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Showing posts from October, 2010

Can We Let God Be Kinder than We Are?

When it comes to pain and suffering, how is it that we can be closer to Job's clueless "friends" than Jesus? See also the critique of the pop dictum "God Never Gives Us More than than We Can Handle."

Granted we can read Job as a story that has a Walt Disney ending all because of Job's faithfulness. That's not the only reading we can employ though. So why come down on the side of meanness instead of generosity and grace? Does God really take away our health - or dish up trouble- whatever the reason? Does God really extract everything from our lives so that one day, when everything and everyone is gone, we'll somehow accept Jesus? That is so unnecessary and harmful.

In ethics, we would call that employing the ends to justify the means. That very reasoning is used to justify any and all kind of harm done to others. I find it very sad and draining whenever I encounter it- and I do all too often with "believers." But applying this kind of toxic…

Survivors of Suicide- A Grief Like No Other

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Pastors and care-givers have the terribly isolating experience of surviving a parishioner, friend or family member who has taken their own life. I found the following advice from former NFL quarterback Eric Hipple:

"It's hard to describe [the pain of suicide] unless you have been close to someone who did commit suicide. That's why those of us who have been through this need to help each other. And please, if you think about suicide, go see a psychologist or a doctor. Get some treatment. Don't wait."

Don't try to reason with someone who is in clinical depression and making suicidal statements or threats. They're in that place because their thinking is compromised. For spiritual care givers, it maybe helpful to report your concerns to the next of kin and/or the physician(s) who is responsible for the care plan. This can be done in the best interests of a person who has come to see you for help, even while you honor the confidentiality and trust of a parishi…