As far as I know I have only two followers on this blog. One is a devout Christian, the other a militant atheist, or at least that's the way it was last time we spoke.
Good Friday has always seemed to me to be the most difficult and the most necessary day in the Christian calendar. Without the events that we remember on this day, the rest is just froth and wishful thinking.
In my days of studying theology, there was a lot of reference to the idea of 'protest atheism'. How can there be an all powerful, all loving God when there is such excruciating suffering and such massive injustice on this planet? I must refuse to believe in such a God until there is a satisfactory answer to this question.
What I learnt at the time and still believe is that the only possible Christian response is to point to the cross of Christ. The Christian cannot and must not attempt to give a logical, reasoned answer to the question of suffering. Any answer which attempts to give a purpose to suffering becomes blasphemous: if God willed Auschwitz, Hiroshima etc. etc. then God must be a monster.
Good Friday tells us that the God in whom Christians believe, and in whom atheists refuse to believe, reveals himself not as all powerful, almighty, but in the midst of and on the receiving end of the worst evils the world and humans can throw at him.
This is more than just 'Jesus died for my sins', important as that is. This is an event which, if there is any truth in Christianity, tells us that God suffers, and that if God takes upon himself the sting of suffering and evil, then it becomes possible for humans and the earth to be free.
My all time fave singer Bruce Cockburn (google him) has a line that says 'those who know don't have the words to tell, and the ones with the words don't know so well'.
Well I'm running out of words here. Good Friday always makes me feel a little uneasy, serious, reflective........but it's what makes this Christianity stuff real to me.
So if you came to the blog wanting to know more about life in New Zealand, and found me going on about God, suffering and evil, and you haven't tuned out yet......
It's been a bright, sunny fun day! We are house sitting for my mate Andy in the town of Paraparaumu, some 20 odd miles up the coast from Wellington, and the real reason we are here is a daft black ex racing greyhound called Piper. She needed looking after while Andy & family are away in Australia, and I guess we specialise in daft greyhounds. She's been out hurtling along the beach, chasing other dogs large & small and generally getting excited in the Autumn sunshine.
Yep - Easter in the Autumn. Weird, if you're from the Northern Hemisphere. And the supermarkets have all been shut - but not the cafe that sold us the huge ice creams.....
By the way, another thing I learnt along the way is that atheists are much more interesting than agnostics. Anyone fancy a few beers and a debate about God?