Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The God I Don't Understand-Introduction

I should state that I was drawn by the book because stuff happening in my personal life that makes me echo the title of the book "The God I Don't Understand". But i have to say that I have always been drawn to books that revolve around this type of subject matter, books like "Disappointment with God" come to mind by Yancey. These types of books explore these mysteries and questions that our heart longs in seeking answers to them. We all seek reasonable answers i might add. In bible school, i tried my take on the question but I was way off target, come to think of it. But this question keeps on nagging every time the belief in God is put up front. The question about evil and how God, if he is all good would allow suffering.

I thought I'd try something different with this particular book. After I've read a chapter, I'd blog about it. So some sort of experimentation going on here. I'd probably post something that really gripped me rather than do a blow by blow exposition on a chapter.

Christopher Wright who wrote the book wrote at the end of the introduction part of the book about what he biblical precedent he hopes to archive for this book, and he uses Psalms 73 to explain this. The psalm starts on a positive manner affirming Israel's faith in God (v.1) but moves on to the author's struggle with God's ways of handling things (v.2-14).

In the middle part of the psalm Wright explains that the author does two things. First, he explains that the psalmists although raises perplexing questions he does not go overboard for fear of "betraying God's people" (22). The second, as Wright explains again, the author of the psalm "goes to worship in the house of God with God's people. There, in the context of worship, his perspective is changed and he sees things in the light of God's ultimate will and moral government." Wright further states again that the psalmist "lets us hear both his struggling lack of understanding and his restored, worshiping faith." (23)

The part that caught my attention was when Wright mentions in the middle part of the psalm, namely the first half that is verse 15. This part raises wisdom in how we are supposed to carry out our hard fought questions especially on a public platform; books, blogs, sermons, teaching. Write states that

"There is a proper pastoral limit to the voicing of protest- as God reminded Jeremiah on one occasion (Jer 15:19) and as Isaiah warned his listeners (Isa 45:9-13). I have prayed constantly in working on this book that i may not transgress that limit. I want to explore questions that the bible itself wrestles with, but i want to build up God's people, not betray their faith." (22) (emphasis mine)

I think this does serve as a reminder for us especially in the blogspehere when we are relaying views, not necessarily on evil, suffering and God but on any other subject matter for that sake. But at points though, when i think of the psalms, there are some that push the limit, like the one where the psalmist wants God to dash the heads babies of the Babylonians. But it does make me ask what is a pastoral limit to voicing protest? Protest in a sense that asks God some deep questions on why he is not acting up to who we believe and learn that he is.


BK said...

Thanks for this. I'm so glad Wright stressed the pastoral aspect. I guess one way to phrase it is that we can voice our complaints, our frustrations, to God. But we don't, in the end, grumble about him and his character, we trust the Lord even in the midst of our struggles.

I'm hoping to read this at some point, but it's ridiculously expensive for a paperback. Did you manage to get a cheap copy somewhere? Not pirated right? :)

Tremonti said...


There is one thing tht Wright mentioned that i like "knowing & trusting God does not necessarily add up to understanding." And through what i've been reading at the moment he is balance in a way that he asks these serious questions.

As for the book, I got it for RM56.90, the paperback addition. Yes and it's not pirated haha. Books nowadays are getting more and more expensive don't you think? haha

Hopeful Theo

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I'm a student of Theology (currently and will always be one). I'm a student of culture and a student of music as well. I guess you could say life is a never ending journey of learning. Because of that we never stop being students. Just a little something about this blog: Deconstructing The Monkey is all about being a safe space for emerging conversations