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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
              Friday, September 21 2001 

Where is God? - 2

If Entertainment Tonight found the nation's renewed interest in God and His role in human suffering worthy of a segment on Wednesday as it did, these questions must be high in the national consciousness. Charles Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship ministries, said this week in his Breakpoint essay that church attendance was near capacity last Sunday, both in the United States and, even more surprisingly, in England. Though war hero Senator John McCain seemed to be defiant in saying on Jay Leno's show on Tuesday that "God may have mercy on these terrorists, but the American people will not," others including Colson have said repentance is the order of the day when catastrophe of any kind strikes a people.

Another nationally known author, essayist, and broadcast personality, Frederica Mathewes-Green, a convert to Eastern Orthodoxy, echoed Colson's call to repentance, saying in an essay that Americans have difficulty repenting, thinking it implies self-blame. But biblically, she said, "The Hebrew scriptures show a consistent pattern: a devastating loss was a signal to repent, turn, and change. That didn't mean that the enemy was 'right' or that God liked them better, just that it was time for learning a hard lesson."

Colson reinforces my proposition in yesterday's entry that neither catastrophe as the judgment of God nor its dismissal out of hand can be claimed. "Jesus himself," Colson writes, "was asked why bad things happen to good people. In Luke 13, we read that people asked him if the Galileans who were killed while worshipping at the altar were worse sinners than anyone else. 'No,' Jesus answered. And then he added, 'Unless you repent you will all likewise perish.' Jesus then reinforced his point. Recently, a tower in a nearby city had fallen; eighteen people had been crushed to death. Jesus said, 'Do you think that they were worse offenders than all the others who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.'"

But is even repenting a guarantee of a life without suffering? If the Old Testament and church history are our guides, obviously not. Job, described in what is generally considered the earliest written book of the Old Testament as a rightous man pleasing to God, endured great catastrophes and losses, to prove his reliance on God only. The early church, including among its most influential founders Sts. Peter and Paul, were persecuted even to death by torture.

Says Mathewes-Green in another article: "A world of free creatures requires the possibility that they will freely choose evil. Since the flood of Noah, God has declined to fix things by wiping out all the troublemakers. The only solution that remains is for each of us to realize that we are ourselves junior troublemakers to one extent or another, and do our part to clean up our own corners."

To be continued....

Webmaster Jon Kennedy

Husbands, wives

Married men should forget their mistakes. No sense in two people remembering the same thing.

Sent by Mike Harrison

Food for thought

"Civil wars are the greatest of all evils." —Blaise Pascal

"Child of God, therefore children of God, therefore brothers. All wars are civil wars." —Eric Gill

Sent by Bud Macfarlane, CatholiCity

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