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The God I Don't Understand Ch.1
by Christopher J.H. Wright

Categories Theology

This week we begin a new series on Koinonia, The God I Don't Understand. We'll be blogging through the book chapter by chapter with a new post appearing every Wednesday. For this series we thought we'd try something different: all of the posts will be written by Zondervan editorial and marketing staff. I encourage you to join us in conversation. We'll be watching the comments section closely and hope to share in valuable discussion around this book. 

As John Stott said "It is because Dr. Wright confronts biblical problems with a combination of honesty and humility," that The God I Don't Understand will stretch us to become more faithful, even amidst a broken world.

After the video introduction, our first post is from Sr. Acquisitions Editor, Katya Covrett who worked closely with Dr. Wright from the beginning stages of publication.

"I don’t know whether I am more upset with God or with the infuriating things some Christians say and do.

"Yes, I am upset at God, though that is too weak a word. I should admit it. Angry is not a wrong description for how I feel, nor a wrong way to feel in the presence of God and the knowledge of what happened. I don’t know any other way to express it, and I wonder if a lot of evangelical denial doesn’t surface at a time like this. I found it very hard on Sunday in church when the building resounded to ‘Songs of praises, songs of praises, I will ever give to thee.’ I could not sing, and had tears in my eyes, and wondered if, surely, I was not the only one to feel some dissonance between what we were singing and what we’d been watching on the news."

When I first read these words, my mind raced back to the way I felt as I watched TV reports of the aftermath of Rwandan genocide, the devastation left by a tsunami, a brother-in-law of a dear friend found dead on a snowy mountain in Oregon. I resonated with every word.

I grew up in Russia. My childhood and adolescence fell during the communist era but I was not yet acutely aware of the worldview I inherited from my atheist parents—does a fish really feel wet? Knowledge of God was absolutely irrelevant to the world I lived in, much less to my own life. Evil, hardship, and suffering were just a way of life, not much one could do about them. It was not until I became a Christian that the problem of evil came into sharp focus. If we believe in a good God, how do we reconcile his existence with all the pain and suffering we encounter in the world around us on a daily basis? Can we?

The words that so captured my mind were the first few lines of a reflection Chris Wright wrote just days following the horrific tsunami in Southeast Asia in 2004. As Chris later told me, he wrote it as much as a "cathartic exercise" as anything else to get the grief and anger out of his system. The reflection was originally only circulated to a few friends and family, but it eventually made into my hands. The minute I read it I knew we had a great and much needed book.

Eventually the book opened up to address a broader range of issues and set the problem of pain and suffering within the broader framework of problems and questions we have about God and the Bible. As you can see it became a rather personal book. All these are things Chris had something to say about, some of which he feels rather deeply about. But in my opinion it is not just what Chris said in this book that is significant, but the way he said it. It is refreshing to see a scholar approach this subject with such humility.

This was how The God I Don’t Understand began for me.

Katya Covrett

Multisensory Preaching and Teaching: 1
Introducing the Controversy by Rick Blackwood
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Introducing the Controversy by Rick Blackwood
    Rick Blackwood is the pastor of Christ Fellowship Church in Miami Florida, a multicultural congregation...
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