Honest Christianity – spiritual democracy or dictatorship

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There are so many ways in which we seek to make sense of miracle blessings and inconceivable evil. As some of you may recall, I am a big a fan of the book The Shack, and while away recently away reading, I read Randal Rauser’s reflections called Finding God in the Shack.
In one part he reflects on the thoedicy of the story.
“By the same token, God could have created creatures that could not choose evil. But instead He created free creatures with the potential for evil, recognising that ultimately the good of truly free creatures would more than offset the limited dissonance……Papa explains that ‘all evil flows from independence, and independence is your choice. If I were to simply revoke all the choices of independence, the world as you know it would cease to exist and love would have no meaning’” (p109-10).
This is one of the ways in which I can at least, if not go as far as say’ng makes sense of suffering, enables me to go back to work tomorrow ready and prepared to come alongside those in some of the saddest situations life can bring and be able to say that the God of love is with and for you.

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Honest Christianity – God wants you to know Papa is especially fond of you

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Yes Sally and I have just got back from seeing The Shack at the cinema. There will be no need for any spoiler alerts and it is a while since i have read the book, but as I recall the book the film is close to it. I have left the cinema with a more tender heart and some small glimpses of light into the mysteries of God as Trinity and engaging with the sufferings of life. I know some have issues with the theology of The Shack but I want to congratulate the author of the book William Paul Young and the Director of the film Stuart Hazeldine for tackling two of he most difficult and perplexing concepts and issues within the Christian faith – suffering and the Trinity.

We were also privileged to hear the Trinity/baptism Godly Play story in church in an inspiring Messy church time. The story reminded us of the wholeness and the individuality of the personhoods and character of the our Trinitarian God as circles of cloth were laid as an overlapping Venn diagram and water, light and oil were used to represent our creator, redeemer and sustainer.

Remember. God wants you know, Papa is especially fond of you.

Honest Christianity – how to respond to suffering?

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Many people have been interviewed about how they understand and are dealing with the recent terrorist attracts. Most have said pray, some said comfort and support those injured, bereaved individuals, their families or support staff involved.

I was asked today by a parent of a very poorly child if I believed in God and if so why did God allow this? I said I did believe in God, just like the many Christians who have come to the aid on bridges and concert venues. And as to why, I did not know but I was sure God loved their child and them, was broken hearted and wept with them at their bedside. I also said that I would not insult their pain by giving him a trite answer in the midst of such sadness, but that I grieve with others over broken bodies seeking to live a loving life in a broken world. Sadly, I expect that by this family, many others and our nation even more questions will be asked over the coming days.

Sometimes, like today, and the last few sad weeks, I hope less is more and this more is never less.