Buddhism

Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller

Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering by Timothy Keller

Everyone suffers. And yet perhaps because of the age in which we live, there have been few cultures that have struggled more with suffering than ours. I’m currently reading a popular book on loss and I’m struck by how vapid the wisdom of our age is in the face of suffering.

Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering is, quite simply, the best book on suffering that I’ve read. Keller deals with the subject philosophically, theologically, and practically. Each treatment is successful on its own, and combined they pack a unique punch as Keller engages mind and heart alike.

Timothy Keller is such a unique author. His books range from the incredibly accessible: The Prodigal God and Counterfeit Gods, to the slightly more rigorous, but still very accessible apologetic, The Reason for God, to the more rigorous practitioner’s guides such as Generous Justice or Preaching. Part of Timothy Keller’s unique gifting is his ability to write so well in each of these genres. Walking with God Through Pain and Suffering is the most rigorous book by Keller to date and yet the book is every bit as well written as any of his best.

Contemporary westerners are repelled by suffering and death. On the stage of world history, our fear of death is abnormal. Keller quotes an author at The New York Times Magazine, who, after the tragic sniper shootings in the Washington DC area reflected, “The fact is, staving off our own death is one of our favorite national pastimes. Whether it’s exercise, checking our cholesterol or having a mammogram, we are always hedging against mortality. [And yet] despite our best intentions, it is still, for the most part, random. And it is absolutely coming.”[i] This aversion to suffering and death is a cultural blind spot and means that we naturally approach the topic with naiveté.

This Week's Recommendations

This Week's Recommendations

1.       What is the Biggest Factor in Economic Inequity? Marriage: Glenn Stanton reports, " Jonathan Rauch writing in the National Journal, certainly no conservative, notes that “marriage is displacing both income and race as the great class divide of the new century.” Isabel Sawhill, a senior scholar at the center-left Brookings Institute, boldly and correctly proclaimed some years ago that “the proliferation of single-parent households accounts for virtually all of the increase in child poverty since the early 1970s.” Virtually all of the increase!"

2.       The Spirit is Always in Agreement with the Word: Aaron Armstrong battles a mode of argument in favor among progressives, that the Spirit can move us past Scripture, "[I]f we can’t use the words the Spirit inspired [the Bible] to be our norming-norm, what do we use to determine whether or not we’re resisting him? Shifts in culture? Personal feelings and preference?.. After all, the Spirit doesn’t work apart from the word he inspired...It’s important that we wrestle with what’s going on in our culture, the shifts in beliefs and behaviors especially. But if anyone is going to make a convincing argument on why Christians need to change their views on a number of key controversial issues, it’s not going to be pitting the Spirit against Scripture."

3.       10 Things That Require Zero Talent: I love this little list from Paul Alexander. #4 and 8 on his list are: "Body Language: You say more with your body language than the words that actually come out of your mouth; Being Coachable: You can learn from anyone, but you have to choose to."

4.       Corporate America's Strange New Religion: Kevin Williamson reports on America's favorite new religion, "'Participants are regaining 62 minutes per week of productivity,' Stringer wrote. 'They are seeing an approximate dollar return, in terms of productivity alone, of more than $3,000 per person per year.' Never mind karma — this is a bottom-line issue.  'Mindfulness,' a meditation practice that is in essence Buddhism without Buddha, is everywhere in corporate America and celebrity culture."

5.       National History Museum 2017 Photography Winners: Stunning photographs. This evocative photo is probably my favorite.