Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Lazy, hazy assurances

Larry Chouinard is tired of the shallow and sometimes arrogant spirituality embodied in the cliche, "everything happens for a reason":
I find neither consolation nor an acceptable theology in the notion that everything that happens has a divine reason behind it. Certainly, as Paul affirmed, even in the most tragic events, God can "work for the good" (Rom. 8:28). But, God does not will evil, instead works to bring his soothing powers to diminish its sting. In Jesus we see God bringing order out of chaos, healing in the midst of disease, and life in the face of death. God has entered our pain and suffering and works from within to overcome its deadly effects. But how does the "everything happens for a reason" slant on life lead to the overthrow of injustices and unmasking evils masquerade? Maybe slavery was God's way to teach Afro-Americans humility?? I wonder what he's teaching a white affluent consumerists by blessing him with power and status?

Suppose, as suggested by Greg Boyd (Satan and the Problem of Evil), the world is a battlefield and all creation has been invaded by evil and sinister forces? Imagine a fallen world where even our physical environment has been so polluted and distorted from the original intention that moments of awe and peace are rocked in the next by nature's fury. A world where Satan stalks the planet like a roaring lion preying on the vulnerable and orchestrating an environment where the powerful think nothing of slaughtering the innocent (Mt.2:16-18). Though Satan has been defeated, his terrorist acts of war are calculated to undermine and hinder the emergence of God's Kingdom. We counter such efforts by embodying the way of the selfless lamb who will ultimately put an end to the destructive dragon and his schemes of enslavement. But, until we can identify our true enemy and understand his destructive ways we will not be a movement of liberation and deliverance.
Amen. Mr. Chouinard's essay, by the way, does more than simply diagnose the problem. He goes on to give a biblically sound view of bad events.


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