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My Life and Faith in This Book

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message 1: by George (new)

George | 2 comments The book is "Evil, Anger, and God." I wrote it and here are ways it incorporates my life and my faith:

1. My Offspring. Evil, Anger, and God gestated in my brain for half a century before its birth. Its delivery entailed the labor of pondering personal and public evils in relation to my anger and to God as portrayed in the Bible. So this book incorporates my life and faith because a billion or so of my brain cells were converted into print. Chap 1 “About This Book” outlines what I wrote and why. (You can read parts of the book for free by going to Google Books, searching for “Evil, Anger, and God” and reading in the Preview or going to Amazon’s Look Inside, but the pages that can be read are limited and vary.)

2. Evil. My years have witnessed many evils: Nazism and the Holocaust, useless wars in Korea and Vietnam, terrorism, as well as the inevitable tribulations suffered by everyone. Stepping back from the factual human or natural causes, I asked the transcendent Why? question. The question can be ducked with an “it just happened” reply or answered with words like Fate, Destiny, or God. My book tells how the biblical God became my answer and addresses that answer’s attendant questions. Chap 3 covers “Evil: Biblical Meanings” 10-16.

3. Anger. Evil denotes events that frustrate what we consider good, and frustration evokes anger. Illness and death in my family, social injustice, and poverty: I reacted to such evils with anger, too often hurting inappropriate targets. I wrote about how I learned to prevent anger or direct it at God rather than inflicting it on other people in Chap 4 “Anger: A Common Reaction to Evil” 17-19 and Chap 11 “Preventive Deliverance from Evil” sec “Preventive Deliverance from Anger’s Evil” 88-91 and Chap 12 “Alleviative Deliverance from Evil” sec “Alleviating Anger’s Evil” 108-110.

4. God. The book contains an understanding of biblical language that portrays God as doing things, including inflicting evil, that allows me to use the language meaningfully without denying what is known about human and natural causes. Thus, it resolves the needless conflict between such faith language (i.e., religion) and scientific knowledge. I wrote about this in “Understanding Biblical Language” 27-39.

5. Humans. As a matter of fact, it is humans who perpetrate most of the world’s evil, and language about God as inflicting evil in no way denies this fact. I wrote about this in Chap 8 “Humans as Evildoers” in a way that helps me understand my own sometimes evil (hurtful) behavior.

6. Self-esteem. For many years, I did not believe that I was really ‘by God’ esteemed. The affirmations I received from family and friends were not enough. I felt that I must prove I was OK, but I could never be right enough. Even if others thought so, was I really ‘by God’ esteemed? In religious terms, I could not justify myself “by the works of the law” because I would always fall short. Because I often tried to prove myself right by proving others wrong I inflicted the evil of suffering on others and in return suffered their distaste: all because I could not believe that I was ‘by God’ esteemed. But through a wise psychotherapist, I finally got it. I wrote about what I got in Chap 11 “Preventive Deliverance from Evil” sec “Preventive Deliverance from Guilt’s Evil” 91-106.

7. Reviews thus far indicate that “Evil, Anger, and God” not only incorporates my life and faith it can speak to the life and faith of readers. There are reviews posted on www.Amazon.com and on www.Google.com Books. Following is an especially gratifying review that is not posted. It was written by John H. Rodgers, Jr., a Professor of Theology Emeritus.

“This book is best read through patiently and with pen in hand; it is not light and breezy. Whether or not you agree with the author at all points, and this reviewer does not, you will find that in the end you will have wrestled with the deep things of God and that you will appreciate the Lord more profoundly, know yourself better and also be a better care giver and/or pastor when suffering makes its presence known, as it surely will.” Trinity Journal for Theology & Ministry, Fall 2008

These are ways the “Evil, Anger, and God” incorporates my life and my faith that come to mind at this writing. If you read any parts of the book on Amazon or Google or in the book itself, I would appreciate knowing whether any of it speaks to your life and faith as it does to mine.

Thank you, Milton Crum




message 2: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Ellis | 39 comments Wow! thanks Milton!
Sharon Ellis
Communions With Christ


message 3: by Jay (new)

Jay Franklin (jayd808) | 8 comments Hi Milton:

Are you familiar with David Bentley Hart and his essay on Theodicy?

I was wondering what you might think of it.

I have a copy of it on my website here. It also figures prominently on a story of failed fellowship there as well. You can read that if you wish, but I always try to get an informed opinion of the essay.

