the meaning of suffering and theological BS

bullshit meter cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

click on image to shop for David’s art

This cartoon speaks for itself. But I have a few words to add.

After the bombing at the Boston Marathon yesterday, as expected, the theological BS started to flow. What is even more remarkable to me is that every theological chunk of BS resembles the theological pronouncements of Job’s comforters. Job’s comforters and their theologizing only added to his suffering. Stupid theological statements add to ours. We should know better.

You suffer because there’s sin in your life. And even if there isn’t any sin really outstanding, you’re still not perfect. And even if you do call on God for help, the fact that you are proud prevents God from answering. And even if we don’t understand it fully, we can count on the fact that you are suffering in order to make you a better person because even though God is just he is also a God of love. Blah blah blah.

The whole point of Job, which I consider to be the most honest book about suffering, is that there is no meaning. Job never gets an answer. He never finds out why he suffered. In fact, his comforters are rebuked! Even though their theology is sound it is wrong. And Job is vindicated! He was right to claim his innocence and cry “Unfair!” Because it was unfair. He never discovers the why. Maybe that’s a good thing because we, the readers, know that it was just a wager between God and Satan. It was all just a game. So even the meaning is meaningless.

I think the point of Job we should walk away with is that we cannot understand suffering. If there is meaning, we cannot know it. But what we can do, like Job and his comforters, is be friends and help one another.

People suffered yesterday. We can’t understand why such things happen. But we can bring comfort and help one another. As was so admirably done.

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • Gary

    Well said David. I have one of these “Bullshit Meters” both for the theological shit and for the conspiracy shit. All the hysterical nonsense drives me crazy. Just last night I saw a news report where a woman was injured and lost the use of one of her hands. Her statement was that God must have had a purpose for it. I looked at my wife and said “Wow…her god must be a monster to go around maiming people just to teach some sort of unknown lesson”.

    I think the “god must have a purpose” bullshit so many heartlessly throw at those suffering pisses me off even more than the conspiracy theorists…because they make God Himself out to be the great conspirator.

  • http://BeltofTruth.com Stephen

    I found for me, Job never made sense until I had my own period of suffering in my life. After that time, I was able to better understand how Job was able to say “I only knew about you before, God, but know I know you in my heart.” It’s these times of suffering where we come to realize no matter how hard life gets, God will never leave us. As humans, we want to know the earthly “why,” but I believe God is interested in teaching us the eternal “why,” which is that He will never leave us and wants to rescue us from this earthly pain. But people who haven’t experienced this and are still looking at God as a cosmic judge have no answer other than what we hear from Job’s friends. Hopefully those who have been hurt by this tragedy can drown out the noise and finally hear the voice of God in their hearts.

  • http://jeriwho.net/lillypad2/ Jeri Massi

    Actually, Job did get an answer. He is told at the end by Elihu that the righteous suffer to strengthen them to resist sin and evil. Elihu points out that God brings a man to the very edge of the pit, again and again, to teach him that he is utterly unable to save himself. Go read Job chapters 33 through 35. Elihu does explain Job’s suffering to him. And later in the book, God punishes Job’s first three “counselors,” but Elihu’s words are vindicated. Elihu’s message is that God does use trouble to punish evil doers, but God also brings trouble to good people to confirm them in goodness and to show them that goodness is essential even when there is no profit in it. Yet even that is done so that, in the end, a good person realizes that he or she has found grace and been given the bounty of God that was not deserved. Job was made to suffer to prove out what he would declare about God. And once he began to speak against God, he was stopped, to spare him. At the very end, Job was shown that he was only a man, only a frail thing, who would and could blaspheme when provoked enough, but God stopped him before he went too far. The lesson of Job is that it is the lot of man to know God, even if learning God’s greatness entails personal suffering as we learn our frailty. And in the end, Job agreed that the lesson was just and right for him to learn.

