When people are suffering the most, that’s often the time they turn to God. At the very least, suffering provokes people to ponder the big questions. No, I’m not referring to the BBC television show, but to common questions like what happens when I die? The historical Job knew suffering firsthand, but he had yet to find satisfactory answers to his questions.
As a bit of review, I’ve progressed to Job Chapter 36 in this weekly study. So far, The Book of Job has provided a bird’s eye view of what’s going on (1) in the celestial arena hidden from human view in the early chapters, (2) what happens to Job and how he responds to horrible suffering, and (3) what Job’s friends think might be the explanation for his suffering. Continue reading “The Greatness of God”→
A couple days ago, I posted in this space about the suggestion by a film critic and New York Post columnist to banish one of my favorite all-time books, Gone With the Wind, arguing it was one more remnant of racist history. Seventy-nine years ago today, GWTW debuted on bookstands.
The author, Margaret Mitchell, hoped the book would sell 5,000 copies. To her surprise, during a single day in the summer of 1936, 50,000 copies were sold. The book was her only published novel, earning her the National Book Award for Most Distinguished Novel of 1936 as well as the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1937. Not bad for a first novel, huh? Continue reading “Southern Romantic”→
Social discourse can be a tricky thing, especially when a young person challenges the veracity of an elder. As a youngster, I was taught to “respect” my elders which meant even if they asserted something I knew to be untrue, the proper (respectful) behavior was to keep my lips sealed and my tongue in check.
Today’s more free-wheeling social interactions allow for a lot more give and take. Young adults can be cheeky and bold, sometimes intimating they know more than they really do. If you’ve ever witnessed a young person challenge a college professor (as I have) only to be verbally sliced and diced by said professor, the experience can be understandably awkward. Continue reading “Cheeky Whippersnapper”→
So it begins. The successful demonizing of one object (the Confederate flag) is rapidly opening the door for additional suggestions of items that “deserve” similar removal from our sight and consciousness. A film critic at the New York Post has written a column suggesting “‘Gone With the Wind’ should go the way of the Confederate flag.“No doubt, images from the iconic movie (like the one above) are what motivates such thinking. This film critic, Lou Lumenick, asserts Gone With the Wind (GWTW) is “insidious” and goes “to great lengths to enshrine the myth that the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery – an institution the film unabashedly romanticizes.” He characterizes author Margaret Mitchell as a “die-hard Southerner” and pooh-poohs Mitchell’s natural affinity and loyalty to the region where she was born. He calls the film an “undeniably racist artifact.” Really? Continue reading “Banners Gonna Ban”→
Heavy-hearted today. Writer Marvin Olasky has posted a sobering article on the World Magazine site titled Blindsided. It’s a post that won’t show up in print until their July 11, 2015 edition. The article was posted early this morning (1 a.m.) prior to the Supreme Court announcement.Olasky shares the heart-wrenching details of a San Francisco church congregation that was established in 1997. City Church began with about 30 people and a pastor whose vision it was to be salt and light in a community that has been compared to the ancient (and evil) city of Nineveh where God sent Jonah, the Old Testament prophet. Continue reading “Jonah’s World”→
Two-thousand-fifteen is the centennial year marking the publication of the curious (though largely forgotten) volume of poems titled Spoon River Anthology.
Written by poet Edgar Lee Masters, the book is a collection of short poems (epitaphs) relating the lives of fictional small town characters (mingled with poems by several true-life figures) who share the same location … they’re buried in the Spoon River cemetery.
Except for the introductory poem, each poem/epitaph is written in the first person, each departed individual telling his or her story from the grave. The poems were initially a series of compositions published in a literary journal.
These compositions eventually became the anthology. Masters published numerous other works including biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain and others. However, the Spoon River Anthology appears to have been his most notable and enduring work. Continue reading “Here Lies . . .”→
Gutsy Elihu, a younger man who has listened to Job and the three comforters who sit nearby, in Chapter 34 of The Book of Job continues his outspoken rebuttal of Job’s complaints against the Almighty. At the conclusion of Chapter 33, Elihu challenged Job to respond if he had anything reasonable to say, but Job remained silent so Elihu presses on. He’s not shy.
Elihu demands they – all four of the older men – listen to him. He then begins his rational argument with the example of testing food by touching it to your lips or listening to what someone says before deciding its veracity. He briefly repeats the complaints Job has made and suggests it’s time to test Job’s arguments to see if they hold weight.Continue reading “Let Job Be Tried”→
The youngest witness of Job’s ongoing agony and complaint has now made himself known in Chapter 32 of The Book of Job. Last week I posted about Elihu’s first comments. He’s a young guy and he admits he’s been listening to Job and the three comforters, and has heard their explanations for Job’s suffering.
In Chapter 33, Elihu goes on speaking. Elihu explains how Job has been calling for a judge to whom he can present his case and make his appeal. In essence, Elihu tells Job, I’m the man you want! Elihu establishes his common ground with Job, saying he also had been formed out of clay. With thoughtful arguments, Elihu will offer judgment on Job’s complaints. Continue reading “Fashioned In Clay”→
Arriving today at Chapter 32 in The Book of Job, the chapter brings an unexpected surprise … we’re introduced to a completely new character named Elihu. As he speaks, we learn he’s a younger man who has been listening to the extended conversations between Job and his comforters.
Although he hasn’t said a peep to this point, it’s fair to say Elihu has been chomping at the bit to enter into the conversation. As long as his elders were inclined to speak, he had deferred to them. The moment they fell silent, clearly ineffectual, Elihu takes the plunge. Continue reading “Youth Speaks”→
Whether defense or prosecution, when a trial attorney comes to the conclusion of a trial, it’s time for summation. At this point, the jury will hear a summary of all pertinent facts and evidence before they reach their decision. The attorney wants to deliver a strong summation in order to sway the jury toward a particular outcome. The same can be said of Job as we arrive at chapter 31. Job and his comforters have jousted back and forth for thirty chapters. Now it’s time for Job’s summation.
This chapter is a long passage – forty verses – and the flow revolves around a repetitious theme … IF. Job makes his case with a series of hypothetical statements. If I have done this … If I have done that. He addresses the accusations of his friends in summary fashion and answers each accusation by declaring what punishment he would deserve if he was guilty. Continue reading “Job Rests His Case”→