awesome God!

      May 8, 2011 at 11:30 am |
  16. bluemax77

    Thump that bible, kill that heretic – It’s all the same lunacy in the end – Sad people...!!

    May 8, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • YBP

      I find it hard to pity stupid people. Religion is a choice.

      May 8, 2011 at 10:53 am |
    • bluemax77

      Then don’t – Unless you have a red neck gun to your head...!!

      May 8, 2011 at 12:12 pm |
  17. YBP

    Anyone notice the striking resemblance at the top of this page between Jesus and Osama bin Laden? Or is that just too impossible to even imagine?

    May 8, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • Ruth

      YBP you do not even have 1 ounce of respect, its so sad.

      May 8, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Phage0070

      Nobody has even the faintest idea what Jesus actually looked like. That is the big joke behind all his depictions; it is blatantly fabricated straight from people's imagination. And yet like other aspects of religion it is silently accepted and incorporated into the story, so that people would protest strongly against a fat, ugly-faced, balding Jesus picture.

      May 8, 2011 at 11:10 am |
    • pat carr

      sorry we're fresh out of respect for an aggressive hateful religion

      May 8, 2011 at 1:22 pm |
  18. Real Life Canton

    Rebuilding a city or town after a storm is a good thing. People coming together to help and support each other is a good thing. Believing the stone age mythology of Christianity or any other religion is not. Religion has no place in modern society, and those who still believe that nonsense should really feel a strong sense of shame and should be asking themselves, "How could I believe such silliness?"

    May 8, 2011 at 10:47 am |
    • Randoms

      Well said. People who rely on a higher being to dictate their actions are just sheep. Unless some one can prove otherwise, you die – you rot. End of story. It is my reality and I don't put faith into hypocrisy.

      May 8, 2011 at 11:36 am |
    • john

      well, how about this. For hundreds of thousands of years men have been searching for the truth, and here you two have it figured out. where was CNN blogs when the scholars and philosophers needed it. You two have discovered the mystery of the universe. you found out there is no God. can you tell me how you discovered this?

      May 8, 2011 at 11:47 am |
    • Randoms

      Observation and Science. Faith is good, if you need to be lead that way.

      May 8, 2011 at 1:33 pm |
  19. Dolce21

    You are so wrong Lard, you have hurts, and no faith, because your afraid to show compassion, if that was the case and you let go, you would know there is a Loving God!

    May 8, 2011 at 10:45 am |
    • Real Life Canton

      What evidence do you have that your God exists? Be careful how you answer...

      May 8, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • PraiseTheLard

      I have faith – in my ability to think and to reason.

      I also have compassion – I feel very sorry for people who choose to wallow in their ignorance and delusions...

      May 8, 2011 at 10:51 am |
    • pd

      Faith does not require evidence. I'm a scientist, so I understand the strangeness of that concept.

      May 8, 2011 at 11:00 am |
    • ralph

      To RLC – Your comprehension of self awareness .

      May 8, 2011 at 11:08 am |
    • Sonny

      Praisethelard has compassion? I can't tell. You insult people to make yourself seem like the smart/tough guy. I use to bully, bullie like you in H.S. If people don't want to believe..fine, and if they do, that's fine too.


      May 8, 2011 at 11:24 am |
    • john

      hey canton, i actually have TONS of proof. but it was all custom made for me. Do you really think God is in the business of manufacturing magic tricks for you so you will love him? your concept of God is a genie. My love is personal between me and him, none if it concerns you. you want proof? ask him not us

      May 8, 2011 at 11:42 am |
    • Joseph

      Dolce ... are you saying it takes a belief in a God for someone to be compassionate towards their fellow human beings ? Why don't you go out on the streets of Alabama and tell that to all the non-churchgoers who are helping as much as the believers in helping people in need in the past week

      May 8, 2011 at 12:16 pm |
    • Jimmie

      RLC- How do you know God doesn't exist?

      May 8, 2011 at 1:26 pm |
  20. Joseph

    If I was part of a group that was trying to convince people there is some sort of God, I would choose a better slogan than "let go, let God". All that slogan says to us atheists,freethinkers & agnostics is "Let go of reason, logic and reality, let God do all your thinking for you"

    May 8, 2011 at 10:44 am |
    • ben

      Anyone else find it funny that after 'god' sent a tornado to destroy their church, these clown are all "hey, let go, let god!" ?? If I were them I'd take a int. Either A. There is no god. Or B. God doesn't particularly like them.