  • http://nakedpastor.com David Hayward

    where are elihu’s words vindicated. i’m familiar with the whole “elihu” is a sign of Christ, etc., but i don’t agree with it. at the end God says “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge”… which includes everybody in my opinion. and besides, elihu, we know at the end of it all, didn’t understand either. he was trying to act as a mediator… but we know he didn’t have a clue as to what was going on so even though his explanations weren’t necessarily wrong, they didn’t apply.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ the Old Adam

    In a fallen world filled with fallen people, there will be no shortage of suffering.

    Christ entered into that suffering, willingly, for the sake of those who spat upon him and out him to death.

    Wow. What a God.

  • Herb Morrison

    I believe that there is no such thing as Divine retribution in this world. If someone answers Christ’s knock with his/her proverbial last breath a loving, merciful and forgiving God will, through Christ , by the power of the Holy Spirit, have a place in Heaven waiting for the repentant sinner. Those who think otherwise, have obviously never read the Parable of the labourers in the vineyard, or
    the Scripture passage which says that God so loved the world, that God gave God’s only Son, that whoever believes in God will not perish, but have everlasting life. Amen

  • Adam

    Yes – I thnk God hates the theological bullshit too! After all he was going to kill Job’s “miserable comforters” until he repented of his own complainst to God and prayed for them. I think he hates it when humanity acts as if it is God and goes it’s own way seperately from him. Hates it and breaks his heart.

    I don’t think a time od disaster is a time for retribution. I think it is a time for refelction, for honouring those that caryy our brave task of caring for the hurt and suffering, and for being beside those that are suffering. I remeber princess Diana saying somethign once which I’ll never for get. It was “most of life is just froth and bubbles, amidst this is two great stones courage in one’s own difficulties and strength for others in theirs”. Or words to that effect.

    If there is to be any retribution it is those in authority to do so that will bring about God’s justice. So, it seemse to me that the best and most powerful thing any one of us can do is to pray for those in positions of authority for godly wisdom in what they do. And rest in the knowledge that God judges fairly and will bring abut justice sooner or later for all.

    There will always be voices out there that declare that God is on thier side and not on the other’s. there is no such thing – God is on everyone’s side.

  • Kris

    Amen, David. We do forget God rebuked Job’s “friend’s” who suggested that his suffering was because of his sin. Another side of the suffering theology is that suffering now is ok because “Your reward will be great in Heaven.” I think that is said to alleviate the consciences of those who can make a difference in the world but choose not to. It’s easier to throw these euphemisms around and make yourself feel better than to get down and dirty to deal with the problems that affect others and in many cases the rest of society. Remember “Thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” If you are a Christian, it is your job to create Heaven here for ALL people.

  • Rachel

    As I said in a thesis I wrote in seminary, God does not answer Job’s **question,** but he answers Job’s **cry.** And that is a promise to each of us. We may or may not always get all the answers. We may not ever figure out why there is evil, why bad things happen to good people (or good things to bad people, for that matter, which is a higher injustice in my mind) … but Job shows us that God is not the source of our suffering, but rather there with us, in the midst of our suffering. He suffers with us, as he later showed by sending his son.

  • Gary

    He showed Job He was not the source of his suffering Rachael? How exactly did He show him that? The entire episode is supposedly the result of God playing some game with Satan with Job’s life (and family) as the fodder. And we are somehow supposed to believe that because God gave him a NEW family that it is all ok. Well I kind of doubt the old family would feel that way if their voices had not been snuffed out by a God that saw so little value in them that he slaughtered them (the moment He said ok He knowingly set that end in motion) for the sake of some cosmic game.

    Now, I do not believe the story of Job is meant to be taken literally. Nonetheless, the premise that is set to lead us into the discussions of why we suffer is very disturbing. I see value in the fable only in that it causes us to ponder the issue of suffering and leads us to conclude that we cannot know. Beyond that I say relegate it to the pile of man made mythology and let it go. There are many great ways to grapple with the issue of human suffering that do not require us to portray God as a heartless bastard.

  • Carol

    Both natural and man-made disasters usually involve innocent suffering.