In Christ,

dj

Essay is here:

http://payingattentiontothesky.com/42...




message 4: by George (new)

George | 2 comments REPLY TO DEREK

Derek, you asked whether I am familiar with David Bentley Hart and his essay on Theodicy and you wondered (i.e., wanted to know?) what I might think of it. Now that I have read the essay on your web site, I can answer “Yes” to the essay question and will say a bit about what I think of it. But, first, if I read your web site correctly, you wrote the articles “Theodicy and the Idea of Salvation,” “Approaches To God’s Existence,” “Freedom in the Bible,” and others. If so, you are an impressive theologian and better read in the theologians to whom you refer than I am. I have been retired for 20 years from teaching (mostly homiletics) in a seminary of the Episcopal Church and where I live, I have virtually no theological library available except what I can pull up from my old brain.

Now to Hart’s essay: I fully agree with his statement: “I do not believe we Christians are obliged — or even allowed — to look upon the devastation visited upon the coasts of the Indian Ocean and to console ourselves with vacuous cant about the mysterious course taken by God’s goodness in this world, or to assure others that some ultimate meaning or purpose resides in so much misery.” I know many people who, while suffering afflictions, were made to endure such phony consolations, as Job had to endure the preachments of his so-called friends.

However, I do not find Hart’s theodicy of a dualism temporarily allowed by (an omnipotent?) God satisfying in (a) mind or (b) heart.

(a) From the perspective of logic, what justifies God of delegating such power to the forces of evil? Neither do I find that argument fully agreeable to the Bible. Whatever “authority [or power:]” Satan might have “has been given over [by God:]” (Luke 4:6). Satan was also subservient to the Christ who could give his apostles “power and authority over all demons [or devils:]” (Luke 9:1). The book of Revelation portrays Jesus as the Lamb who afflicted the earth with suffering and death by war, famine, pestilence, and wild animals. All these evils came from “the wrath of the Lamb” (Revelation 6:1-17).

(b) I have found no philosophical theodicy that enables a trusting relationship with the God as portrayed in Scripture: a God who often inflicts evil (how to understand such language is another issue). When Hart describes Ivan as “he simply chooses to return his ticket of entrance to God’s Kingdom,” I take it that Ivan is so disgusted with the evil-inflicting God that he wants no relationship with him. In my book, I present an interpretation of the crucifixion as what P. T Forsyth — one of the two theologians I draw on — calls “God’s own theodicy,” which, as Charles Williams — the other theologian — says makes God “tolerable” to him. Perhaps, it would have made God tolerable enough for Ivan that he would have used his ticket into the Kingdom?

I ended my post with this request: “I would appreciate knowing whether any of [Evil, Anger, and God:] speaks to your life and faith as it does to mine.” Perhaps you will find time to read the book and respond, or write a review for your web site? (The “book” for the class by the same name that I taught contained much St. Thomas Aquinas material, but I decided to make the published book a Bible study that could be used in parishes.)

I think there is much in the book that would complement your thinking. For example, your appreciation of the importance of “freedom for” in your piece “Freedom in the Bible.” I deal with this in my book, making use of Mortimer Adler’s three freedoms, a reference that I think you would want to add to your already considerable story of knowledge.

At any rate, I have tried to comply with your request. Peace, Milton



message 5: by Jay (last edited Sep 11, 2009 05:10PM) (new)

Jay Franklin (jayd808) | 8 comments George wrote: "REPLY TO DEREK

Derek, you asked whether I am familiar with David Bentley Hart and his essay on Theodicy and you wondered (i.e., wanted to know?) what I might think of it. Now that I have read th..."


Thank you Milton, that was very kind of you.

If you look at the three pieces you mention above you will see that the essays are credited to other sources. For example in the discussion I called “Freedom in the Bible,” the first paragraph credits a John Sachs book called "The Christian View of Humanity."

"You are an impressive theologian." Hardly. I am the guy who is identified on the "about" page (http://payingattentiontothesky.com/ab...), "Paying Attention To The Sky is written by a recent convert to the Catholic Church (2006), Derek Jeter, who is the consumate icon of the New York Yankee shortstop of the same name and is auditing courses from time to time in the Masters in Ministry Program at St. Johns Seminary in Boston. Mr. Jeter lived and worked 23 years in Japan and after returning to the states in 1994 worked in a series of Training and Curriculum Design positions at Boston area companies."

The site is a collection of summaries, reading selections,etc. from things I read during my first four or five years of conversion, as I devoured various books to quell my "faith seeking understanding" tic. If you think I wrote them then I have done a poor job with my credits. If you think I need to do better I will revisit the posts.

I'm glad you enjoyed my choices.

I'm hesitant to read materials that are not Catholic but will put your book on my to read list and give it a shot. I'll contact you later and let you see what I have written.

Thank you for the kind consideration of my request. I have only a small personal library myself but live near a robust library consortium and can pretty much get anything I want. With the price of books these days having a personal library turns out to be a luxury.

In Christ,

dj





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