The Absence in Mourning

In regards to Job:

Consider how scandalous it is. Here is a document declared to be part of the canon of inspired scripture. But perhaps 60 percent of it— or whatever the exact portion uttered by Job’s so-called comforters might be— is called a gust of hot, empty air, first by Job and then by God (16:3; 38:2)! And their puerile chatter contains— again, we have to face it—-exactly the kind of sweet, simple logic we find in Deuteronomy and Proverbs in the preface and the epilogue of Job itself: bad things happen to bad people, and good things happen to good people. How do we reconcile this tension?

Of course, the answer is we don’t reconcile it. We don’t say, “There is no justice in the world.” But neither do we say, “There is a simple, clear, black-and-white justice in the world.” Instead we do what Job does, and what the Bible as a whole does— we live with the tension, feel its pain, and let the discomfort churn within us. We abandon hope of an explanation that will let us happily and easily accept reality as it is. And something happens when we make this move. When we refuse all easier alternatives, we find our hearts being strangely empowered. We grow resolute, determined to throw our lives into the cause of justice, comfort, compassion, and healing, aiming our no at all that is hateful, unjust, false, foolish. And whenever the pain proves unbearable, we shot to God in the prayer of rage and refusal.

Things are not as they should be in the world. Nor are things as they should be in our lives— in our emotions, in our thinking, in our behavior, in our relationships. No is the response to all that is unacceptable. It is a refusal to accept the unacceptable. The descendants of those who gave us Psalms 77 and 88 and the book of Job, and the rabbi Jesus know this refusal too well.

—- Brian McLaren (Naked Spirituality)


2 thoughts on “The Absence in Mourning

  1. Nicky says:

    Mike, as always the succinct words you write are filled with power, and anointed. I adore reading all you have to say, and very much look forward to seeing that you have a new post up. Thank you for sharing what you do, thank you for writing in a way that combines great depth and simplicity, something I believe that Jesus did. Your writing makes me smile.

    I keep you and your sister in my prayers, at this time – I break and bind the spirit of death over your lives, in the name of Jesus. I ask the Lord to come in and fill you both to overflowing with his perfect love, more of Him, more and more. May He hold your sister as she grieves, and may He hold you as you remember. May He bring you both freedom. In Jesus name amen

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