    Sometimes the Jewish Rabbis have more insight into these things than Christian theologicans:

    “Nature is value-free. It can’t tell the role between the deserving the undeserving. God’s role is not to decide where the hurricane goes and how severe it is. God’s role is to motivate people to help neighbors and improve methods to predict hurricanes. God is found not in the problem, but in the resilience.” ~ Rabbi Harold Kushner, rabbi of the conservative Jewish tradition

    As for human evil, the Holy One apparently values freedom above comfort and temporal security:

    He who created us without our help will not save us without our consent. ~Saint Augustine

    For the Almighty God, who, as even the heathen acknowledge, has supreme power over all things, being Himself supremely good, would never permit the existence of anything evil among His works, if He were not so omnipotent and good that He can bring good even out of evil. For what is that which we call evil but the absence of good? – Augustine, Enchiridion (Marcus Dods translation, 1876)
    God had one son on earth without sin, but never one without suffering. ~Saint Augustine

    “It is an awful truth that suffering can deepen us, give a greater luster to our colors, a higher resonance to our wounds. That is if it doesn’t destroy us, if it doesn’t burn away the optimism and the spirit, the capacity for visions, and the respect for simple yet indispensable things.” –Anne Rice

    Being sensitive to human suffering and understanding the role it plays in the Grand Scheme of things are two different things. Jobs friends were a comforting presence until they began to speculate about the cause of his suffering.

    “The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.” –Henri Nouwen

    “Bromidic though it may sound, some questions don’t have answers, which is a terribly difficult lesson to learn.” –Katherine Graham

  • http://ourterranova.com Christian Steffen

    David, thank you so much for this post. As a pastor, one of the hardest things to help people through is making any kind of sense of personal tragedy. I had this same conversation with another pastor friend just a couple of weeks ago. “Telling people that God is up to something” or some equivalent is, firstly, not helpful and, in my opinion, is just a lie. There is no meaning in rape. There is no meaning in torture. There is no meaning in cancer. It is not to say that God cannot bring some good out of tragedy but that is very different than being the author or even an endorser of such pain and suffering.

    In my mind, the Holy Spirit is God’s agent of inspiration and motivation. The thought that the Holy Spirit inspires evil people to do evil things so that God could somehow get glory out of it or see His purpose fulfilled is pretty damn sick and twisted. And it makes God out to be pretty small and petty. By the way, He is not.

    Thank you.

  • http://nakedpastor.com David Hayward

    Thanks Christian. Yes, as a pastor, the best we can do is simply BE with people in the midst of their suffering.

  • Adam

    Princess Diana did get this right :)

  • A Walkaway

    One sentence people forget about is when “God” (voice of authority) says to Job’s friends that they haven’t spoken the truth as Job has… go back and read everything that Job said.
    My take is the book is a diatribe against the theology “God blesses good people and punishes the wicked with suffering!” When you read Job’s words with that sentence in mind, that is what comes out.
    As far as suffering, I can say that we’ve dealt with it for decades, and every instance has been traced to the decisions made for or about us by “Good Christians” – including acts of terrorism when I wrote letters that made them angry. The sort of BS that we’re hearing now because of Boston… that is just more of the same to me, and it’s no wonder so many people are being turned off to Christ.

  • Bishop Andrew Gerales Gentry

    Though we are not yet at the point of knowing for certain who did this horrible crime it would come as no surprise to any intelligent person if the individual or individuals responsible are the nutters with the NRA and the Tea Party Republicans. All the hate they have spewed against the US has consequences and they should be called what they are, traitors!
    Their claim to represent God, their appeals by “christian politicians” to pray for the death of the President, their hatred of gay folks and women, and their apostasy of equating prosperity with God’s blessings and poverty as his disapproval all contribute to this evil infection in the body politic!

  • Christian Steffen

    Well shit.

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  • Carol davison

    St Paul said that our suffering fulfills the suffering of Christ, and that tribulation developed patience which developed spiritual maturity. Having suffered at the hands of others, I continually check myself to ensure that I don’t hurt people. In this way I understand suffering makes us compassionate, or more like Christ.

