In the biblical story, God tests his faithful servant Job to see whether Job will stay devoted to God even if God takes everything away from him. Now you don’t lose your family, health and possessions, as Job did, without falling into a terrible funk. It’s possible, then, to understand Job’s story as being about remaining true to God through a devastating depression.
Dear Derek: It’s awfully quiet around the house now that you’re gone. In fact, hardly a day goes by that Mom and I don’t remark on it. I suppose we’ll gradually get more accustomed to it, of course, but I’m not sure we’ll ever really like it.
What is a healthy congregation? For some clergy and laity, health is simply the absence of conflict. But we may be confusing a healthy congregation with a placid one. While conflict is seldom fun, its absence may be less an indication of health than of an insufficient sense of urgency or challenge about being the church.
In a provocative and erudite essay, Merold Westphal argues that postmodern philosophy contributes to a Christian understanding of the implications of finitude and original sin with respect to knowledge (Blind spots: Christianity and postmodern philosophy, June 14).