Sunday, 5 June 2011

Drops Like Stars & Nooma Rain.

As sleep is hard to come by tonight[I pulled the post as it made no sense this is the edited and slightly more sensical version], I might as well do this review that I have been meaning to do since Lent...

...while I was on my chaplaincy placement I read a few books on suffering one of them was the grove booklet below:

which was a good introduction as well as Trystan's book which I have already reviewed which I think is great (see finding hope and meaning in suffering).

Then I turned to Rob Bell (I still intend to read some CS Lewis but this is when I can find time between assignments, placements and Dissertation research)
Rob Bell's book is a great discussion starter (I bet you never thought I'd say that). If you grew up in a christian home like me then you probably will have read plenty of apologetic(trying to make sense of faith) material, explaining that suffering is either a result of the fallen nature of the world, or disobedience and human selfishness, Jesus said that while we were in the world we would suffer, and that in the end it will be different... but when you are in the midst of suffering don't you just want to know that someone cares?

Bell doesn't try and justify why suffering occurs, or give pat answers to someone who is suffering instead he asks the question "What now?"

***I don't think this is a spoiler alert for CSI series 11 but just in case*********

In the current series of CSI (Crime Scene Investigation) two individuals with the same gene have taken two separate paths one a mass murderer the other a CSI. Two people with the same gene take two totally different paths and so too with suffering two people can both suffer but one finds creativity the other a pit of despair (probably an oversimplification).

For Bell suffering doesn't fit into our neat packaged boxes, but this presents an opportunity creativity can come out of suffering (reminds me a little of honey from the lion). I desperately want to take sometime to blog the keynote from the Bonhoeffer conference on disability..

he affirms that God is not some voyeur looking down on our suffering, additionally that we may never understand here on earth why it has happened...that some things are just left hanging (the story of the prodigal) but he suggests that it is the moments when we are suffering which can be creative.

Couple this with the Nooma resource Rain and they are an alternate look at suffering, not as something which is the instrument of a wrathful and vengeful God, instead suffering is part of living in this broken and fallen world...
by watching the nooma video rain you get some further understanding that God is a loving father who doesn't want us to suffer that he is right there with us in the midst of suffering.

The book is short, you can read it in half an hour, some of the illustrations work really well, others are lost in translation (I am English after all). I would recommend this book to explore and ask questions, use it as a discussion starter in church... I know it is more risky starting with questions but that is where most people are, as a Christian I believe we have something vital to share with others that God is not some far and distant God, irrelevant and fictitious, but is present right here right now:

Saviour of the world-

Jesus, Saviour of the world,
come to us in your mercy: •
we look to you to save and help us.

By your cross and your life laid down,
you set your people free: •
we look to you to save and help us.

When they were ready to perish, you saved your disciples: •
we look to you to come to our help.

In the greatness of your mercy, loose us from our chains, •
forgive the sins of all your people.

Make yourself known as our Saviour and mighty deliverer; •
save and help us that we may praise you.

Come now and dwell with us, Lord Christ Jesus: •
hear our prayer and be with us always.

And when you come in your glory: •
make us to be one with you
and to share the life of your kingdom.

(Canticle from: Common Worship, p.801)

May God richly bless you in whatever circumstances you find yourself today...


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