  • http://Patheos Tracy

    Try reading Greg Boyds book God at War… it really helped me to see the problem with the problem of evil. We live in a war zone…. and the battle field is our planet. Scripture says.. we fight NOT against flesh and blood, but against the powers…. we must try not to see people as the enemy but the evil that controls them is the enemy. Read the book. It makes sense of all this horror and evil, more than any other rubbish I have read seems to.

  • Gary

    Bishop…seeking to blame tea partiers or any other group for the irrational and insane bombings is disgraceful. You seek to divide and blame those you disagree with rather than calling for unity. This rhetoric is disgustingly vile. You should be ashamed to seek to promote your political agenda in the face of this tragedy. I will plainly say it…you deeply offend me!!!

  • http://aguynamedmike.com Mike

    Does anybody else have an issue, however small it may be, with a god who was so interested in proving a point to satan that he’d wager one’s (Job’s) well-being??? Does that not strike anyone else as sorta asshole-ish?

  • Gary

    Mike I hear you and agree. See my comment above.

  • Gary

    PS Bishop – Not to mention the fact that your portrayal of the “NRA and the Tea Party Republicans” is grotesquely biased and absolutely false!

    Damn this shit pisses me off!!!!

  • Carol

    Bishop, thinking that fixing our dysfunctional political system rather than trusting God’s Grace to heal humanity’s social ills is not only heretical, it is also apostate, IMO.

    Perhaps you should do some work on your eschatology:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/jesuscreed/2012/11/07/politics-and-our-eschatology/

  • Carol

    Mike, if I were a biblical literalist I would have a problem with the Book of Job; but it is a very ancient text and speaks to a people for whom Satan was often suspected of being more powerful than God. The point of the Book is not only that “bad things can happen to good people”; but that Satan must defer to God before he can exercise his power.

    The Barna poll revealed that most American Christians no longer believe in either Satan or the Holy Spirit.
    http://www.barna.org/faith-spirituality/260-most-american-christians-do-not-believe-that-satan-or-the-holy-spirit-exis

    To be honest, although I have no doubt about the existence of the Holy Spirit, who is my favorite Person in the Tri-unity, I am agnostic about the literal existence of Satan. However, literal being or literary device, what the Scripture teaches about evil in the texts referencing Satan ring true to me.

  • Herb Morrison

    Carol. It is not impossible, heretical, or apostate, for me to believe that God might inspire either myself or other Believers to utilize the political system to further God’s work in the world, in orther that God’s will might be done. The achievements in the area of social justice, initiated by the socio-political activism of people such as Nelson Mandella, and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, attest to the fact that God is present and when political activism, in the area of social justice is being carried out by Believers. Acts of God are not necessarily magical or unexplainable. They are the result of God’s ability to work in and through Believers, who are willing to live their Faith, loving and serving God by loving and serving others, in accordance with the first two of the Ten Commandments.

  • Carol

    Herb, I did not mean to imply that all political power is equal or that political activism was ineffective; but it needs to be FOR something and not simply AGAINST something as it has become in our DYSFUNCTIONAL political process.

    Political solutions are also temporary, not permanent. Corruption inevitably kicks in so that, in the long run, only the faces at the top have changed and the power of love has not replaced the love of power which is the ultimate transformational solution to the ills of human society that sacred activism always sought. The problem is that means loving one’s enemy, which is not an easy attitude for any of us to sustain, especially when we are on the receiving end of violence and/or injustice.

    “In order to avoid the sin of reviling the world, we have to love the world…(We must love it) the more desperately the more horrible and irreducible it becomes. Then, little by little, we shall see the universal horror relax and enfold us in more-than-human arms.” ~ Teilhard de Chardin

    “Humanism was not wrong in thinking that truth, beauty, liberty, and equality are of infinite value, but in thinking that man can get them for himself without grace.” –Simone Weil

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  • Bishop Andrew Gerales Gentry

    Well Gary you should be “deeply offended” by the hate spewed by folkes like the “christian” Speaker of the House in Iowa who prayed for the death of the President, and the comments about “wetbacks” and “colored people” and “sodomites” and the legislator who wants his brand of “christianity” to be the “official religion” of N C, and all the Tea Billies that wear T Shirts calling for a “white” House, and on and on. If this does not offend you there is something very fundamentally wrong with your religion not to mention your understanding of Constitutional government!
    To Carol: your arrogance is superseded only by your theological misunderstanding! For an agnostic you seem to hold to a notion of your own infallibility worthy of a Roman pontiff.

