“If there is a God, it’s obvious he turned his face from us long ago.”
“I stopped believing in this sort of thing a long time ago, but it still has the ability to tug at my heartstrings. When my mother was so sick with cancer, she posted pieces of paper with scriptures on them all around her bedroom – scriptures that promised healing. I searched everywhere for a copy of the old Swaggart album she had once loved so much. I thought that listening to it would comfort her. I finally found a CD version online and ordered it – it arrived a couple of days after her doctor told us that she had only a few weeks to live. I tossed it in the trash.” – American Secularist
This is something of a sad post. I’m currently reading Anthony Weber’s book, “Learning to Jump Again”. He says this while speaking of the death of his father.
“When the jaundice morphed into a cancer diagnosis, many people thought God had to heal him. For various reasons, God couldn’t let him die; God needed him on earth; God had given them a magical wand, a verse that they could wave over his yellow skin. Dozens of people called my parents to assure them that “God has given me a Word.” The verse, “You shall have one of these diseases,” magically left its Hebraic, post-Egyptian context and landed just a bit off Broad street. It was a typical verse-bite, full of nothing but happy thoughts. Two thumbs up for the power of positive thinking. Nobody called with, “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be His name.” Job had apparently been banished from the canon of promises. In fact, a friend (one of Job’s 21st century friends, perhaps?) has since explained to me how God’s rebuttal at the end of the book rebuked Job for that pithy statement. “Just pray and trust God.” That sentence I heard more times than I care to recount. But the universe does not operate by the secret; even if it did, I am not the secret keeper. I am not God’s master. He is not a tame lion, said C.S. Lewis, and none of us are lion tamers anyway.”
I understood those statements. For some of us who have been in pain long enough, the idea that God heals is always close to our minds, but never close enough. God does as he wills and his name will always be praised. He will heal if and when he desires. But lately I’ve been finding that a lot of people don’t think that way. Yet the pain I experience does not turn me away from God, nor do I think he has abandoned us as this writer does. I keep remembering Jesus and with that, God’s love for us. I also can’t find it in me to think evil of him. For me it is always “God gives and God takes away. May his name always be praised”. That is what he has asked of us, after all – to accept whatever he gives us, to always give thanks and to trust him regardless of the circumstances.
In my last post, I discussed the documentary The God Who Wasn’t There, a fairly pedestrian movie promoting an idea which is much more prevalent than I knew – the idea that Jesus never existed. I suppose, coming from a fundamentalist background, that I always thought that almost everyone believed that Jesus was a historical character, but that unbelievers thought he was just a good guy, an unorthodox teacher, and Christians worshiped him as the Son of God. I wasn’t really aware of the fact that some intellectuals considered the life of Jesus to be entirely mythical.
That documentary showed a few scenes from another, much more powerful movie, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ. Brian Flemming, the narrator and director of the documentary, said that Gibson’s movie is far and away the most popular Christian movie of all time, and he criticizes Christians for their love of blood…
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