In a former life as a marketing exec, I spent a chunk of time doing pro bono work for non-profits. That put me in touch with a lot of very rich people and clogged my calendar when gala season ran full throttle. Every other week found me suiting up for another long evening of silent auctions, fancy food, and congratulatory speeches about how the charity worked wonders for folks who couldn’t possibly afford to go to these events. I began to notice, other than the speakers, nobody talked much about the plight of the poor between sips of Champagne. Guests spent their time bragging about pricey vacations, kids in private schools, high-end purchases, and so on. (It really is like in the movies, only quieter.) Then there was always the uneasy moment when someone who’d been helped by the charity spoke. The audience would well up with tears, a standing ovation would follow, and the poor person would be invited to stay for a little bit—but not too long. So often I left these shindigs with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s quote in my ears: “The rich are different from you and me.”
The deeper we get into Job’s story, the easier it is to forget Job started out as a very rich man and much of what he goes through is a life of unlearning. Last week’s study pointed out how his buddies kept tossing theology at him, explaining his problem in theory, while he pushed back, saying, “That’s not how it works.” And while Job might have been a gala regular in his heyday, concrete experience has reordered his thinking. His struggle has forced him to regard the suffering of others in very real, concrete, lived-in ways.
This week’s discussion is all about one of the age-old questions of justice: How can a loving God allow suffering? But Job complicates the issue by moving us away from an objective understanding of grief and poverty into their actualities. Are there ways we can get closer to the suffering of others? Hopefully, we’ll end our time together with a few ideas about that. Join us at 7:30p CST via Zoom by clicking the link below.
I look forward to what you all will bring to the conversation!
Peace, with gratitude,