The shock that precipitated this soul searching was his first born child being diagnosed with a condition called progeria. It causes a child to age quickly and they rarely live past fourteen years. This is a genuine tragedy and is not to be taken lightly or easily dismissed. It is clear that this would bring to mind questions about God and what he allows.
It is his pain that drives the book.
He is a rabbi with what seems to be a large congregation. When things went wrong he was just getting started but he already had people coming to him asking for answers. His son’s condition made it very hard for him to give pat cliches. He began to search and think but did not begin writing the book until after his son died at fourteen years of age.
First he tells you the level of writing to expect.
“This is not an abstract book about God and theology. It does not try to use big words or clever ways to rephrasing questions in an effort to convince us that our problems are not really problems, but the we only think they are. This is a personal book, written by someone who believes in God and in the goodness of the world, someone who has spent most of his life trying to help other people believe, and was compelled by a personal tragedy to rethink everything he had been taught about God and God’s ways.” page 1When I first read this I thought, “That is good. He wants to simplify some great thoughts and help people.” As I continued reading I began to realize that he was coming from some very dangerous, and hope strangling, positions. If you do not embrace Christianity, this series of posts may be more nonsense to you than usual. If you are part of liberal Christianity, you will wonder what my problem is. Feel free to come back when I find another soap box.
To be continued...
Kushner, Harold S. When Bad Things Happen to Good People. New York: Schocken Books, 1981.
homo unius libri