Joy & Suffering — Good & Evil

The Best and Worst This Season

Charles Dickens gave us A Christmas Carol, and among many others, he also gave us  A Tale of Two Cities. I plan to to savor some Christmas literature this season, but first I’d like to consider Dickens’ opening to his latter tale, a fitting interpreter of our current year.

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, Continue reading

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Genre: Prayer: For Whom? Gabe

My dear readers,

Today, I am supposed to address point two, Genre Identity, of our six points on The Reader-Navigator’s Map. Instead I’m going to ask for prayer. Yes, prayer is a genre, a category of communication both spoken and written. As a kind of literature, I can integrate it into our second point!

Prayer is a lifeline to the Lord. Like oxygen, we cannot live without it. Today, I want to ask you to pray for a 13 year old boy who is wasting away and will die without intervention — a miracle. This young man has dealt with neurological issues for years and has developed, probably from prescriptions, a disease called Akathisia, plus he has developed an eating disorder. Akathisia simply means” the inability to sit”; it is a movement disorder, an anxiety disorder. Combine this with an inability to eat or digest most foods, liquid or solid, and you can imagine the results. Continue reading

Categories: Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Parenting | Tags: | 2 Comments

A Good Friday to You

And what is good?

I have the next post in our series ready, but today is not the appropriate day for it. I awoke this morning, meditating on the meaning of good in Good Friday. You have probably heard much on this theme over the years, but we can never get enough nourishment.

My mind traversed various verses on this good theme.  “The Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting and His faithfulness to all generations.” “No one is good but God.” “You are good and do good.” “O, taste and see that He is good.”*

I thought of the first usages of the adjective, good, in the opening chapters of Genesis which describe God’s response to His own work: “And God saw that it was good”, repeated after each day’s work, but after the sixth day’s work, God saw that it was “very good”. God is good and does good work.** I thought of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. I thought of pure goodness, as in God’s character and His work, in contrast to the more complex goodness expressed in a fallen world.

I thought of the cross as the ultimate expression of that good-bad goodness.

I’d like to present a few quotations, Continue reading

Categories: Christian Reader, Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil | Tags: | 2 Comments

The Declaration of Glory

We have entered the monsoon season here in the highlands of central Arizona. It is another season within the summer. The broad, naked blue skies, vibrant with sunlight, have been overtaken by vast, billowy clouds and gentle hues of blue, violet, and gray with patches of pink, peach, and orange. Entranced by the skies, I walked the house-less circle behind our cul-de-sac yesterday evening. “The heavens declare the glory of God” (Psalm 19:1), and as the sun fell behind the mountains, the misty sky busily declared and declared. I did not have a camera with me, but if I did, the glory would have refused to be reduced to pixels.

Standing in place, I slowly circled and circled, eyeing the beauties a full 360 degrees. Continue reading

Categories: Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Spiritual Growth | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Balancing the Teeter Totter: Two Taxonomies

It’s time to turn a corner. Will you turn it with me? I know. Who knows what’s around it? (God.) Well, I’ll tell you what’s up. I would like to share my biblical research with you and others. With the Lord’s help, I plan to look for an agent and a publisher to help me transform my doctoral research project into useful material (spiritual nutrition and exercise) for the Body of Christ. That’s you (and me too!) .

I’d like to use this blog to find other people who are interested in my research topic, so I’m going to share the heart of the research with you. I’d like to ask you to forward my blog to everyone you know who may find meaning and blessing through this research. My topic, suffering and joy, is relevant to everyone.

I’ve worked on this project for three years, praying, searching Scriptures, evaluating life, and seeking God’s leading in my researching and writing. The product is a theology of suffering and joy: the doctrine of the dance between suffering and joy. (The title of this post employs a different metaphor.) I use some some special vocabulary which I will share with you, but don’t let words become walls. I’ll break terms down through meanings and usages.

I have constructed two taxonomies. Taxonomies are filing systems — ways of categorizing and organizing things. The color wheel categorizes colors. Your pantry organizes your food supply. The Plant Kingdom and Animal Kingdom with all their sub-data are taxonomies that help us identify and understand plants and animals.

This study’s first taxonomy, The Taxonomy of Suffering, names our pains. A corresponding Taxonomy of Joy responds to each kind (taxon) of pain. Here is the title of my doctoral research project:

A TAXONOMIC THEOLOGY OF SUFFERING AND JOY

DESIGNED TO ASSIST IN CHRISTIAN GROWTH

Would this interest you or anyone you know?   Continue reading

Categories: Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Spiritual Growth, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Reflecting Back, Treasuring Forward

Hello! I have not forgotten you! I wrote a long post in January, and then set it aside to think on it. Do I really want to share this? I see I never posted it and haven’t posted anything since before Christmas! If I were to treat my blog like Facebook, I would post lots of pictures of our three week trip to the Midwest in December and January to visit family and friends in Chicago, Indiana, and Ohio. ‘Twas grand. 

But I always develop a topic or thought. So, the following includes the first part of what I wrote last month. Reflecting on the last few years, I observe in my rear view mirror some rays refracting toward the future, encouraging me that some changes I’ve made have improved my life and hopefully, my future. I hope the same for you.  Continue reading

Categories: Being Like Jesus, Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Spiritual Growth | Leave a comment

Anticipating the Future Via Treasures from the Past

It can’t be avoided. The older we get, the more that life is behind us rather than in front of us.  Often I wrestle with this blinding, “under the sun” perspective. I miss much of my past: the chatter of two, little girls and all their activity in our house, the planning of family gatherings, the greatly anticipated arrival of grandparents accompanied by a trunk full of garden goodies, homemade berry and cream pies, and ranger or chocolate chip cookies. Continue reading

Categories: Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Spiritual Growth, Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Red Light, Green Light: Minimizing Harm

I just re-read my post from April 15 entitled, “A Case for Suffering.” Hmm. An interesting date on which to publish that post! We are now concluding July, and the summer is nearly over. When I was a child, we would not have viewed summer as nearly over at the end of July! School didn’t start until after Labor Day, but now schools begin earlier, and they take a few more breaks during the year.

Our theme today (which certainly applies to following tax laws and to getting an education) is that their is wisdom in paying attention to red lights and green lights so as to minimize harm both personally and collectively. (Is this too obvious of a wisdom, or does difficulty stalk application?) Continue reading

Categories: Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil | Tags: | 2 Comments

Savoring Loveliness, Confounding our Sadness

I wrote a post last week but it remains lonely in my drafts. The last few months have been experientially and emotionally packed. So many things to write about. I’m overwhelmed. This past week was the second year anniversary of the deaths of our nineteen Granite Mountain firefighters here in Prescott, Arizona. They died, defending people and homes in Yarnell, Arizona from the raging flames. The day following this anniversary is my birthday. What a juxoposition. . . . Continue reading

Categories: Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Live and Learn — Traveling and Grandsons

Cliches become cliches because there is some clear core of truth within them. “Live and learn” is one of those. It is a premise found in Scripture and within our personal experiences.

Paul and I returned recently from a lightning round, eight day trip to the midwest. We flew to Chicago, spent the night at our older daughter’s home, picked up a rental car the next day and drove

Continue reading

Categories: Joy & Suffering -- Good & Evil, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

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