AN EMPTY BALLPOINT PEN
I’m tired of a God who won’t step in and deal with wickedness—won’t put a stop to it! I’m tired of a God who does all his crying through the tears of humanity! I’m weary of a God who’s always willing to forgive us our sins. Isn’t that sweet of him! If you believe some of those who profess to be his interpreters and followers he foreordained us to sin, for pity's sake.
Poor little humans! We only have one tiny life and for so many it’s one long crucifixion until they die of exhaustion, unmissed and unmourned . Dear God they haven’t time to become great sinners because they’re too busy covering their heads while they’re being beaten, too busy trying to figure out how they’re going to feed their children and so exhausted that their hearts can’t carry the crushing emotional burden; there’s so much pain, disappointment and unanswered prayers; so much undeserved suffering.
All right, so they’re all sinners but what chance was there that they could be otherwise? Here’s an actual case. His name’s John, he’s eighteen, he’s no vicious hoodlum and his mother is no “Beast of Buchenwald”. Yes, yes, they’ve done wrong things in their lives—did God expect them to be sinless?
Here’s their story told by John’s mother. Multiply it by a billion!
On January 25th, 1973 in Memorial Hospital, John Risso, red-haired, laughing, tall, eighteen, tractor-driving, cow-scratching, flirtatious, shy, died after two and a half years of leukemia. After six weeks of a raging temperature, experimental drugs, bleeding, and an abscess in his rectum that became gangrenous, he died soft and gentle, finally, after six hours of violent death throes. His face was so thin, his hair only a memory, a soft red fuzz, arms blue and green from shots and intravenous feeding, the looked like an old picture of a saint after his tortures were over...
Why would a kind God do what was done to John, or do such a thing to me? I’m poor, have only second-hand furniture and clothing. The things of value were my husband and sons...How can I live with the agony he suffered?
Part of the time he was in a comma, and he kept saying, ‘Mama, help me, Mama, help me.’ I couldn’t and it’s killing me. I whispered in his ear, ‘John, I love you so much.’ All of a sudden his arm came up stiffly and fell across my back, and very quietly he said, from some vast depth, ‘Me too.’ “
There are no currently satisfying answers to the agony of the world because it isn’t “answers” or “explanations” these people want though, despite the silly advice from silly OT professors for us to keep our mouths shut on the subject, the sufferers keep on asking “why?”
Paul’s message of the suffering of God in and as Jesus was scandalous and it hasn’t changed. To those who wanted vindicated, those who wanted a work of the Spirit to prove that God was on their side he offered a King without dignity, without acceptance, a “loser” streaked with spit and sweat and blood, hanging on a public gallows. To those who wanted the dignity of being seen to be wise, scholarly, academically well-heeled and esteemed he offered the wisdom of God embodied in a kid nailed to a stake.
I don’t know much; I’ve never been a scholar and it’s too late for me even if I had the ability to become one but I know I’m tired of scholarship with all its wisdom—a wisdom that can show a mass of opposing ways to understand the same texts. “Oh look, see what I can do with this section if I rearrange the textual pieces like Lego fragments—I can make all kinds of different shapes out of it.”
I’m tired of famous OT scholars teaching ethics and social action from the biblical witness they have no faith in; using it when it suits their agenda and sneering at it when it doesn’t; one moment telling us that the God of the Bible is concerned about justice and the next moment telling us that the God of the Bible is “obsessed” or “drunk” with punishing people. I’m tired of those who know this about them [or should!] oohing and aahing over such people. Okay, maybe they’re right, maybe they can out-talk us, they’ve out-read us; maybe we can’t, as they say, get beyond the biblical narrative that portrays God as a Jekkyl & Hyde but at least one would think there should be openness. I don’t say such people should be persecuted but there’s something profoundly out of straight when we listen to people thinking they believe in the Bible when in truth they believe what they believe independent of the Bible but use the Bible as a textbook because that's the book they’ve studied most of their lives!
I’m tired of the banal moralizing that I listen to week after week after week. Preachers who Google and armed with a database of a hundred and fifty favorite verses and their favorite topics they present them in something of different suit and yet, more often than not, with the same tired stories, platitudes and clips from the Andy Griffith show. I’d rather have the scandal.
Colin Morris, a prominent British churchman some years back told us that during the night a couple of hundred yards from his door people found a little man lying on the pavement– quite dead. An Asian. His sole possessions were the pair of shorts he wore, a pair of worn sandals and his shirt with an empty ballpoint pen in it. The autopsy found a ball of grass in his otherwise empty stomach.
My dear Mrs. Risso, my poor little Asian man I’ve nothing to tell you other than that there is a God and that he is like Jesus Christ and he will make all things right.
Meanwhile we have the brave speeches that demand churches to give females dignity and their right to be bishops and preachers, brave speeches that in the right circles are applauded long and often. “I have a dream! I have a dream that one day all the churches throughout the Western world will have female preachers and bishops exercising authority over the flocks as the males do today.”
Only God can save the Church from itself! Only God can work savingly through such a pathetic self-serving Community led by talkers like us who are drunk on our own wisdom and passion, who think we're courageous and free when the truth is we are dragged around as slaves by the newest fad that comes along or who take a truth [debated] and act like it is the central truth. Only a God like the God and Father of the Lord Jesus can bless a human family through such a Church shaped by talkers like us—sinfully shaped and with our unknown motivations—unknown even to us..
[I’m tired of hearing the sickening substitutes for the glorious Gospel and I'm tired of hearing my own voice and as soon as I get a few things cleared up I purpose to shut down this site.]