procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

praxis vs theology

chatting about evil again. reading david bentley hart's doors of the sea again.

but this time it's with others, including mark and steve, who have been interviewing christian counsellors for their pilgrims podcast.

the reason i mention this is not to promote them (they do enough self-promotion as it is), but to raise the question of how what we say to people relates to what we think - and particularly in the context of suffering.

if we believe evil is evil, an affront to God, an absurdity, then let us say this.

however, if we believe in a divine, universal harmony, where nothing happens but by the hand of God, and we are talking to someone suffering - why can we not say this? is this not the gospel of comfort to the suffering, the poor, the bound? but we realise that saying 'it's all a part of God's plan' is no comfort, and not pastorally appropriate.

my question is, if what we believe does not match with what we are willing and comfortable to say, are we too weak to say the truth that might hurt, or is our theology profoundly impersonal and thus leaving us in a schizophrenic state as we try to comfort the suffering?

what do counsellors do? what do you do?

can we in a clear conscience preach one thing from the pulpit and say another in the hospital room?

if evil is evil, it is evil. let us proclaim the goodness of God despite that evil.

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Blogger byron smith said...

Amen. Good theology is good in the classroom, the pulpit, the hospital bed and the graveyard.

11:35 pm  
Anonymous stephen gardner said...

Nice post Doug...except for the dig.

9:52 pm  
Blogger Hon said...

I need to think a little more about Parable of the Weeds (Matt 13:24-30), but there's something there...

Part of the answer could affirm that "An enemy did this," in the pulpit, sitting beside the hospital bed.

11:25 pm  
Blogger Hon said...

Sorry, sorry... need to rethink that one. It's relevant for evil (sin), but may be less relevant for questions about suffering (in particular, illness)...

11:29 pm  
Blogger Robert said...


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Rev. Robert Wright

2:50 am  

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