Wednesday, July 08, 2009

It's just good...



"Laughing With" Lyrics:

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one's laughing at God when they're starving or freezing or so very poor

No one laughs at God when the doctor calls after some routine tests
No one's laughing at God when it's gotten real late and their kid's not back from that party yet

No one laughs at God when their airplane starts to uncontrollably shake
No one's laughing at God when they see the one they love hand in hand with someone else and they hope that they're mistaken
No one laughs at God when the cops knock on their door and they say "We've got some bad new, sir,"
No one's laughing at God when there's a famine, fire or flood

But God can be funny
At a cocktail party while listening to a good God-themed joke or
Or when the crazies say he hates us and they get so red in the head you think that they're about to choke

God can be funny
When told he'll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie
Who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus

God can be so hilarious
Ha ha
Ha ha

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war
No one's laughing at God when they've lost all they got and they don't know what for

No one laughs at God on the day they realize that the last sight they'll ever see is a pair of hateful eyes
No one's laughing at God when they're saying their goodbyes

But God can be funny
At a cocktail party while listening to a good God-themed joke or
Or when the crazies say he hates us and they get so red in the head you think that they're about to choke

God can be funny
When told he'll give you money if you just pray the right way
And when presented like a genie
Who does magic like Houdini
Or grants wishes like Jiminy Cricket and Santa Claus

God can be so hilarious

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war

No one laughs at God in a hospital
No one laughs at God in a war

No one's laughing at God in a hospital
No one's laughing at God in a war

No one's laughing at God when they're starving or freezing or so very poor

No one's laughing at God
No one's laughing at God
No one's laughing at God
We're all laughing with God

Laughing With by Regina Spektor from the album Far

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Stacey,

Dan Dennett, Professor of Philosophy, and Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University is a well known atheist and author of the book, Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon. A few years ago he was rushed to the hospital for heart surgery. Here's a link to the very secular article Dennett wrote where he thanks "goodness" rather than "god" for his recovery.

When I was a believer, I frequently struggled with my theology of suffering. Now that I've moved beyond my superstitious epistemological perspective, I no longer feel a need to reconcile the suffering I see in the world vis-a-vis a benevolent divine creator/redeemer.

You asked for thoughts--I thought I'd provide you with a slightly more humanistic perspective. As it turns out, there are atheists in fox holes and hospitals (contrary to the artist's opinion).

Take care,

Jeff

http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/dennett06/dennett06_index.html

Stacey Sparshu said...

Thanks for your thoughts, Jeff.

I guess I feel the need to apologize to you on behalf of the Church as a whole as it seems that whoever helped you form your theology of suffering missed out on some of the key pieces of who Jesus is and why He came.

At the very core of Jesus' message is suffering. The presence of suffering is very real as is the presence of sin. The two are intricately joined. Jesus sacrifice did not do away with suffering - at least not yet - as we're still living in a fallen world. It's the presence of His Kingdom come...already here and present in part but still to come in full at His return. Jesus walks the mess and hurt of suffering with us and promises a day when there will be no more tears. Until that day, he cries with us. And I know the questions. Isn't he strong enough to do away with suffering all together? Why allow it? I certainly believe that He could but I think there's more to the story. I think there's something utterly spiritual about suffering and heart ache. I believe there's something there that links us with Jesus' sacrifice in a very profound way. I believe there's more, so much more, than what I see going on and, because I trust God to see the bigger picture and call on Him when times are good, I have to trust Him when things aren't as well. He's the same God in both.

I don't write this to get into an argument or a theological debate. Frankly, that's not the point of this blog at all as it's really not who I am. I hope that you take my reply to your comments as they're intended, in sadness that the message of the Cross you seem to have been given seems, by your comments, to have come up short for you. It shouldn't have and I'm sorry.

Anonymous said...

Hi Stacey,

Thanks for your response.

I understand the Christian theistic worldview perspective well, having graduated with a Bachelors degree in theology and a two year Masters degree at Seminary. Reading your response reminded me of a phrase I often heard during my religious training, "we're living between the bookends--the 'already-not yet' kingdom."

There are numerous tensions within Christian theology. As a former hospital chaplain, I have to admit that there were numerous times when I felt out of place and ineffectual while working with an interdisciplinary health care team (people with training in the health sciences). I tried to be the "hands and feet of Jesus" and offer a "ministry of presence" to suffering patients. I often felt an ethical twinge when patients would ask for prayer for healing on their death bed. Was I doing more harm than good? Was I engendering a false hope? Was it morally wrong of me to ask god for healing in these instances when I knew full well that the patients were about to die? The book of James states that I should believe and not doubt otherwise I'll be like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed about by the wind (James 1:6) ...

Generally speaking, I don't think Christian people really give much thought to their theology of suffering. It's almost as though they believe that the "god is great ... all the time; all the time ... god is good" meme means that he will keep them safe, happy and healthy while providing for their needs and that no harm will befall them--ever. This is the erroneous belief system I was referring to in my original post--I don't believe there's a god who intervenes.

Since graduating from Seminary, I've studied psychology as a natural science at University. As I began to study evolutionary neuroscience, I realized that my previous religious training was an indoctrination--not an education. Darwinian evolution by natural selection provides what I believe to be a closer approximation to the correct answers and so I think science is our best shot at understanding the organized complexity we observe in the Universe.

Please don't feel sad for me. I've enjoyed the freedom that's come from letting go of god and embracing a naturalistic worldview perspective. Jesus was right. The truth did set me free.

Take care,

:)

Jeff

Stacey Sparshu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.