Thursday, May 9, 2013

Cleveland, USA

"I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they all may be one, as you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us...  I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them."  John 17:20-21a, 26  NRSV

Jesus prayed.  For us.  Was it effective?  Was He praying for the girls in Cleveland?  Or not?  One?  What is that? 

Discussions of divine prayer always seem to end in human dilemmas and conundrums--because that's all we know. According to the best theology that two millennia of Christian tradition have produced, I am a human being "conceived and born in sin" and condemned equally by sins of commission and sins of omission.

The sovereign God who allows, tolerates, or permits sin and grievous evil would seem to be as equally implicated, then, as I am when called to account for my sins of omission. How can God come away clean while I am on the hook when, after all, the cards were stacked against me before I was ever born? Who was it again that was "conceived and born in sin?" Seems like God could end the whole sin issue rather quickly by simply making no more of us.

Thus we can drive ourselves in vortices by attempting logical, finite answers to infinite questions in turf that is not ours. In reply to my own musings above, maybe God's got another plan that makes no sense through our backward view of the lens. I think so.
So I like to ask questions I cannot answer, stack 'em up before God. I'm not alone. Rob Bell's stunning work in the video "Open" is about the best piece on prayer I've seen in my 6+ decades of life. Just because we can't get exhaustive answers, we have no excuse to stop asking better and harder questions--or to stop living.

Meanwhile, I can fret about what makes national news. Here locally, an equally tragic story leaked a few drops in the AM's paper. A man 33 was shot to death at 2:32 AM outside a nude bar. Argument over a woman...

The deceased had, in his short life, "fathered" five children, according to the paper. Had a bit part in their creation I would say. Fathering them, not so much, I'd bet. Who is fathering them now, and who ever will? While we puzzle over the senselessness of questions surrounding Cleveland, alarm bells are sounding in every community and neighborhood where we live.

Five children conceived and born in sin. Like me. Children. Like their father once was.

How many more? there's a question...

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