Monday, December 7, 2009
This could be a long post but I'll try to keep it short. I haven't been able to bring myself to read too much about the Murphy report. The report in a nutshell exposed the extreme lack on the part of the Catholic Church to deal with reports of children being abused in the Dublin diocese. It concluded that the main priority in dealing with child abuse within the church was to maintain secrecy in order to protect the reputation of the church and it's assets and to avoid scandal.
One of the testimonies that came out of the report was of a lady recalling her experience of being abused as a 10 year old girl by a priest. During the abuse he told her to be a good girl as he was "doing God's will". It made me sick to my stomach and I'm sure it does yours. The thoughts of a man of influence representing Father God abusing a little girl in his name is repugnant.
However the thing that pains me and confuses me is that behind a lot of Christians theology is that what happened is in fact God's will. All the time I hear "God is in control', 'It's all part of his perfect plan' and so on. I wonder do people really realise what is loaded behind these statements? If God is truly fully in control, that means all things are attributed to him. That in turn means that somehow our loving heavenly Father thought it would be a good idea as part of his good and perfect plan to have a 10 year old girl abused. How can people reconcile this with a Father who is to be trusted and a Daddy who has the best for his kids?
Now I know many Godly men have brought forward great and compelling theological arguments for why God is truly in control and why they cannot conceive a world where anything happens that God does not decree. The problem for me is when this theology becomes practical. What does the Pastor who firmly believes God is in control say to a woman who was abused as a little girl when asked why did it happen? Of course they will probably say it was a horrible thing to happen and God is there to comfort you. If being honest they will have to say actually God was pleased according to his perfect will to ordain that you be abused for his greater glory.
I'm learning and could be wrong but I really cannot ever imagine my Father in heaven ordaining something so heinous and nauseating upon a child. This world is messed up, hence the call to pray that God's kingdom will come on earth as it is in heaven. I touched on that a couple of posts ago about the floods in Ireland. I could launch into a biblical defence of my thoughts but I'll save that for another time. It's the thoughts on our theology (we all have theology some of us just don't call it that, it's just our way of thinking about God) and how that influences how we live our lives and how we pastor and care for the broken around us and how we view our Father that I'm thinking about.
God the Father weeps with those kids and all of us who are suffering. He's not ordaining our suffering and then asking us to find comfort in him. He has given us and angels free will, therefore we suffer and in the midst of it he comforts us. He can and does bring good out of evil things, but he doesn't cause them. It's a scary thought to think that God is not controlling everything but it makes the beauty of his giving us, in his sovereignty, free will all the more beautiful knowing he wants a genuine love relationship with us. We're not just robots who he controls for his own pleasure.
God is good, is in love with us and can genuinely be trusted.