Suffering and the Courage of God: Exploring How Grace and Suffering Meet
Author: Robert Corin Morris
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As the recent tsunami disaster reveals, there is widespread discussion and disagreement about God's will and suffering---especially about what is traditionally called 'natural evil.' In most Christian teaching, God is transcendent, 'above' the suffering, 'beholding' it. God may sympathize, help, empower, and save, but God isn't trapped in the midst of it like the rest of us. For people with a belief in God, the onset of suffering often throws one into an acute sense of a chasm between the divine and the human.
According to Robert Morris, a pastor, spiritual director, and a chronic sufferer from depression, the biblical picture of God is radically different from this view. God's desire is to include us as participants in the divine life---to make us 'partakers of the divine nature' in all that that entails. At the heart of this invitation to participate in God's own life is God's gracious participation in our suffering.
This innovative approach to reconciling human suffering and the nature of God focuses on how to look beyond easy answers, toward God's own suffering, moving from the position of victim to victor. Morris' own experience of chronic depression is a thread throughout the book, describing how one can move from meaningless suffering to suffering in a redemptive, healing way.
An Episcopal priest, spiritual director, and retreat leader for over thirty years, Robert Corin Morris is a regular contributor to Weavings: A Journal of the Christian Spiritual Life, and the founder of Interweave, an ecumenical, interfaith community learning center for spirituality and wellness. As the director of Interweave, he leads courses, workshops, and retreats extensively in New Jersey and throughout the country. He has been active in Jewish-Christian and Buddhist-Christian dialog, and has led over a dozen study trips to Israel. Rev. Morris lives in South Orange, New Jersey, with his wife, Suzanne.
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