The past week has been fruitful in any number of ways as I have engaged in a longish discussion on humility, how one approaches living, and understanding that living, as Christian in the fullest sense of the world. I've been around and through and over the repeated insistence that part of our humble approach toward this whole thing loosely called "being a Christian" is the reality of the openness of the future, an openness rooted in the Good News that is the heart of the Biblical witness.
It was my great good fortune to learn of a long-running blog by a doctoral candidate in theology at Edinburgh, Scotland. For those who may not quite get it, there is irony in the title, albeit, I think - in keeping with the blog writer's admiration for Barth and Moltmann (among others) - a dialectic of irony. In any event, as a way of introducing myself to what the blog offers readers, I checked out this series on theodicy, the bugaboo of theology. If all the things we say about God are understood correctly, the reality of evil becomes the great stumbling block, over which far too many folks trip on their way to hearing the Good News that God's Love and Grace, incarnate in Jesus Christ, has, in his death and resurrection, enacted the reconciliation between God and fallen creation.
Not to put too fine a point on it, the series on theodicy is among the best explorations of the topic I have read. Not least because it takes the matter head on. Evil is real. Death still holds sway. Whether it's the evil of children dying across the world from preventable diseases because pharmaceutical companies refuse to provide the drugs needed to prevent them at cost or even free, or the brutal reality of the husband who beats and belittles his wife and children - unlike the Love of God, who wears just one face, evil is constantly shifting, ever-changing, trying to stay one step ahead of the judgment upon it.
While not even trying to justify or "explain" evil in any way, Byron makes clear in this series that the only way to live in the midst of the on-going reality of evil and death, is in the faith and hope and with the love that flows through the cross and out the empty tomb. When I repeat what T. F. Torrance, the late great Scottish Reformed theologian said about the best theology - that it is thinking in Jesus Christ - this series is precisely what I mean.