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Suffering and the Courage of God: Exploring How Grace and Suffering Meet

Overview

As the recent tsunami disaster reveals, there is widespread discussion and disagreement about God's will and suffering—especially about what is traditionally called "natural evil." In most Christian teaching, God is transcendent, "above" the suffering, "beholding" it. God may sympathize, help, empower, and save, but God isn't trapped in the midst of it like the rest of us. For people with a belief in God, the onset of suffering often throws one into an acute sense of a chasm between the divine and the ...
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Overview

As the recent tsunami disaster reveals, there is widespread discussion and disagreement about God's will and suffering—especially about what is traditionally called "natural evil." In most Christian teaching, God is transcendent, "above" the suffering, "beholding" it. God may sympathize, help, empower, and save, but God isn't trapped in the midst of it like the rest of us. For people with a belief in God, the onset of suffering often throws one into an acute sense of a chasm between the divine and the human.According to Robert Morris, a pastor, spiritual director, and a chronic sufferer from depression, the biblical picture of God is radically different from this view. God's desire is to include us as participants in the divine life—to make us "partakers of the divine nature" in all that that entails. At the heart of this invitation to participate in God's own life is God's gracious participation in our suffering.This innovative approach to reconciling human suffering and the nature of God focuses on how to look beyond easy answers, toward God's own suffering, moving from the position of victim to victor. Morris' own experience of chronic depression is a thread throughout the book, describing how one can move from meaningless suffering to suffering in a redemptive, healing way.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this brief, satisfyingly pastoral volume, Morris, an Episcopal priest, reflects homiletically on suffering and the nature of both God and humanity. He begins by rejecting the common Christian assumption that suffering is inherently good, and that God loves us best when we take abuse gladly. Instead, Morris exhorts his readers to respond courageously and redemptively to suffering, and to do so with Christ as a model. While he refers graciously to other faith traditions, Morris speaks from an unabashedly Christian perspective, and despite the slimness of this book, he manages to proffer some big ideas. With some especially fine insights about Job, he argues for a universe in which human actions, randomness and God's sovereignty combine to determine events. Moreover, he suggests that suffering is never as pervasive as God's love, goodness and ability to redeem even the worst situation. This optimistic proposition, however, does not take the form of pithy bromides that underestimate the depth of human suffering. Rather, Morris cites his own struggle with mental illness and the devastating stories of people to whom he has ministered to show that while God rarely makes all the pain disappear, God does bless sufferers in powerful and surprising ways. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
An Episcopal priest in New Jersey and founder of the ecumenical spirituality center Interweave, Morris (Wrestling with Grace) attempts to address the question of human suffering and God's role in it, perceiving God not as a distant witness of human suffering but as one who has shared and continues to share actively in it. As the concluding poem to Jesus puts it, "When You rose, hallowed, harrowed One,/ it was not without your scars." Highly recommended. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781557254283
  • Publisher: Paraclete Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/2005
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 5.52 (w) x 7.78 (h) x 0.47 (d)

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