  • Gary

    Bishop you pick out some radical extremists and seek to characterize by such a standard? Only a fool engages in such ignorance. I will turn the same logic back on you and tell you that you are a member of a hate group and all the hate you have spewed should be called for what it is…you are a traitor. How do I know this? Simple…you claim to be a Christian (according to your facebook page) so therefor you hate gays and believe God will reign down destruction on them and all who commit any variety of sin. It matters not whether this is your proclaimed view or the official view of your religion, it only matters that I have seen others in your religion espouse such hatred (Westboro Baptist) and therefor I will judge you for their actions and openly call you a traitor.

    Do you see how that works? I have found the most radical perversion of your faith and judged you for it…even calling you a traitor in the process. Somehow I suspect though that you would not like to be associated with that group of so called “christians”. I know I don’t. Of course I am offended by those morons you listed. But I am even MORE OFFENDED by the idiocy of your attack on ME. Yes that’s right…ME. I support the NRA. I support much of what the tea partiers stand for as well. NEITHER organization will in any way support the individuals or statements you have listed in your extremely inflammatory rhetoric. I find your stereotyping of these organizations, based upon such perverse and false examples, to be exactly the same type of ignorant prejudice these very individuals you despise have engaged in. You are EXACTLY like them. Different enemy…the very same thought process.

    Who the HELL are you to come in here and call anybody a traitor for simply having a different political ideology than you?

  • Kathy

    Hey Bishop,

    Slamming Appalachian people isn’t cool either (your stupid crack about “Tea Billies”).

  • Bishop Andrew Gerales Gentry

    Kathy, I grew up in the Piedmont of Western North Carolina and as a “lint head”, that is what textile workers were called by the so called free market capitalists who demanded long hours and little pay, the use of the term Tea Billie is not a slam!
    Gary, the NRA at least in the person of its leadership has consistently fought every attempt at rational legislation to provide legitimate, legal, and constitutional regulation of guns. Your organization supposedly supports background checks but not your leadership. It is all about profit not person and we both know it. The Tea Party is opposed to science, civil rights, environmental quality standard, equal pay for equal work, minimum wage, universal health care, and every other program that indicates a moral and civilized nation.
    Yes there are those who claim to be Christian mostly the “evangelical right wing” who believe that Jesus is an American CEO and hates gay people, who believe women should not receive equal pay or rights, and oppose every social justice known to humankind and most if not all are Tea Party Republicans! So if you consider the statements condemning such by those of us who do not believe in this kind of religious and economic totalitarianism that at its core is opposed to the Bill of Rights as attack I am sorry. If you do not believe what the moronic “fringe” says then take issue with them publicly as I have with those like Westboro Baptists and other religious right wing fascists who claim to be Christian!

  • Jerry Edmonds

    “I know now, Lord, why you utter no answer. You are yourself the answer. Before your face questions die away. What other answer would suffice?” C.S. Lewis

  • Gary

    Bishop, what you refer to as “rational legislation to provide legitimate, legal, and constitutional regulation of guns” I call an infringement upon our constitutional rights. We already have the legislation we need and choose not to enforce it. And no amount of restricting gun access to law abiding citizens will make the criminals weaker. Every gun free zone we create in this country becomes an open range for the criminally insane. If we want to reduce the number of senseless tragedies like we saw in Connecticut we need to stop blaming law abiding citizens.

    As for the tea party – The platform is as follows.

