There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; And he was essentially a blameless dude, and unarrogant, And he was blessed with seven sons, and three daughters, Which is a lot of children, and where, I ask politely, is the Part of the Book of Job where we talk about Job’s spouse, Who is conspicuously not discussed in the back and forth With his buddies and then suddenly the Big Guy Himself Answering out of the whirlwind and commanding old Job To gird up his loins, which loins were undeniably vigorous Previous to the Lord interrupting Job, and after the Maker Finishes one of the greatest eloquent scoldings of all time, He grants old Job another seven sons and three daughters, Again without the slightest thanks for the astounding Mrs. Job who suddenly has twenty count them twenty children With no mention of her humor, or the vast hills of diapers, Or her wit which survived kids throwing up and the sheep Wandering off, and plagues of locusts and things like that. A good editor, I feel, would have asked for just a glancing Nod to the wry hero of the tale, at least acknowledgment; Something like a new last line after So Job died, being old and full of days, which might read, And also passed a most Amazing woman, of whom nothing other than the blessing Was ever said, her heart being a gift beyond calculation by Man, her mind sharp, her tongue gentle, her hands a mercy, And her very presence full reason to kneel in prayer at that Which the Lord in His mercy has made and granted briefly. A line like that would only hint at her, but it’s a start, right?
On a recent afternoon, I skimmed from page to page in the newspaper, glancing at headlines about environmental deregulation, an increase in the state murder rate, schools that aren’t educating their students, massacres in Syria and other grim realities. My reaction? I’m embarrassed to confess: “Not my problem, not my problem, not my problem, and not my problem.” Then I turned to the sports section.
It’s been almost 20 years, but I can still recall the uneasy flutter in my gut as the sun went down and my first night as on-call chaplain began. A chaplain who was on her way home, and familiar with the look of panic that identifies a rookie, patted me on the shoulder. “You’ll be fine,” she said.
People often assume—wrongly—that the Bible presents a single view of God and the world. In Understanding Wisdom Literature, David Penchansky shows how the Hebrew Bible’s wisdom books, Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes, speak differently from covenant-centered writings such as Genesis, Deuteronomy and Isaiah.
When you think of Jesus’ disciples, who comes to mind? Impulsive Peter and doubting Thomas? Surely. James and John, the Zebedee boys? Of course. Mary Magdalene and some of the other women mentioned in Luke 8:1-3? Yes, if we remember that Luke’s list of Jesus’ followers was much larger and more inclusive that just “the twelve.” But blind Bartimaeus? Hardly.