The idols we create become burdens too heavy to bear. Scott Curry references Walter Brueggemann on Isaiah 46 to point out the caricatures we create for God become the idols in our heads that let us down when suffering comes.
Suffering comes. When we least expect it. At the most inopportune times. To us all.
Though he is working on his Ph.D. from the University of Durham, Scott comes to the subject of suffering out of his own personal experience. Like most pastors, he knew something did not seem right, did not feel right. Depression, the Black Dog, showed up unannounced but also with a family history.
Darlene showed up which is to say that God showed up. Any idols Scott may have once had could not bear up under the weight of the dark cloud. No, Darlene is not a god or a demi-god. Darlene is Scott’s wife. She showed up and through her the God about whom Scott had preached revealed himself faithful.
Job took on the form of more than just a text to study, a figure to interrogate. Harnessing the tools learned in Old Testament studies, Scott began to mine the story for what it reveals about God. Insights pressed him to consider the themes of suffering, anger and forgiveness as human experiences through which we may be relieved of our idol images hanging out in our heads. They take up real estate in our brains and lives unable to offer any way to see reality and how to keep punching despite the pain.
You will find our conversation personal and pastoral.
Scott and I have not seen each other for quite a long time. In fact, it may now be 22 years. Technology provided us the window to catch up. One of the mysteries of friendship is the ability to pick up where we left off. It is not that we have not talked over the phone, but that medium lacks.
And, when Scott pointed out that our pursuits to know exactly where Uz is, Job’s hometown, miss the point. That we do not know where to locate Uz, is, for Scott, a pointer that life is full of mysteries. Any attempt to wrap God up into a neat box is to mistake the revealed God for an idol.
More to Come
We could not possibly consider all that is offered in Job in one episode. We are making plans for a regular segment on the Pastor-Theologian from the Old Testament, Hebrew Scriptures. Look for this regular feature in the coming weeks.
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