Wednesday, July 18, 2007


There is a powerful, personal piece from my valued friend Deirdre Good on Ekklesia (with acknowledgments to the excellent Episcopal Cafe), about suffering, God, blame, prejudice and the difficult need to let go of our desire to be 'in control' - both rationally and spiritually.

Stuff happens. Accidents. Mental illness. Death. Throughout human history, people have asked "Why?" To ask "why" is to presume that stuff happens for a reason, that behind events lie causes we can discover. It's a question from a privileged perspective. It suggests human omniscience...

Jesus' disciples, seeing a person blind from birth and wanting an explanation for his condition, asked, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" Jesus' reply shatters the snare of looking at illness as cause and effect: "It's not that this one sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be manifest in him." Stuff happens, Jesus says. There's not necessarily a reason for it. Put the emphasis elsewhere. It's not what happens but what you do with what happens that matters.

See the full piece here.

The same theme from St John is picked up in Rowan Williams' powerful and arresting post 9/11 reflection, Writing in the Dust (Hodders, 2001). It's a small essay (about 8,000 words) which merits re-reading in today's continuingly fearful climate. It connects the 'big issues' in life with those small human gestures, attititudes and responses which count more than we can ever know. [Pic: The Way of Suffering, (c) the Gandy Gallery]

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