      May 8, 2011 at 10:48 am |
    • YBP

      Stupid people. Stupid ideas.

      May 8, 2011 at 10:50 am |
    • The Truth

      Very well said....lame slogan. Religion is to blame for so many bad things in the world...it will never end as well...there is a religious group out in cali....familyradio that is saying the bible guarantees may 21, a few weeks away is judgement day!! What a joke!! How many people are listening to that and talking it seriously? Idiots!! How many lives will be ruined by mindless followers getting ready for the end? Not mine!!

      May 8, 2011 at 10:54 am |
    • the truth

      I have always have been confused when people use that term. It does denote let stuff happen and do nothing to direct the course of action and has always struck me as being irresponsible. I would counter with another "god helps those that help themselves". As usual another day where us atheists have to endure endless spiritual manure from the so called enlightened.

      May 8, 2011 at 11:06 am |
    • Ken Emery

      I agree completely with the comment above. Let Go, Let God? Thanks but no thanks, I'll continue doing my best to see the world for the way it REALLY is... it's called reality. All 7 billion of us humans that inhabit this planet right now are all the same. It is frustrating and sad to witness seeing how we cannot get along, for we all have different beliefs. We are too smart, stubborn and selfish for our own good, and it's not too far off to say that these traits could someday be the end of us. We should be worried about finding clean energy and resources while doing something about the out of control population growth, not about which "god" created the universe a mere "6,000 +/-" years ago!?

      May 8, 2011 at 11:09 am |
    • Jenkins

      I've seen a lot of atheists demanding evidence of the existence of God. I will be honest. You will most likely never find the kind of evidence your looking for. Why? Because theres plenty of perfectly good evidence already here that you guys overlook. But my real point is that Christian faith is not based on evidence and facts. It is based on personal experiences. That's the thing about faith. You can break out all the scientific facts you want, but devout Christian will not be swayed by facts alone. Faith built on facts is not faith at all, since what we consider to be truth is constantly changing. A thousand years ago, it was considered fact that the earth was flat. My point is that you will not find God through scientific experiments and such.

      So to those of you out there who do not believe in God but search for evidence, do not expect a fruitful search. Now I repeat my words from earlier. I do not mean to say that there is no evidence for God, but what you search for, such as ground-breaking miracles or a sign made out of stars saying "God made this", will not be found. If you want to witness God, I suggest you hook up with a local church and join them on a mission trip or something.

      I would also address some people who say that God sent the tornado as some sort of message. I thing you misinterpreted the article. What these people are doing is finding the good in the bad. They mean to say that God wants them to use the tornado as a way to bring people together. I do not believe that God decided to devastate the southeast United States with the purpose of unity. This is what makes God a true artist in my perspective. His ability to make good out of the worst situations.

      That's all I got. God Bless.

      May 8, 2011 at 11:35 am |
    • john

      this saying is supposed to remind people to not heap responsibility on themselves for things they cannot control. nobody is trying to convince any of you God exists.

      May 8, 2011 at 11:38 am |
    • Joseph

      I live in Alabama and want to vomit every time in the last week I hear a bible-thumper say all this destruction is just God "trying to send us a message". Folks, if you worship a God that sends messages by killing 18 month old babies and leaving thousands homeless, then you might want to consider finding a new God. If last week in Alabama was not good enough, just what kind of natural disaster do bible-thumpers need to get the clue that a God is not part of our lives in any way shape or form ? Also, don't give the usual "God's grace is good" crapola for all those who did not die last week. No, Grace of a God would have been no disaster at alllll

      May 8, 2011 at 11:54 am |
    • Joseph

      Jenkins ... here is a link to a 4-minute audio clip on Youtube concerning the origin of the 'concept' of God by the well-known author Douglas Adams. Probably the most logical and concise explanation I have ever heard from anyone on the absurdity of the whole concept. Cut & paste this into your browser address bar ... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kK1YgR7J0g

      May 8, 2011 at 12:04 pm |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.