Happy New Year Gatherers!
We start 2022 with a wallop, looking into one of the Bible’s oldest (maybe the oldest) and most difficult books—the Book of Job. Nearly everybody knows a little bit about Job. He’s the good guy who loses everything for no good reason. (Actually, he’s the unwitting pawn in a macabre wager between God and God’s adversary.) The Book of Job, then, is often characterized an ancient take on When Bad Things Happen to Good People. That’s one way of looking at it, since Job suffers unbearable hardship yet remains unable to explain why. Presumed laws of cause-and-effect don’t seem to apply here, although his friends think they know better. (Spoiler alert: they don’t.)
Still, what’s the point, if this Bible book can’t offer any real solace or solution to our quandaries about loss and grief, pain and injustice? The great Latin American theologian Gustavo Gutiérrez has a very interesting take that will serve as the starting point for our two-month study of Job. He says the book’s driving theme is something he calls “disinterested religion”—a faith that isn’t tethered to fear of retribution or hope of reward, a belief that simply stands on its own as a right and just way to be.
It’s an intriguing and timely idea at time when so much of our lives is framed by WIIFM (What’s In It for Me?), especially religion that too often coerces people into conformity through threats and promises. What would it be like to live faithful and just lives with no expectation of divine reward and completely without fear of God’s wrath? It’s hard to imagine a more liberating idea! As we’ll see, it’s such a radical thought it challenges nearly everything we thought we knew about faith, God, life, and ourselves. (To get a head start, you should read Job chapters 1 and 2.)
Make sure you’re with us from the first discussion in Job. It’s going to be a thrilling time! We meet every Thursday evening at 7:30 CST via Zoom. Click the button below to access the study. I look forward to seeing everyone there!
Peace and blessings,
YOUR JOB MOMENTS
During our study of Job, we want to learn how closely his story reflects our own experiences. Each week we’ll ask a question and invite you to dash off a quick reply to Chris White, who’ll facilitate a group discussion about our own Job Moments. You don’t need to be eloquent or profound. Just a few sentences he can refer to as he leads the conversation. This week’s question is (drum roll):
Have you ever felt like a pawn in a cosmic game of good and evil?
What happened and what made you feel that way?
Email your replies to Chris White at firstname.lastname@example.org.