Saturday, May 12, 2007


One of the earliest links I found on the web 10 years ago was David Blumenthal's site. I kept this link on my homepage for years, then lost it, and now found it again since the theodicy issue raises its head repeatedly. See particularly his article on theodicy.

On my Psalms study blog, I began a response to two articles that turned up on my aggregator on the same day. I want to see if the Psalms (as do Job and Ecclesiastes) would provide a way through this question.

Related is the question of how to engage without the lust to power that mars our own humanity. I use this word 'engage' since it avoids the cerebral notion of belief or faith. I do think that belief and faith are legitimate words, but I do think also that they are badly used. Kim Murray of Saltspring said to me once that the essence is in Jesus' phrase 'follow me' - the rest is commentary. If I take this name out of the framework of Christendom, it is not that we would be associated with any of the 25,000 forms of 'Christian' 'belief', but that we would act on the engagement with this person, by all accounts a man of self-giving love.

I can't go in one step to where this engagement has taken me, but there is a difference. Imagine a pear tree with many branches and much fruit. A tender shoot is forced to grow next to a wooden wall. Where else does a shoot grow? It can hardly move from its budded position. When the flower forms, it finds itself approaching the edge of a wooden protrusion on a fence in the garden. The bees find another pear tree nearby and manage to pollinate this flower. The fruit forms and is not an early drop off but the branch has lengthened just the right amount that the fruit catches on the protrusion. The gardener doesn't notice. Nearing the harvest, but before ripening, the pressure from branch growth pushes this pear from its constrained space. It finds itself with a painful deformation. Then in the new freedom of its place in the sun, its ravined surface begins to fill out. It has seen wood, but it is becoming full and fruitful. There is a difference.

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