When Answers Aren't Enough: Experiencing God as Good When Life Isn't [NOOK Book]

Overview

On April 16, 2007, the campus of Virginia Tech experienced a collective nightmare when thirty-three students were killed in the worst massacre in modern U.S. history. Following that horrendous event, Virginia Tech campus pastor Matt Rogers found himself asking and being asked, “Where is God in all of this?” The cliché-ridden, pat answers rang hollow.
In this book, Matt approaches the pain of the world with personal perspective—dealing with his hurting community as well as ...
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When Answers Aren't Enough: Experiencing God as Good When Life Isn't

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Overview

On April 16, 2007, the campus of Virginia Tech experienced a collective nightmare when thirty-three students were killed in the worst massacre in modern U.S. history. Following that horrendous event, Virginia Tech campus pastor Matt Rogers found himself asking and being asked, “Where is God in all of this?” The cliché-ridden, pat answers rang hollow.
In this book, Matt approaches the pain of the world with personal perspective—dealing with his hurting community as well as standing over the hospital bed of his own father—and goes beyond answers, beyond theodicy, beyond the mere intellectual. When Answers Aren’t Enough drives deeper, to the heart of our longing, in search of a God we can experience as good when life isn’t.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Rogers, a pastor at New Life Christian Fellowship at Virginia Tech, reflects on the tragedy that shook the campus (and the nation) in April 2007 when Seung-Hui Cho shot and killed 32 fellow students and professors. However, this isn't primarily a message of pastoral comfort, or even a journalistic account about how students of faith have walked through their grief. (Rogers is more than 50 pages into the book before he mentions that one of the students who died attended his church.) Instead, it centers around Rogers's own heartache and struggle to understand how God can give so many good gifts and yet allow such horror. While there are poetic moments, and readers will be comforted by his thoughts on the way the world was meant to be and the world that is to come, there's little new, and all the brooding introspection can become wearying. With a release timed around the anniversary of the shootings, there promises to be a lot of interest and plenty of media opportunities. Unfortunately, the book could have been much better if Rogers had gotten out of his own pain and focused on the students he works with. (Apr.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780310543329
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • Publication date: 5/26/2009
  • Sold by: Zondervan Publishing
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • File size: 705 KB

Meet the Author

Matt Rogers is copastor of New Life Christian Fellowship at Virginia Tech. Eight hundred students call it home.
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Read an Excerpt


When Answers Aren't Enough
Experiencing God as Good When Life Isn't

By Matt Rogers Zondervan
Copyright © 2008
Matt Rogers
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-310-28681-3


Chapter One Lately I've been walking in the evenings. I tend to do that when stuck on a question. Maybe I'm trying to walk it off. On days when I have time, I drive out to Pandapas Pond in Jefferson National Forest to be in nature. Once there, I set off through the woods or slowly stroll along the water's edge, deep in thought or prayer.

Most days, because of time, I have to settle for the streets around my home. I can quickly climb to the top of Lee Street, turn around, and look out over Blacksburg, the Blue Ridge backlit by the setting sun. From there, I can see much of Virginia Tech. The stately bell tower of Burruss Hall rises proudly above the rest.

On nights like tonight, when I get a late start and the sun is already down, I head for campus. At its center, separating the academic and residential sides of the school, sits the Drill Field, a wide-open grassy space named for the exercises that the Corps of Cadets practices to perfection there. After dark, old iron lampposts, painted black, blanket the ground in overlapping circles of light.

It was here on the Drill Field, the day after the shootings, that students placed thirty-two slabs of gray limestone rock - Hokie stones, as they're called - in a semicircle in front of Burruss Hall, to commemorate the lives of loved ones lost. Thousands of mourners descended on the place, bearing with them a flood of condolences, a mix of bouquets, balloons, and poster-board sympathies. They came sniffling, clinging to tissues and to one another, and lifting their sunglasses to wipe tears from their tired, red eyes. The world came as well, vicariously through television, watching us, kneeling with us in grief.

I also came, revisiting the stones day after day, and sometimes at night, drawn to them by a need to connect with the dead whom I never knew. Always there was something new here, some trinket that had been added. At times the items seemed odd: a baseball for every victim, an American flag by every stone, though some of the dead were international students.

People took their time passing by this spot. There was no need to rush; there were no classes to attend. It would be days, dark and long, before there would be any distractions from the pain. For a time, there was no world beyond this place.

By day, soft chatter could be heard around the memorial. After sunset, no one spoke a word. During daylight, masses huddled near the stones, peering over shoulders to read the notes left there. At night, however, mourners passed by in a single-file line, waiting their turn, patient with the people in front who wished to pause at every name.

The masses have since receded. The Drill Field now is vacant (except for these stones) and silent. The semester has ended, most of the students are gone, and only the sounds of insects disturb the stillness of the summer evening air. If I close my eyes and take in the quiet, I can almost imagine nothing happened here.

Almost. Except for the stone reminders that lie at my feet. On one is written a simple, anguished note.

Jeremy, We love you. Mom and Dad

These stones are more than rocks. Each is all that remains of a son, a daughter, a husband who will never come home again. I picture my mom and dad, heartbroken, kneeling by a stone for me, had I been among the dead. Moreover, I imagine myself by a stone for my dad, had he not survived his fall.

This is a summer of mourning. I am grieving the world as it is. And I am asking, "If I embrace the world as it is, in all its sadness - if I refuse to bury my head in the sand, pretending all is well, but rather think and speak of the world as it actually is - can I, then, still know God as good? Can my experience of him be more consistent than my circumstances, which alternate between good and bad?"

Is this too much to expect?

Before I can know, I must face the world at its worst.

(Continues...)




Excerpted from When Answers Aren't Enough by Matt Rogers Copyright © 2008 by Matt Rogers. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
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