Skip to main content

God's Goodness in the Face of Suffering

I have had A LOT OF FEELINGS lately, and have found it difficult to blog. I hope to slowly creep back into the blogging now that I've moved from Georgia to Kentucky.

I co-led morning prayer this morning at the Presbyterian Center. I offered a very brief reflection before asking others gathered there for their reflections.

Psalm 65

This psalm may have been used for thanksgiving celebrations during harvest times. We speak of God's mighty acts, of God's bounty, of God's unending goodness toward humanity.

All this goodness is difficult to comprehend when there is so much suffering in the world. God is good and generous and powerful, but still dictators murder those who disagree with them, soldiers shoot at children, families go hungry and homeless in one of the wealthiest countries in the world, religious minorities are driven out of their homes, and money buys elections. Still, the sun shines, we find beauty around every corner. "The hills are dressed in pure joy."

This psalm doesn't excuse or explain away suffering. This can be a reminder that stands up to the reality of suffering, and insists that creation is also joyful, people are also delivered from evil, that peace is the alternative to what we see around us. It is humanity that has decided peace is too hard, that human suffering and destruction of the earth are somehow acceptable, or inevitable. This psalm reminds us of God's desire for humanity and for the earth. It reminds us we are created to be more. It reminds us of the inevitability of God's love.


Popular posts from this blog

Racial Justice Resources, Chapter 4: History & Poetry

You may read previous chapters here. Chapter 1: Disclaimers, Baby Steps, Intersectionality, and Critical Race Theory Chapter 2: For Church Study, Feminist Work, & Theology Chapter 3: News Sources & Organizations, Whiteness & White Supremacy I love reading history. I love that history is not only definitive story, but also threads of narrative told from a variety of perspectives. Here's a brief selected bibliography. History A People’s History of the United States , by Howard Zinn A Larger Memory: A History of Our Diversity , With Voices, by Ronald Takaki Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong , by James W. Loewen Lies Across America: What Our Historic Sites Get Wrong , by James W. Loewen An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States (Revisioning American History) , by Roxane Dunbar-Ortiz Life Upon These Shores: Looking at African American History 1513-2008 , by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Martin & Malcolm &

Sex Happens. Even Among Christians.

It’s hard to figure out how to write a blog post on sexuality, when you work for the church. Here goes. Most humans are sexual beings. And in my experience, the church is mostly terrible at being honest about sex and sexuality. I did an informal social media poll of Christians, asking what messages they received from church growing up. Here are a few examples: “Nothing” “<crickets chirping>” “I was going to hell” (from a gay man) “Not to do it until you’re married” “That it was shameful… all of it” “Sex is bad – save it for the one you love”   “If I had relied on church teachings, instead of the streets/cars/books, I still wouldn’t understand where my children came from” “DIRTY BAD!” “Nothing, except sex waited until marriage!” “Evangelical youth group: No sex, no Disco (b/c it’s all about sex), sex is the DARK side, and: don’t talk abt it” Here’s a great characterization of this stream of responses. Plenty of respondents had other experien

The Rev. Charlene Han Powell

Welcome to the blog series celebrating the 2015 Asian Pacific American Hertiage Month, inspired by the "Our New Day Begun" series celebrating Black History Month by the Rev. Tawnya Denise Anderson. This month, you will read profiles of Asian Pacific American Presbyterian leaders, spanning many generations and ethnicities. Check back throughout May for more profiles! A look at other posts: Presbyterians Celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month The Rev. Phil Tom The Rev. Bruce Reyes-Chow The Rev. Yena Hwang The Rev. Joann Haejong Lee The Rev. Shawn Kang The Rev. Neal Presa The Rev. Jim Huang The Rev. Charlene Han Powell of New York, NY, is the Associate Pastor for Education and Engagement at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church . Are you a “cradle Presbyterian,” or did you come to the tradition later in life? Both.  I grew up going to a Korean church but would attend a “white” Presbyterian church as well. However, I didn’t truly come into my Pr