Either You've Faced Crisis, or You Will...

The Oxford dictionary defines "crisis" as a time of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger -- or, alternatively -- a time when a difficult or important decision must be made (which may also create opportunity). Generally speaking, everyone has either faced crisis, or will. The degree or scale of a crisis situation may vary widely -- it may range from being very personal and private to affecting many people -- perhaps even an entire geographic area.

Avoiding Crisis or Reducing its Severity -- The Importance of Preparation

In general, it is better to anticipate and avoid a crisis than to endure it, and better to mitigate the effects of crisis than to deal with unmitigated consequences. Of course, both are easier said than done -- some sort of effort is required. In most cases, effective crisis anticipation, avoidance, and mitigation will all require appropriate preparation and response. Nonetheless, we all eventually face crisis, and usually more than once. Our ability to prepare in advance greatly affects our ability to respond appropriately. Even simple, inexpensive steps, thoughtfully taken in advance, can make a huge difference in likely outcomes.

Mental and spiritual preparation are paramount to avoid paralyzing panic and fear. The Holy Scriptures tell us what we really need know, which is that life is not random -- God is in control and we need not fear anyone or anything except Him, and He loves us like a Father -- because God is our Creator, our Heavenly Father. We are reminded to "Be anxious for nothing..." and "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom..."

Risk-Based Preparation 101: Reduce Vulnerabilities of People and Infrastructure to Threats

When crisis occurs or is imminent, someone or something is at risk of being damaged, destroyed, or taken from us. Crisis anticipation, avoidance, and mitigation are really all about protecting or minimizing risk to someone or something we care about. In risk terminology, that someone or something is an asset. Thus, assets are whomever and whatever we want to protect, and these may be very general or quite specific. We cannot protect everyone and everything all the time, so it is important to zero in on the assets that require extra focus and attention.

While it may seem like protecting assets is a matter of arbitrarily or selfishly picking and choosing whomever or whatever is most important to us ("key" assets) , that's really not how it works (fortunately!). Identifying and/or prioritizing assets is important to some degree (e.g., people are more important than things), but there's a lot more to it.

The potential risk to an asset is conceptually a product of the threat (actual, conceptual, or inherent) to that asset and the vulnerability of that asset to that threat. If there's a threat, but little or no vulnerability, then risk is low. If there's a vulnerability, but little or no threat, then risk may likewise be low. As the potential threat_/vulnerability_________ goes up

For any asset, there may be someone or something that is putting that asset at risk in some way that may cause loss or damage. That combination of someone or something -- acting in that particular way -- is called a threat. Again, the threat is a combination of an actor (i.e., someone or something) and an action (acting in a particular way). For example, murder and robbery are two different threats, even though either or both may potentially be carried out against the same asset (i.e., a person) by the same actor via different actions (i.e., murder or robbery). Thus, the concept of preventing or "stopping the threat" is a matter of preventing or eliminating the unwanted combination of actor and action. At its simplest, one way to reduce risk is to avoid actors that are likely to participate in actions that combine to create threats.

(from whomever or whatever may threaten them).

Preparation is required both for people (e.g., knowledge, situational awareness, training, skills, etc.) and infrastructure (e.g., technology such as communications, power, shelter, water, food, transport, etc.).

On the technology side, there should be minimal bias toward "high-tech" vs. "low-tech" -- the general focus should be on on having what you need when you need it, having it work reliably, and knowing how to use it. It may be analogous to a parachute -- "If you need it and don't have it, it may be the last time you need it. " Rather than go it alone, it may be much easier for any group of people to cooperate, such that collectively, they are better prepared than they would be otherwise.

However a crisis is dealt with, it is almost always better to have help. Our vision of "Helping people help each other" starts with enabling and encouraging mutual aid. The concept of mutual aid begins with cooperation within and among families, and extends to cooperation within and among neighborhoods and communities. Communities may be physical (e.g., within a geographical area) or logical (e.g., people who work or play together, or frequent or belong to the same church, school, recreational facility, etc.).

CRISIS-FORCE is an Association of Churches -- a faith-based, God-centered organization which is not defined by a single religion, church, or denomination. Rather than focusing on the differences which delineate one from another, the focus is on that which we all have in common -- we have all been created by God and are accountable to God for how we live our lives. We can learn how to trust and obey the God who loves us and provides for us by reading and studying the scriptures God has made available (e.g., as the Holy Bible), which can be had for nearly any modern language. Although no current translation of the Holy Bible is entirely correct (which is a source of strife among the thousands of "denominations"), all translations that we know of do contain God's instructions for how we are to live, and how we are to treat our fellow humans. Thus, there is no excuse for failing to do so.

In their most distilled English form, our instructions are to love God and love others. However, "love" is a very ambiguous word, and what it meant in the ancient biblical manuscripts is not the way it is used in English. This is also the case for a number of other very important words and names which have been mistranslated or mis-transliterated to English. Such mistranslations are a primary source of confusion and division among Christians, scholars, and other seekers of Biblical truths. An important CRISIS-FORCE project is a long-running (over 10 years) effort to identify and correct English mistranslations, so that readers may be better equipped to avoid scriptural errors introduced over the centuries.