In his book, "Losing Susan: Brain Disease, the Priest's Wife, and the God Who Gives and Takes Away," Victor Lee Austin recalls how in the midst of all his suffering, he was able to find joy, in the everyday rituals of caring for his dying wife.
Along with that comes the invitation to slow down: to notice daily experiences as they form us, to be mindful of the Spirit’s work in our everyday life. Perhaps above all, we are challenged to learn to see the beauty of small moments.
Harari assumes a God-of-the-gaps approach to science and progress generally; he assumes that, because we now know how things like disease, weather, and war arise and function, we can no longer chalk these things up to God’s Will. Though this is a faulty assumption—just because we know about the biochemistry of sickle cell anemia doesn’t mean it cannot be part of God’s plan—it is not an uncommon one, especially in scientific humanism.
The stories of The Refugees do not follow one single thread, save this: leaving one world and entering another is not a zero-sum game. For the figures of Nyguen’s stories, travelling over the ocean does not mean that the past resides in family homes; the present is a constant act of integration, bricolage performed over and over again, carving out space for the past.
Can it be both? Must we choose between Vanhoozer’s faith as knowing and Bates’s faith as allegiance? In some respects, perhaps this tension (like many mysteries at the heart of Christianity) is better left unresolved.
When we feel most abandoned by God, perhaps that’s when Christ is trying to speak to us in a language not our own, in the voices of our neighbors.