I never write book reviews ... until now. Now I am making an exception for three reasons: (1) Philip Yancey's book Disappointment with God is an unflinching appraisal of how long-term disappointment precipitates crises of faith in the life of religiously devout people, (2) the theodical implications of that process, and (3) the theological consequences of (1) and (2). If you have been reading these columns for the last few years, you know that this has been a strong preoccupation of mine. But even though I wrote an Amazon review of Disappointment with God, I was not writing these "Skeptic's" columns at the time. So the following is in the nature of the latter playing catch-up with the former.
The Christian community almost always deals with disappointm
It will probably come as no great surprise to you if you have read even a few of my “Skeptics” columns over the years, but I have scant regard for theology. When it comes to the specific field, not of theology in general, but the sub-discipline of theodicy in particular, my “regard quotient” craters out all the way to zero. I admit to being perversely fascinated by theodicy, if only because theodicy has historically illustrated the tortuous twists and turns of which the human intellect is capable when the thinker desperately attempts to avoid concluding “4” from “2 plus 2”, the intellectual equivalent of watching a python swallow a full-grown goat whole. Maybe mildly perverse, like binge-ing out on Quentin Tarantino movies over a weekend. But mostly harmless. Except … one of the most
I realize now -- when it's 'way too late -- that I could never get the hang of Christianity.
Full disclosure: I was a practicing, observant, believing Christian for the first 55-plus years of my life: the guy who never missed church, could be relied on to lead a Bible study, teach a class, chair (or just be a member of) a committee, etc. You know the drill. Bottom line: as a Christian, I’ve made my chops. Probably many times over. But I stopped perhaps a dozen years ago. Now … to clarify … the following is not intended to assert that every practice and every belief that follows is an essential part of Christianity. They’re not. Some are essential; others, subcultural. But they are of a piece with every part of the Christian subculture I’ve ever been personally involved with. S