    1) Repeal Obamacare; Pursue Patient-Centered Care
    2) Stop the Tax Hikes
    3) Reverse Obama’s Spending Increases
    4) Scrap the Code; Replace It with a Flat Tax
    5) Pass a Balanced Budget Amendment
    6) Reject Cap and Trade
    7) Rein in the EPA
    8 ) Unleash America’s Vast Energy Potential
    9) Eliminate the Department of Education
    10) Reduce the Bloated Federal Workforce
    11) Curtail Excessive Federal Regulation
    12) Audit the Fed

    There may be individuals who self identify as tea partiers that promote some of the litany of untruths you spewed…but just like westboro, they do not define the movement. Your perversion of the beliefs is obvious to any sensible individual. They most certainly are not against civil rights. (Duh!) They are not opposed to science. (Get real) They are not opposed to environmental standards. (Complete bullshit, they simply don’t embrace YOUR standards) They are not opposed to minimum wage. (Only to artificially inflating it beyond fiscal sensibilities) Not opposed to equal pay for equal work. (Only to the nanny state controls proposed by idiots) And the capstone of your irrational rant “and every other program that indicates a moral and civilized nation” is a clear reflection of your inability employ even the most basic forms of reason. You employ nothing but straw man arguments because rational discussion appears to be beyond your abilities.

    There are views common among tea partiers that I disagree with, such as DOMA and others. But the basic belief in a smaller, less intrusive, government is very much in line with our founding principles. I may not call myself a tea partier…but I respect much of what they seek to accomplish. This litany of false claims you have presented is nothing but extremist hysteria designed to whip people into an emotional frenzy while hoping they fail to evaluate the facts for themselves. It is dishonest and completely destructive to any possibility of civilized discourse. And I fully recognize that both (or all) sides of the issues engage in this kind of deception. I don’t.

    It is clear by your continued use of such false and deceptive rhetoric that you have no intention, or even ability perhaps, to contribute to this discussion in any meaningful way. It is impossible to reason with one who lacks all semblance of honesty and/or humility of thought. On your profile you are bold enough to make the following declaration concerning your coffee shop church you seem to run.

    “We are a welcoming and inclusive community of faith. We use a table liturgy that is very celtic in flavor and inclusive. We see ourselves as a little leaven in the loaf of downtown, and a place where everyone is welcome.”

    Considering your behavior on this blog I am forced to conclude this (inclusive community of faith, everyone is welcome) is the biggest fucking piece of bullshit I have read in a long time.

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  • Bishop Andrew Gerales Gentry

    I suggest that you check your blood pressure before you engage in your adolescent rages. Also it is always the mark of a false and untenable position to resort to gutter language as you have done. Lastly have a cup of tea I understand it is very calming.

  • Gary

    Sure Bishop…now engage if ridicule following your lies. Profanity is actually very appropriate when dealing with those without honor. If you cannot even discuss with those who have a different ideology than you do without resorting to ridiculous lies then all that is left for you is to be told…fuck off.

  • Carol

    Bishop,
    I can only add one thing to what Gary has posted:
    “Beware your enemy for he is the one you will become most like.”

  • Bishop Andrew Gerales Gentry

    You really should seek professional help to deal with your anger issues.
    It never fails that when the right wing is pressed it can only resort to insult and profanity for it has no substance to defend.
    Have a good day!
    Oh by the way Honor does not insult nor needs to resort to profanity, only those who are not certain of honor need such adolescent displays of poor manners and conduct.
    Peace

  • Gary

    Fuck your brand of PEACE! You provided not not shred of truth nor willingness to even seek honesty when presented with a view different than yours.

    And for the record since you seem terribly confused…I use profanity because I like it sometimes. It is a language I find effective and frankly I enjoy its use when I believe it to be appropriate. I don’t “resort” to it…I embrace it!

  • http://nakedpastor.com David Hayward

    I hope you don’t take the Bishop’s bait Gary. Bishop: for me, as a Canadian, it is a signal of political illness when those in the USA who don’t agree with you are now called “traitors”. That spells serious trouble in the future and will call for bloodshed eventually.

  • Gary

    And I am most certainly not “right wing. My beliefs are of my own choosing and run the full spectrum. But it surprises me not that you would refer to me as such. Stereotyping seems to be the only capacity you have for interacting with peoples views.

