Another View

Recently on a trip to Wales, chasing my ancestors, I encountered something unexpected on top of a medieval castle.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://spectrummagazine.org/article/2017/10/20/another-view
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Greg, beautifully said. These moments come to us unbidden, but are certainly welcomed if we are open to them. I remember you from PUC; I think you were several years ahead of me. You gave a talk in the Sabbath School for Prep that met in the Newton Hall Chapel. I enjoyed the talk and admired you.

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Greg, words well written. Thank you for your thoughts. You were appreciated many years ago at PUC and I am again rewarded by your thoughts and experiences. Well done, my friend. As Paul said so many years again. “We are in this struggle together.” Phillippians 1:30

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Been coming to Spectrum for some time now but never created an account. But I was sooo moved by this article that I needed to reply. First of all the writing is beyond beautiful! The way you string your words together and the freshness of your ideas is remarkable. I wanted more, didn’t want it to end. And the message spoke to my own struggles with faith. I do believe. I know He’s real, and gracious, and merciful. But yes, the suffering, then and now raises questions. Thanks so much for Another View and do keep writing!

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Enjoyed your piece Greg!

I love those castles in Wales, but my very favorites are the plethora of splendid castles, built by the French aristocracy in the Loire Valley.

I also am fortunate to own a home near the oldest medieval castle in France, Roquebrune , still largely intacct even though one thousand years old!

I loved these old castles, until I eavesdropped on a tourist guide telling her group in CHENONCEAU ( my favorite Loire Valley Castle ) that living in those buildings was miserable!

The high ceilings made the big fire places inefficient for warming, the dampness required tapestries on the walls, not so much for decoration, but for insulation,

These buildings were infested with rodents and other vermin. Even the king’s bed was full of fleas and bed bugs.

She reiterated that aven lower Income modern families with hot running water and flush toilets, lived better than those aristocracrats who had to rely on chamber pots and metal buckets for their toiletries.

MY TAKE: If the aristocracy lived in such miserable conditions, despite their sumptuous castles, what was the fate of the peasants ??

MY TAKE. : The bulk of humanity over many millennia has lived in intolerable unsanitary, unsavory, unhealthy MISERY.

MY TAKE. MISERY continues to haunt refugees, hurricane/earthquake victims and huge swaths of humanity in third world countries.

That God would tolerste such misery over multiple millennia, raises questions for me about his true concern for humanity.

He almost exults in the misery of humankind

Otherwise, His Second Coming would have occurred centuries ago to abort such intense suffering!

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robin,
i have shared your views on God and suffering and have come to the same conclusions. but since there is no answer that satisfies, i have had to move in a different direction. suffering challenges His very existence and i understand the atheist without condemnation. my castle experience and the thoughts that ensued led me to the ‘weak God’ idea. it is the only possible answer for the whacky reality - and narrative - of a loving God who for mellenia allows gratuitious suffering. He can’t be separate from it, He therefore must be immersed in it sharing in the very anguish and torment He allows. His fingerprints are all over suffering. it is obvious He does nothing about misery apart from our involvement. Suffering takes God to the mat. i now question everything about the christian story, after all, we believe a hand-me-down story (religion), from paul, to augustine, to luther, calvin, ellen, and so on. if they can come to their conclusions under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, so can i, and i do. God challenges me to think, gave me the freedom to do so, therefore He can’t be upset if i arrive at ideas and understandings that question the staus quo and His claim of compassion and goodness. that said, i cannot give up on Him either. my experience on the castle parapet is one reason why.

btw, i just read about hygiene in the middle ages. had my skin crawling. yuck! robin, i wish you well in your journey and thank you for your response. greg

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barry, thank you for your kind words and for taking the time to respond. are you related to a bonnie casey? i remember her singing in a trio - whose name i have forgotten. steve wallace was also in the trio. anyway it was back in the day when we roamed those sacred grounds of PUC. hope this finds you thriving and fulfilled. thanks again for your post. greg

eudora,
your words were gracious and encouraging. thank you. perhaps the richness of believing is the struggle to believe.

blessings,
greg

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I, 45 years ago, while traversing the valley of skepticism, became aware that there are no good answers to my existential questions. And that I could formulate them endlessly. And I would have to live and die without knowing, a conclusion replacing depression with a peaceful resignation. God as Whimp, a myth, as expressed so poetically by Gregg, is the process of filling in the blank places of life because there are no relevant facts that work. Individual rumination is all there is.

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more… uncountable others share our frustrations. i sometimes wonder how God can judge us when he’s so invisible, so mysterious, behaves like a jihadi in the OT, appears on the lam, brags we will never understand Him (Isa. 55), and then threatens sinners who quit the faith or conclude He does not exist. Faith is tested almost beyond belief. Jesus even saves God. His mercy is our hope.