According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – anon
Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer
God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – anon
Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

Monday, May 1, 2017

Benjamin L. Corey - No, This Isn’t All Part Of God’s Plan




No, This Isn’t All Part Of God’s Plan (So Let’s Stop Blaming It On Him)

May 24, 2016

Lately I’ve been thinking about life. A lot.

I’ve also been thinking about the the line we tell people when they’re going through sad chapters in life: “Well, this is all part of God’s plan.”

But is it, really? Is all this part of God’s plan? Looking back at the times people have said this to me in the midst of suffering, I find myself shaking my head that we’d believe such a thing.

Not only does that line fail to bring me comfort, it also seems to impugn God’s character. The idea that a loving God would have a “plan” that involved wiping out thousands in earthquakes and tsunamis, giving people cancer, parents losing children, car accidents, trauma, abuse, and all manner of pain and suffering, is an insane idea.

Think about it: if this is all “according to God’s plan” and every life event is being directed and controlled by him, he’s really bad at making plans.

In some of my saddest seasons of loss, people have come along side of me and said, “Well, we’ll never really understand God’s plan.”

And every time I hear it, through my tears and suffocating sadness I just want to reply, “No shit, Sherlock.” How could a plan that involves so much heartache be understood?

Sure, I understand what we’re trying to do when we say it. We’re trying to make ourselves or others feel better, and trying to make sense of sadness and suffering. The best way we know how? Apparently it’s to believe that our suffering was all planned by God, and thus must have some deeper, mysterious beauty we haven’t discovered yet.

Sometimes we’ll say God planned the suffering for our benefit. Other times we’ll be tricked into believing that God planned the suffering to chastise us for not measuring up. Yet, no matter how we try to rationalize or explain it, we end up at the same spot: if this is all part of God’s plan, God is the author and cause of evil and suffering.

As well meaning or desperate for answers as we may be, trying to fit all of the tragedies and sadness of life into some supposed master plan that God has, creates far more problems than it solves.

I am convinced that any belief or worldview that makes God the agent of causation for our suffering, ought to be rejected. This includes the idea that God has a giant master plan where everything that happens in life is divinely willed and ordained as part of it. In a world of such brokenness, this simply cannot be true.

Instead of saying that God has a “plan,” I am growing more fond of saying that God has a certain desire, a certain will– a certain heart. And that this will, this desire, and this heart, is always love. It’s never anything but love. This means that whatever God wills, and whatever God desires to bring into reality, is always beautiful and never evil.

God does not will our heartache and suffering. He doesn’t will our losses, and the broken chapters we experience in this life.

Those things have nothing to do with God, and are so far outside of his will, his desire, and his heart, that it’s indescribable.

Instead of trying to rationalize our suffering as being from the hand of God– thus making God an agent to be petrified of instead of a creator to be loved, I think we should be quicker to acknowledge that, no, a lot of what we experience in life isn’t God’s plan at all.

And honestly, we really need to stop blaming him, because we pin some really horrible and tragic life events on him. I can’t imagine it makes him feel good when we actually believe that he caused that car accident, sent the tornado, or gave the cancer in order to fulfill his own really twisted “plan.”

Instead, when we acknowledge that really hard and sad life events did not come from the hand of God, and were not in any way planned by or ordained by God, I believe we’re invited to get to know a God who joins in our suffering instead of causing it.

Because you see, if it’s outside of God’s heart and desires, God grieves that loss and brokenness with us– because it’s his hopes and dreams for our lives that end up getting smashed as well.

I don’t know how to have a relationship with a God who comes along side me in sadness and suffering and says, “You’re going to have to trust my reasons for making your world explode.”

But I am learning (I’m trying Ringo. I’m tryin’ real hard), how to have a relationship with a God who sits beside me and says, “Yeah, man… this whole thing totally sucks.“

Instead of this idea of God having a master plan that meticulously dictates and controls what happens in our lives (often referred to a blueprint theology), I believe that God has hopes, dreams, and desires for our stories. When those things come true, he rejoices and celebrates with us.

But when those hopes and dreams get smashed to bits, instead of saying “Oh, by the way– I actually did that,” I believe God sits in the dark and mourns those broken dreams with us.

And when the tears have subsided long enough to begin to hear his voice clearly, I’m convinced he’s also whispering, “And I know this can’t replace your loss, but when you’re ready I’d love to partner with you to try to make something good come out of all this.”


No comments:

Post a Comment