In my latest article for the UU World magazine, “Suffering on Trial,” I explore how suffering plays a key role in the thought of three theologians—Rebecca Parker (sexual abuse as a child), Theodore Parker (the deaths of most of his loved ones), and Anthony Pinn (African-American slavery). Though each is influenced by suffering, each develops a distinct theology.
Click here to read the article. And let me know what you think!
My study of Nancy’s book CORPUS convinced me that we need a religion of the body. Between that study and Derrida’s response to it in ON TOUCHING, ample ideas for such a religion can be found. However, I do not yet even know where to draw the line between the difference of suffering and healing. I recall one expert noting that one similarity we, humans, have with dolphins is that we are willing to endure temporary suffering (going to the dentist, etc.) for the sake of eventual healing.
Rebecca Parker’s story illustrates the capacity for healing from even chronic pain. Theodore Parker’s story illustrates the unwisdom of theology based on presumed necessity. Anthony Pinn’s response illustrates some of the reason that contemporary thinkers refuse the consolations of Enlightenment humanism: to wit, ideas are no cure for the threat of pain. Is “we need each other” a theology of healing?
Home And Spirit said:
A courageous review of a hot topic! Three very distinct viewpoints as a result of suffering. For me personally, I see glimmers of truth in all three views. Yes, God is always there even in the midst of our suffering. I believe He suffers along with us. Yes, we will all see our loved ones in eternity…otherwise we would suffer still from missing them. And absolutely, we have to all help each other and rely on our inner strength to cope although I believe we are stronger and more capable when we have the strength of our faith and are in communion with God. Certainly there are more ways in which suffering is viewed and dealt with.