Friday, August 20, 2010

The daily readings get challenging

As we move into the weekend, the readings for the Daily Offices include the beginning of Job, a 42-chapter reflection on the mystery of suffering that raises more questions than it answers (IMO if you are suffering and a friend says, "You need to read Job!", you will probably have a viable defense for shooting said friend, 42 chapters later).

The lessons also go through the sixth chapter of The Gospel of John, in which Jesus lays out the hard stuff that nobody, Christian or not, likes to engage,

"Do not work for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures for eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For it is on him that God the Father has set his seal." Then they said to him, "What must we do to perform the works of God?" Jesus answered them, "This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent."

These and other words are so scandalous that the Gospel itself admits that they repelled rather than attracted,

Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him.

The breakdown of Western cultural Christianity means that those of us who want to be disciples will have to take on more of these hard lessons. The padding of nominalism isn't thick enough to absorb the blows that are to come.


The Underground Pewster said...

I love Job! So there!

As far as the readings from Johm go...So much for all that talk I hear about how Christians shouldn't be so focused on eternal life.

The Underground Pewster said...

OOPs,,,John not "Johm"

TLF+ said...

LOL I love Job too, Pewster. I just think readers need fair warning that it does not "answer the question of suffering." Really, it is closer to what you say about John because it does not give easy answers about this life but calls us to the mystery and glory of God as our hope (exactly where culture religion fails to go).

The Archer of the Forest said...

I thoroughly enjoy the book of Job, but if someone is hurting and wanting easy answers then Job is probably not the best place to start them in terms of Scripture reading.

On another level, however, I would recommend Job to be read by people who are inclined to read the New Atheists like Dawkins and Hitchens, who have a penchant for wanting to be like Job in that they wish to put God on trial.

One of the New Atheists favorite non sequiturs is to argue, "If I were God the universe would be run this way, since the universe is not run this way, therefore there is no God." God's answer to Job from the whirlwind takes on that argument head on.

"Where were you, o mortal, when I laid the foundations of the world?"

TLF+ said...

Thanks for that really good point, Archer. One of atheism's better practical arguments is Feuerbach's "Know the man, know his God" - the argument that God is simply a projection of the believer's biases. (Easy to prove in many cases).

But as you demonstrate, the "New Atheists" fall victim to the same argument. "There is no God, because the universe is not run according to my wishes."