Thursday, May 12, 2011

[Rest and re/New] on anger at God

Last night's Rest and re/New theme was being angry with God.

James mentioned Jacob wrestling with the angel and Laura T. commented that she really likes that Jacob doesn't leave the encounter unscarred.
She also said that often we're wrestling with the wrestling, and that that just makes things worse for ourselves.

Have I mentioned that everything makes me think of DBT these days? I talked some about "radical acceptance" -- which I said is not my strong suit :) -- and "doing what's effective." I said that lots of us come from backgrounds that encouraged us to deny/repress our anger at God and that's definitely not healthy, and so we need to find a middle ground -- to experience our anger, but not dwell in it, and to do what we need to with it, that sometimes you need to go and yell at God and sometimes you need to go for a walk and try to let go of the anger.

Lisa talked about William Schultz's article "What Torture Has Taught Me." Apparently he has done a lot of work with Amnesty International with torture survivors and is also a minister and he found himself wondering... if those survivors showed up at his church, what would they think of the theology he espoused? would they find it naive? would they find it deep and meaningful?
I thought of Mariella at Art Night last week talking about someone saying that your theology shouldn't be anything you "can't say in front of burning children."

I Googled just now for [theology "burning children"] and yay, GoogleBooks:
Irving Greenberg's principle that no statement, theological or other, can be made "that would not be credible in the presence of the burning children."9 (p. 128, Long night's journey into day: a revised retrospective on the Holocaust by Alice Eckardt & Arthur Roy Eckardt)
9. Greenberg, "Cloud of Smoke," p. 23
[which I think (doing more GoogleBooks search) is: Irving Greenberg, "Cloud of Smoke, Pillar of Fire: Judaism, Christianity and Modernity after the Holocaust," in Auschwitz: Beginning of a New Era? ed. Eva Fleischner (New York: KTAV, 1997), pp. 1-55]
In skimming through the footnotes, Moltmann's Crucified God, and possibly I have a new reading project...

P.S. Regular Google got me a top hit of a blogpost that opens with the quotation:
“No statement, theological or otherwise, should be made that would not be credible in the presence of burning children.” Irving Greenberg
From the blogpost:
“Weep with those who weep,” St. Paul said, and indeed, sometimes as a chaplain that is almost all you can do. [...]

A theology that has everything figured out is not particularly helpful at such a time. My friend Jenny calls that “2 a.m. Theology” – and in fact, it was two in the morning – two a.m. theology cries in pain. It doesn’t have answers. Two a.m. theology just says, I don’t get it, but I’m here, and I believe you’re here, too, God. Even though I’m mad at you. Two a.m. theology believes God is crying, too.

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