This evening we had a great conversation together as we considered the questions of evil, suffering, and God's love.
Together we explored questions of God's omnipotence. We considered how we define the word power. And thought about the difference between relationality (mutual sharing of power) and power over.
We also asked questions about evil: How and who defines what evil is? What does it mean when we give the power to define evil to the legislature? Is evil decided by the historians? Implied in these questions are--do the politically powerless also define evil?
Is there such a thing as absolute evil and absolute good? Or are these terms relative?
We inquired into the connections that may or may not exist between suffering and evil.
We took some time to talk about our responses to the events of September 11. Some of us experienced profound concern about how the U.S. would respond to the attacks. Some of us experienced a tremendous sense of vulnerability. Some of us felt overwhelmed by sadness, unable to catch our breath. Some of us felt as though the language of evil was stolen from the Christian community by its immediate use in political discourse by the likes of Karl Rove. Some of us felt as if the language of evil was not appropriate to the events of that day; rather, language of cause-and-effect might be more appropriate.
We concluded this evening's session looking toward the next one which will focus on Intimacy with God. I invited folks to read the materials for next week early in the week, so that you will live with the material for a week before we discuss it. Keeping in mind our session this evening, ask yourself: If my image of God is an all powerful God, an omnipotent God, how do I pray in light of September 11? Or, if my image of God is of a God who is not all-powerful, but a God who suffers-with (maybe even a God who is vulnerable), then how do I pray in light of September 11? Lastly, considering the phrase "intimacy with God"--what issues of trust do I face in my relationship with God?
Feel free to begin to reflect on any or all of these issues by adding a post of your own.