Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Thinx 68: Carolyn's book review continues

Continuing reading Suffering and Evil, from the series “Little Black Books” produced by Matthias Media

Chapter 1 … well it was my intention to read Chapter 1 but it was the end of Chapter 2 when put the book down to attend other things in life! The conversational style of writing makes it very easy to read while in no way detracting from the enormity or complexity of the subject. The analogies are very modern and well crafted into the text to enhance the points being made. No wonder I was at the end of Chapter 2 before I knew it!

Chapter 1 deals with the question of suffering, visiting the age-old questions of the link between suffering and sin, and why we suffer. No simplistic, pat answers are given. Instead the author draws from the life and experiences of Job, supported by references from the New Testament, to show that suffering is real and may be (in fact, often is) unjust. How I respond to it is the concern: will it make me 'a bitter Christian or a better Christian”? ( p21). The chapter concludes by focusing on God and the unjust suffering He suffered on the cross, suffering “more that you or I” (p22).

Chapter 2 deals with the question of evil and the other age-old question of how there can be a loving God who allows evil to exist. The question is dealt with in real terms: evil does exist, it is caused by sin and Satan in the world. However, the chapter resonates with hope: again drawing from the story of Job, the author shows that God restrains and controls evil while never being stained by evil. The chapter concludes with the point that in “our puny ability to understand his (God's) ways” (p32) we need to trust in the goodness and justice of God when things go awry, rather than charging him with wrongdoing.

Some may accuse the author of skimming over such deep and complex subjects … in the space of 23 small pages to be exact! However, I liked the precise way in which the issues are handled. There are no easy-peezy answers given, no shying away from the topic. Instead there is depth and good Biblical content, crafted in a manner that sufficiently answers my questions on suffering and evil … in 23 small pages and one cup of coffee!

Next … chapter 3 … I'm looking forward to it!
© Copyright Carolyn Axtens, 2011.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Thinx 67: Carolyn's book review

And so another Christmas has come, bringing with it the countless images of people having fun, receiving gifts and eating too much. These images are countered by an almost equal number of images of homeless people, those alone or sick, with the inferred question of what Christmas will be like for them. Some of these people are in their desperate situations because of poor choices they made; others because life is just unfair, even cruel. 

Annually, at Christmas time, this raises the question in my mind of why God allows suffering and evil. This year I decided to read up on this a little more deeply. Being the holiday season I went looking for something short and to the point, easy to read, not a long, complicated theological discourse. That's when I came across the “Little Black Book” series by Matthias Media, and in particular Suffering and Evil” by Scott Petty. Small, only 54 pages, touted as 'books that get to the point', I opened to the introduction. I immediately liked the everyday, casual style of the language, but what got me in was the aim to to deal with the topic “with precision and compassion” (p5), looking especially at what the Bible character Job teaches about God, faith, evil and suffering (p7).

So … a cup of coffee, a comfortable lounge … chapter 1 …
© Copyright Carolyn Axtens, 2011.