    LMAO

  • Gary

    Respectfully David…sometimes rebuking an abuser is not the same as taking the bait. But I am done.

  • http://nakedpastor.com David Hayward

    I agree Gary. But sometimes bullies coax people into an unnecessary fight.

  • Bishop Andrew Gerales Gentry

    Funny you should say that since the Tea Billies have accused progressives, Democrats and the President of being exactly that “traitors” and right wing governors have talked about secession which the last time I checked is an act of treason and one for which Americans had a civil war over!

  • http://nakedpastor.com David Hayward

    I’m not picking sides but explaining the plight of America that everyone seems to be contributing to. Including you Bishop.

  • Carol

    David, the Bishop’s snide little “peace” offering was a rather obvious tip-off of trolling for a fight, wasn’t it?

    Oh, well, we all have our mechanisms for coping with life’s frustrations. Better in a virtual community among strangers than in actual time and space wounding family, friends and neighbors.

  • Carol

    Bishop, HAD a civil war over. The Civil War has never been over. Much of the Blue State/Red State divide is over the cultural differences between an industrial and an agrarian society.

    Such a tragedy. The material progress of industrialization would have caused much less psychological suffering if it had been informed by agrarian values.

    “The modern pagan, the child of technology or the ‘mass man,’ does not even enjoy the anguish of dualism or the comfort of myth. His anxieties are no longer born of eternal aspiration, though they are certainly rooted in a consciousness of death. ‘Mass man’ is something more than fallen. He lives not only below the level of grace, but below the level of nature—below his own humanity. No longer in contact with the created world or with himself, out of touch with the reality of nature, he lives in the world of collective obsessions, the world of systems and fictions with which modern man has surrounded himself. In such a world, man’s life is no longer even a seasonal cycle. It’s a linear flight into nothingness, a flight from reality and from God, without purpose and without objective, except to keep moving, to keep from having to face reality (See Max Picard: The Flight From God).” ~Thomas Merton, Seasons of Celebration

  • Bishop Andrew Gerales Gentry

    You “embrace profanity” well that speaks volumes!
    There is an old Yiddish proverb which in situations such as this I find most helpful. “when you argue with an idiot and a stranger passes by they wont know which one is the idiot” So no more comments other than this: not one word of profanity was necessary to make the point! Profanity is the gutter language of the very immature and intellectually undeveloped!
    I have blocked any further of your comments but feel free to “spit and cuss” to your heart’s content!

  • http://nakedpastor.com David Hayward

    Bishop… are you really a bishop? there’s nothing wrong with using strong and colorful language. it’s just a matter of style. and to write somebody off just because of that betrays its own immaturity and lack of open-mindedness.

  • Carol

    Bishop, I have a deep appreciation for rabbinical wisdom, even more for Jewish humor, but I’ll go with the Calvin and Hobbes comic strip on this one:

    Life’s disappointments are harder to take when you don’t know any swear words.
    — Calvin and Hobbes comic strip

    I have experienced the “F” and the “S* word to be especially cathartic. I worked for over 12 years for a Catholic priest who was proficient in Latin, Itialian and French as well as his native English. The “S” word just came natural when life’s little crises struck and he asked me if I couldn’t just say *merde*. I told him, no, because it didn’t have the same cathartic effect.

    Himself was in his seventies and, although he learned to use a word processor, he could never quite get the hang of using a computor. I told him it was because he couldn’t say “Oh, shit.” Everyone knows you can’t acquire proficient computer skills if you can’t say “Oh, shit!”

  • Gary

    Bishop said … “Though we are not yet at the point of knowing for certain who did this horrible crime it would come as no surprise to any intelligent person if the individual or individuals responsible are the nutters with the NRA and the Tea Party Republicans.”

    Considering the developments overnight it should be painfully obvious how inappropriate this type of rhetoric is. You should be both embarrassed and deeply ashamed for spreading such divisive bullshit.

    Sadly…judging by your behavior here…I know you are neither.

  • Carol

    Gary-1, Bishop-0

    Game over?


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