But I am reading this book, thanks to Greg's review. It is a great book, and has already spurred some thoughtful conversations about the nature of God. For me, one of the best examples was the discussion about Aaron and the Golden Calf--including the part where Moses has some 3,000 people killed according to God's order. As I noted to a friend, I find that God hard to understand in the context of the "personal relationship" God that I am supposed to see as Father. Yeah, except my own father never claimed that he could kill me and be right to do so.
But that is the nature of evangelical language right now, and I think that needs to be rethought. Greg once again highlights an example from this last week's tragic case of a baseball fan dying trying to catch a foul ball. Just an awful story, and as it turns out, the player who threw him the ball--Josh Hamilton--responded to it with this empty, but all too common response:
I can't imagine what they're going through right now. I can't imagine. All I can think about is praying for them and knowing that God has a plan. You don't always know what that plan is when those things happen, but you will.As Greg notes, this is the kind of response that means absolutely nothing. The same thing could be said if a person has a personal victory, or when the Japanese nuclear plant leaked. It has no meaning, or has very bad meaning. And, as Greg notes, there is a better response:
"This is a tragedy, and I can't explain it, but I believe God will ultimately bring something good out of all this."Instead, we get the vapid and meaningless response that so many evangelicals use without even thinking.