Do you find it hard or easy to discuss the big questions about God?Â Explain.
Kent writes that his search is for “honest faith.”Â Do you ever encounter in yourself or in others something that seems like less-than-honest faith?Â How would you define “honest faith”?
— From the Reading Group Guide for Kent Annan’s After Shock: Searching for Honest Faith When Your World Is Shaken (InterVarsity Press. 131 – 133).
I wasn’t intending to read After Shock (Kent Annan. IVP. 2011) through Lent, but the intensity of Kent’s wrestling with faith-life-work made it difficult for me to read long stretches of his short book (137 pages). As such I didn’t finish After Shock until recently.
But for that I am grateful.Â After Shock offers a powerful Lenten reflection, even including thoughts on Ash Wednesday, Footwashing, Communion (Last Supper), Peter’s denial, the crucifix vs. the cross, Easter.*
Some days I wondered if I should pick up Kent’s Psalm.Â In writing this post, I had a number of quotes which I desired to draw from
- how Kent tells the story of Enel surviving the collapse of his University classroom building
- interactions with the jubilant Haitian followers of Christ who survived while standing in the midst of destruction
- how he describes relief work by faith, hope
- his conclusion.
But the below section contrasting The Benefit-of-the-Doubt God and The Guilty-till-Proven-Innocent God struck me as most applicable to our campus setting:
Many people, when God’s goodness comes into question, think of God in one of two ways:
1. The Benefit-of-the-Doubt God
This is the God presumed by pop culture and promised, in its worst form, by the prosperity gospel. Professed by proof-texting and a secret belief in positive-only karma, this God wants wealth and goodness and happy endings. Essentially, God is the director of life’s romantic comedyâ€”inserting plot conflict to keep it interesting and to give characters opportunity for personal growth, but pulling strings so the ending is ultimately redemptive in this life.
When the plot goes really wrong, then it’s our fault, not God’s; we don’t believe enough or aren’t good enough. If we find we can’t blame ourselves, we console ourselves that it’s only a movie; the divine reality is yet to come. Hope and faith come at the cost of truth. [Read more…] about After Shock: Campus Questions