What would happen if somehow God in his infinite wisdom managed to explain to us the paradox of suffering in a world created by a good God? What if God had offered the simple brief explanation in a few verses of Scripture?
That’s the thought experiment professional Psychologist and amateur Theologian Richard Beck proposes in his latest blog post. Over the years I’ve often pointed to Richard Beck’s superb and thought provoking posts, as then you should go read this one! For those who need a taster, here is his (almost) conclusion:
And when you think about it, about what it would be like to have The Explanation, you’re struck with just how much damage and violence we’d do to each other with The Explanation.
Everytime we encountered a victim or a suffering, hurting person, we’d throw The Explanation at them.
So it seems to me that the most loving thing God could do for us, in the face of suffering, is to refuse to give us The Explanation. Even if we cried out in the darkness for the Explanation. Because without The Explanation we’re forced into silence and solidarity. Which is exactly where we need to be.
The process of biblical interpretation is itself a means of discipleship. One cannot follow the way without following the way the words go.
Kevin Vanhoozer in Gary T. Meadors, Four Views on Moving Beyond the Bible to Theology. Harper Collins, 2009, 154.
We really think audience respond well to faith‐based action films,” Sprintz explained. “By ‘faith‐based,’ of course, I mean depicting God as a childish, petty tyrant and Moses as an arrogant jerk leading a guerrilla military revolution instead of a humble messenger of the Lord.
The Babylon Bee demonstrates once again how to tell the truth through fiction.
Hi, I have collected an ecclectic bunch of posts from here and there for the January carnival. But, like all carnival editors, I’d be glad to hear your nominations. Especially I do not have “enough” non-US or non-White or non-Male posts, any nominations for posts from these or other oppressed majorities would be especially gratefully recieved!
The HonorShame blog is always worth a read, but the latest post is topical as well as illuminating The Gospel of ISIS puts atrocities and tragedies like those in Kenya, Beirut and Paris into a useful frame.
The Grand Palabre of the Baptist Union of a small and insignificant island nation (that most readers of Sansblogue will think is a merely a province of Gondwanaland) took a landmark decision recently. Their exhaustive and exhausting process involved a working party meeting over a two year period to listen to anyone with an axe to grind. After some time of seclusion and retreat, the working party formuated a careful report with several carefully worded recommendations. However since the topic, gluttony, was one that affected so many of the denomination directly the governing committee decided to decline the careful recommendations and replace them with three resolutions that will end the gluttony problem for ever.
These wise resolutions (that declare clearly and unequivocally the denomination’s hatred of gluttony while nevertheless somehow maintaining “fellowship” with churches who encourage gluttons as members) were as follows (after some hard-fought ammendments were passed or failed):
- We affirm the clear teaching of the Bible that gluttony is a serious sin.
- We covenant togrether to remove glottony from our midst.
- Any Baptist Senior Pastor (or Junior or Subaltern pastor left momentarily in charge) who allows anyone who is overweight at or above the 10th centile to atend a church lunch will in the first instance be removed from the Union mailing list.
As you can see the governing comittee were well advised to ignore the working party recommendartions, which might have allowed promiscuous gluttony at Baptist Church meetings, and to replace them with such a clear statement.
This post tells how the generals are up to their very old “divide and conquer, and then, if that doesn’t work, clamp down hard” tricks. Sad!
Did I expect any different? No. But hope remains…
This is just a test post, I apologise to readers using RSS feeds, but I really want to get a system working so comments can be shared between the blog and Facebook.
By commenting on this either on Facebook or on the website you will help me test my latest attempt.
Eleven years ago today my feed reader led me to to a magnificent post on Paleojudaica. it explores alternate histories of the Python movie Life of Brian as well as biblical studies related themes, like the nature of canon, memory and history…
Eleven years on it is still worth a read! Palaeojudaica is still going strong too, and those are things to celebrate.
My title? Well apparently that was a possible title for The Life of Brian but:
it did not take the troupe long to conclude that Jesus was the wrong target entirely. They couldn’t really fault his teachings and failed to see what was funny about them. The less relaxed followers of Jesus, on the other hand, were another matter entirely.
Eminently sensible, not silly at all!
I hope (yesterday) we established that God likes sex. Now we need to also recognise that sex is dynamite, and marriage is an unstable cocktail of explosive emotions. Yet God designed sex to be fun and to be fulfilling. God designed it to be making love too. That means that as a couple who are united in a faithful marriage relationship relate sexually (as well as in every other way) they “make love”. Love grows in a good marriage. The two become one, and depend on one another more and more.
Sex is dynamite, and – just like dynamite – when it’s misused, the results are a horrible disaster. But when it’s used right it’s powerful stuff.
The trouble is, we’ve got so hung up on warning people not to light the fuse at the wrong time or in the wrong place, that we’ve forgotten to explain how to do it right.
People need to hear of the delight of being able to depend on someone else. In this dog-eat-dog world, we need to say to them there’s immense strength to be drawn from the power of two. That someone who knows me (often better than I know myself) is looking over my shoulder, even putting my interests before her own – just like God! – is a source of immense strength.
People change. Because old friends change at a distance from us, often those friendships weaken. Husbands and wives change too, but if all goes well the answer to the Beatles question: “When I grow older… will you still need me?” is “More than ever. To know you is to love you!”
Now of course, you can’t escape the statistics, marriage is on the rocks. Marriages are breaking all the time. Many people are better off out of relationships that – far from mirroring those in the Godhead – become pure hell. Of course we should be putting more work into helping people in this pressure cooker world. Yes it’s great that youngsters are not rushing into marriage, but thinking twice. But it is still true that there are few things better in this world than a good marriage. And it’s time we said so.
For too long we’ve kept quiet about the joys and delights of a faithful relationship that depends utterly and trusts completely. It’s time to speak. To join the godhead and declare “it’s good, it’s very good!”