Pastoral Musings from Rain City

it's about 'what is church?' it's about whether 'emergent' is the latest Christian trend or something more substantial. it's musing on what it means to live faithfully...in the city, in America, in community, intergenerationally, at this time in history...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hope: For Such a Time as This


I spent the afternoon yesterday at the funeral of a 32 year old friend, of whom I wrote last week. I was fine until I looked at the program and saw pictures of him on his jet ski, and playing with his kids, and read that he loved skiing and snowmobiling. Why, in God's name, does this person die?

Why do so many of my friends in the medical world grow weary of prayer, precisely because they see disease winning?

Why does there seem to be so much confusion about death, the after life, and the meaning of resurrection, both in the culture at large and in the church?

All of this is the backdrop in which I began reading this morning, in the quiet and incredible beauty of a clear, crisp, September Seattle morning, "Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church". I already know that much of what Wright says will not be new to me. I also know that much of it will. But most of all, I know that I need to wrestle with what it means, precisely, to live as an 'artisan of hope' in a world where 32 year olds die of cancer and leave a widow and four children less than six. I know all about our notions of heaven being a better place, but I'm wrestling right now with the meaning of Christ's life as it effects this earth, this life, this day.

I'm neither discouraged nor disappointed by what I've read so far, though I've just begun. This, it seems to me, is deeply vital material with which to wrestle, and I hope to know dialog, both with friends and face to face, in the days that are ahead. In the meantime, if you've read the book, or want to, and live in or near Seattle, let me know. We can all meet somewhere for food, drink, and discussion of the hope of the gospel.

Clinging to His Hope ...RD

5 Comments:

At 10/9/08 18:30, OpenID jadeejf said...

I'll get it from the library and take you up on that offer! I did read the book you recommended on film and Ecclesiastes (and even watched a few extra movies because of it), so I'm game for your recommendations!

I'm glad you're wrestling with these questions along with the rest of us. It helps me not feel quite as hopeless, I guess, if other people are confused sometimes too...

 
At 10/9/08 23:31, Blogger Kristie said...

Your Malibu friends are reading this too. :) Greg, myself and Cindy our Preschool director are reading it...and it's seeping into our conversations...evidence of a great book.

Greg referred to your book in his sermon this week. :)

I'm going to my cousin's baby's funeral tomorrow. I'm with you...why does a baby of 2 loving parents die and only live 3 hours when an unwanted child in the ghetto survives only to be abused. These are the questions i have for God someday. For now...I trust Him.

 
At 11/9/08 08:56, Blogger Joanie said...

Wow! This is a definite must-read for myself... I'm been battling with the same thoughts lately and know I need to wrestle with this issue with God's perspective.

Thank you for sharing your heart and faith journey openly. I appreciate your honesty and human struggles as a pastor, child of God and friend... You encourage my own journey immensely!

 
At 11/9/08 09:31, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm praying for you, Richard. I'm confident you will be met with new and insightful answers. You're doin it.

 
At 11/9/08 13:33, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I jusrt finished "The North Face Of God by Geier. Most difficult book(beside the Bible) I have ever read, but the most rewarding.

 

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