‘Many times we have to suffer very acutely until we finally quit being like a crustacean that sits in its hard shell and is always alone with its own self, caring for nothing going on around it. Isn’t there a special kind of religious hardshell? Some have never observed that God is always God for all others and that he is not nearly so interested in the life of our individual souls, as in the birth of a community in which individuals think about others and practice this concern continually in intercession and thanksgiving. God is incomparably interested in that’. So wrote Eduard Schweizer in a sermon on suffering, published in God’s Inescapable Nearness, a wee collection of sermons that I’ve been reading during a brief interlude between preparing lectures on different topics.
I’m about to start preparing some lectures on what is most certainly among the most difficult of theological subjects; namely, theodicy and suffering. So far, I’m considering pulling together some selected readings from a number of places, including the following:
- Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics III.3.
- Richard Bauckham, ‘“Only the Suffering God can help”: Divine Passibility in Modern Theology’.
- Nicolas Berdyaev, The Meaning of History.
- Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov.
- Kim Fabricius, Propositions on Christian Theology: A Pilgrim Walks the Plank.
- Edward Farley, Good and Evil: Interpreting a Human Condition.
- P.T. Forsyth, The Justification of God: Lectures for War-Time on a Christian Theodicy.
- David Bentley Hart, The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami?.
- ––––– ‘No Shadow of Turning: On Divine Impassibility’.
- ––––– Revolutionary Christianity and its alternatives.
- Kazoh Kitamori, Theology of the Pain of God.
- Alan E. Lewis, Between Cross and Resurrection: A Theology of Holy Saturday.
- C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.
- ––––– The Problem of Pain.
- John E. McKenna ‘God and The Nothingness’.
- Jürgen Moltmann, The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criticism of Christian Theology.
- ––––– Godless Theology.
- Kenneth Surin, ‘The Impassibility of God and the Problem of Evil’.
- Nicholas P. Wolterstorff, Lament for a Son.
So at this point I’m requesting some help: Where else might I be looking? What other resources (film, poetry, opera, etc) might be useful here to help pastors think faithfully about these difficult questions and to encourage some fruitful conversation?