Friday, January 29, 2010

Whose fault was it?

Whose fault was it that Job suffered so much?  I believe there are four possibilities (maybe more, but others would be so far out that they would hold zero validity).

Was it Job's fault?  Even though the Bible makes it clear that he was "upright and blameless," perhaps there was some behind the scenes sin that Job committed and he really isn't the man of integrity we all think he is and that the author describes him as.  If that's the case, then it wouldn't be innocent suffering.  It would be justified suffering: you sin, you suffer. 

Some would say its Satan's fault.  Afterall, Satan is the one who actually causes the suffering.  He kills Job's children, takes all his possessions and infects Job with nasty and painful sores all over his body.  But is that giving Satan too much credit.  Also, is it too simple to say that the one who actually inflicts the damage is the one causing the suffering?

Perhaps Job just has a run of bad luck.  I have met people today that just seem to be magnets for disaster.  Maybe Job's good fortune had finally run its course and when disaster hit it hit hard and it hit fast and hit with a vengeance.  If that's the case, if it was just bad luck, then what of the theological significance.  Are we to disregard all forces in this world other than good and bad luck.

The most scandalous answer is that God causes the suffering, but that is hard to swallow for anyone who believes in a good and loving God.  If that is the most likely answer, what do we do with that?  How do we factor that into a positive image of God?  What does it mean about how God interacts with us? 

I would love for you to explore these options and these questions with me in a class I'm teaching on the book of Job.  To sign up, go here.  Its listed under the Sunday morning classes.  Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Why was Job tested

The book of Job may raise more questions that it gives answers about God, suffering, Satan and faith.  However, one of the things we know is that part of the answer as to why Job lost everything is because God was pleased with him.  "No way" you say "God blesses those that he is pleased with."  Want it is "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him"  1:8.  God points Job out to Satan because he is pleased with Him.  Job stands not only as an exception, but as a demonstration that God may allow suffering for reasons beyond our knowledge. 

Want to know more?  Why don't you sign up for the class I am teaching on the Book of Job which starts on February 7th.  Go here to sign up, you'll find it under the Sunday morning classes.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Raised with Christ

In the first verse of Colossians 3 Paul writes that we have been raised with Christ.  What does that mean?  It means that the resurrection didn't just happen to Jesus, it happens to us.  And its not just something that happens to us in the future.  In fact, the context of what Paul is saying has to do with resurrection while we are living on earth.  In Paul's words, it involves clothing ourselves with "compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience."  Above all, Paul says, "put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity." 

To be raised with Christ is to be raised to new life in this lifetime.  It means pursuing holiness.  A word that sounds outdated but is still what Christ calls His followers to aim for.  To be raised with Christ is to proclaim that your old selfish ways are dead so that a new you is resurrected that conforms to the image of Christ.  Most people talk about the resurrection as something that happened historically, certainly I believe it did.  I also believe that resurrection is a miracle that God continues to work in the lives of those willing to surrender they're ways to God's ways.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Life of Pi

I just finished reading this book.  It was amazing!  It has so much depth to it.  There are so many layers of meaning in the book.  The best part is the ending, which I do not want to spoil for those who haven't read it.  Just know that if you are going to read it that it is more about you than you initially realize.  It is one of those books that sticks with you for a little while.  Its hard to stop thinking about.  Here's the premise: a 16 year old Indian boy named Pi is the son of a zoo owner.  His family has to move (along with most of the animals) across the ocean and the ship they are on sinks.  Pi finds himself in a lifeboat with a Bengal Tiger.  Did I mention that Pi is a Muslim, Hindu and Christian?  Sounds interesting doesn't it...why don't you check it out for yourself?  Trust me, you will be glad you did.