20 October 2012

a job (Job) of questioning

In the book bearing his name, Job asks some angry, demanding questions of God.  And his friends are horrified.  After all, as they let him know, everyone knows that the righteous are rewarded and the wicked are punished.  They see themselves as the defenders of orthodoxy.  “So Job,” they say, “you must have done something wrong.  Why don’t you just repent?  All of this terrible stuff will go away!”

Job’s friends have to say that, because the way they look at God, and at life itself, is being challenged.  And they aren’t able, or willing, to question themselves.  If Job is the good, honest, even holy man they’ve known him to be, then something doesn’t compute.  Their worldview begins to collapse; it’s in a state of free fall. 

What about us?  What about our questions?  Have we been trained to not ask the anguished, soul-searching questions?  Have we been told to not admit it, when honestly, we doubt some stuff?  Has that defender of orthodoxy told us that to do so is wrong?

(The image is Job in Despair by Marc Chagall.)

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