Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Suffering, the real kind, not the 'Im stressed about finals' kind

I am taking a class called "Sociology of Hunger." Every week we talk about issues that render me silent, which is a very unusual phenomenon. There were a couple of thoughts from our last class that I think are worth sharing and maybe elaborating on when I don't need to go to bed in 20 min. (yes, I have to set bedtimes for myself so I can be a functioning human being).

We began class by addressing the always frustrating conversation of where God is in suffering. I have a hard time discussing this in a group of people of privlidge because any answer we come up with really seems to serve the purpose of helping us sleep better at night. My professor was saying that most people who would say they are not Christians would say so because God's followers seem to be hypocrites and how can a loving sovereign God allow such suffering? He said some things that I think are beautiful and don't attempt to make really shitty things 'ok'.

He said "If we don't show love in the midst of suffering than it is reasonable to expect that people will think God does not act on suffering."

After class I was discussing this with a friend and we talked about the value in a ministry of presence, something we had talked about in class. What if the only answer we have to those in suffering is "I don't know. . . I don't know why this is happening to you, but I do know that I want to be here, I want to be here to bare the image of a God who weeps in your suffering."

This sort of 'ministry' does not excuse me from my responsibilities to live a life of justice, a life where I try to understand the oppressive systems I may take part in and try to change them. It simply provides a place where I can show love in the midst of suffering.

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