There are possibly no worse times to read a theologian such as Ephraim Radner than during a pandemic. Radner’s prose is simultaneously penetrating and demanding, bordering on the opaque at times, and for a parent working from home with two children, Radner offers no respite.
It is no secret that in many places the areas of science and technology are in high demand (or at least perceived by administrations as being so) and become the priorities for Christian universities. But, in the struggle to keep afloat and to offer new programs befitting an increasingly technocratic world, is there a place—even at Christian universities—for theology to be a topic of study for everyone? The opposition to executing this notion well are legion.
In teaching theology, one of my abiding concerns is not just that students gain a clearer understanding of the grammar of the Christian faith, but that they meet the manifold figures along the way who have shaped their thinking unbeknownst to them.
In On The Road with Saint Augustine, James K.A. Smith, through the works of Augustine, illustrates how that parable is the story of all of us. Every child of God, believer and nonbeliever, is longing to come home, tohave the Father throw his arms around us and kiss us.
This reminds me less of complaints I’ve heard from others, and leads me to think more of a confession that I need to make. It is this poetry, nearly 500 years old, which rings in my ears in a new way.
What The Shack lacks for in clarity, it makes up for in boldness. It deals head-on with the vexing questions of why a good God allows evil to exist and why people have to suffer.