like no other time in my life, i’m really starting to get why people don’t want to have anything to do with the church…why they don’t believe in god…why there is so much animosity directed at christians and the christian faith…and why a life of spirituality, with no ties to any organized religion, is so attractive to people these days.
instead of simply grieving for the loss of loved ones during times of heinous and inexplicable tragedy, it seems like christians always have this unsolicited urge to offer commentary…and even explanation…for god’s role in the cause and purpose of suffering. and i’m pretty tired of it.
i understand. i really do. we have god’s explanation book at our fingertips, for crying out loud. i often feel that same craving to enlighten people and set them straight as to what god’s up to during these awful events. i suppose that’s even what i’m doing right now. hypocrisy is such a personal buzzkill.
here’s some of what i’ve heard coming from christian leaders over the past few days:
- “god needed his little angels more than we did.”
- “god is punishing america for it’s unfaithfulness to his commands.”
- “this is all part of god’s master plan.”
- “god predestines some to salvation and some to damnation.”
- “god called these children home.”
- “who are we to question god’s will?”
- “this tragedy was god’s call for each of us to personally repent.”
- “this is a sign of the end of world.” (inferred that god is orchestrating the tragedy)
- “god did this to bring about even greater glory for himself.”
- “this is what you get when you take prayer out of schools.”
- “there is no mental illness…only depraved hearts.”
- “god is sovereign…his ways are higher than ours.”
some of these explanations have an element of truth in them. in my pastorly opinion, others are completely false. here is neither the time nor the place to have a theological throwdown. and i guess that’s my point.
i know people need help wrestling with feelings and beliefs in times like these. faith, doubt, and intense sorrow are uncomfortable bedfellows. but this is not the time to talk. it is the time to come along side. if you have a belief in jesus, it’s time to act like him…not be his press secretary.
especially when the world is listening.
at a minimum, our explanations are confusing and smack of “insider language”. at their worst, our explanations paint a picture of a vengeful and manipulative god who seems to be willing to sacrifice the lives of innocents for a greater good. sadly, i think they are doing more harm than good…for both the sufferers and the watching world, as well.
and for the record, there appear to be a small handful of specially called and anointed pastors who know the truth well enough to speak authoritatively on behalf of god and what he is doing in these tragic acts. and i wish they would be quiet right now.
apparently, i must have been checking my fantasy scores when that “pastor” responsibility was passed out…