We don’t deny the reality of suffering, on the one hand, nor the possibility of God, on the other. Again, this acknowledgment certainly doesn’t constitute an answer to the intellectual problem of pain. I believe there are answers on a certain level. But even the best answers are terribly unsatisfying, and they work better in a classroom than in a hospital room, beneath a pile of earthquake rubble, or at a crime scene. They provide only cold comfort to a person in agony, and often, as they solve one intellectual quandary, they create twenty-two more. As C. S. Lewis famously and wisely stated, the best answers don’t do as much good for a person in pain as a dose of courage does. So to pray on in the face of outrageous suffering, it seems to me, is at heart a choice of courage and hope, even if the prayers sound like blasphemies to observers. – Brian McLaren

I remember seeing John Piper speak in Biola University’s gym a decade ago. His passion moved me. His singularity of focus. As much as I’ve come to disagree with him as a theologian, I still respect the man for that.

Here are some of his thoughts on the recent earthquake in Japan, and a response from McLaren.


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