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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
              Thursday, September 20 2001

Where is God?

After last week's horrendous events, with no prompting from your webmaster, a spontaneous discussion of prayer and the role of God in the catastrophy sprang up on the email list. Someone was understood as suggesting that the terrorist attack on America was in some way a judgment on God's part upon our nation. Several others responded along the line that God doesn't work that way, suggesting that He was nowhere involved or, if involved, not in such a way.

I decided to wait until emotions settled a bit before getting into the question, one of my favorite theological topics. Now I'm ready to assert that, in my opinion, both sides on that question would be better off not making simple flat-footed assertions. In fact, an evangelical writer whose lay theology I greatly respect, Chuck Colson, has produced a whole book, Who Speaks for God?, inspired by the question many were raising a decade or two ago, "Is AIDs a judgment of God on homsexuals or society's increased toleration of homosexuality?" His answer, as I best recall: Only God Himself can answer that. And to embellish it a bit: in some cases it probably is, but in others, and in general, it's not.

Please don't get ahead of me or try to second-guess me on this; God's role in human suffering is a topic worth discussing and not easy to get around; it's quite complicated. But traditional Christianity, and Judaism, definitely have a lot to say that's worth discussing. Further, I don't mean to imply that my positions are the last word; this is a Forum and your rejoinders, opinions, disagreements, and questions are, as always, welcome and taken seriously. Feel free to invite your favorite religion teacher or clergyman or -woman to join our discussion.

Yesterday's mention of the Johnstown floods reminds me, in this context, of something David McCullough reports in his wonderful and heart-breaking book, The Johnstown Flood. After the 1889 flood, many preachers sermonized about the judgment of godlessness represented by the flood. A reporter, observing the prostitutes encamped on Prospect Hill in the aftermath, doing land office business among the disaster relief teams and media there to work the event, remarked that "If God struck Johnstown to show His displeasure, He must have awfully poor aim."

To be continued....

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Husbands, wives

My wife dresses to kill. She cooks the same way.

—Henny Youngman

Sent by Mike Harrison


I bargained with life for a penny,
And life would pay no more,
However I begged at evening,
When I counted my scanty store.
For Life is a just employer,
He gives you what you ask,
But once you have set the wages,
Why, you must bear the task.
I worked for a menial's hire,
Only to learn dismayed,
That any wage I had asked of Life,
Life would have willingly paid.

"Anonymous," from Think & Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

Sent by Joe Pelayo

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