Stanley Hauerwas’s book is about learning how to die and training how to be human. Broadly speaking, it is a book about time and purpose—or, better said, the purpose of time.
We know what stories do. The words bind us into a larger narrative. They give us an emotional and historical connection. They allow us to transfer important values. But they also allow us to build an intergenerational self.
There is no denying that in today’s world a culture of loneliness and isolation plagues individuals of every age, race and socioeconomic status. Although the church provides a sacred community that may help combat this loneliness, even the most devout believers have, at one time or another, questioned how or even if God is present in their suffering.
It takes a lifetime, as well as a remarkable life, to write a book like Eleonore Stump's Wandering in Darkness.
As pastors, we spend a great deal of time sharing in the ongoing lives and adventures of our congregants and community members. We are also called, literally, to come to love and suffer with them when disappointments, disasters or deaths occur.
We Christians believe that we have a moral obligation to point to the pain that the rest of the world can’t see. Others may stroll past the suffering, but we stop and stare, take up an offering, make an appeal and collect blankets, sighing as we do our bit to alleviate some of the misery. That life may not actually be rotten in our part of the world today only increases our guilt for our occasional lapses into joy. How dare we sing when others are sufffering?