Monthly Archives: July 2009

A Book of Questions: Job

Here is the seventeenth in a series of Bible studies that present the Bible as being on the side of pacifism.  This essay, “A Book of Questions,” considers one of the most enigmatic books in the Bible, the Book of Job.

In the spirit of the book itself, the essay generally focuses more on asking questions of the book of Job, God, and theology than on giving answers. Is Job a hero and “God” the villain of this book? If so, what might the point be–and how might the book’s perspective be instructive for peace theology?

Is it possible that the book actually makes the case for a very positive view of humanity–not the “humans are only dust” traditional view? And that the book means to leave us with the conclusion that we have the calling to love justice and pursue it even when we can’t be clear about God’s involvement? Even when the world does not seem to operate according to the dictates of justice that often?

How do we sustain faith and practice justice in a chaotic universe?  The book of Job doesn’t answer this question–but perhaps it challenges us in ways that might help up as we struggle with it.

Israel’s Fall and Its Hope: Jeremiah and 2 Isaiah

Here is the sixteenth in a series of Bible studies that present the Bible as being on the side of pacifism. This essay, “Israel’s Fall and Its Hope,” looks at two of the voices of understanding and hope in Israel following the destruction wreaked on their political and religious worlds by the Babylonian Empire–the prophet Jeremiah and the prophet who words are contained in the book of Isaiah, chapters 40–66.

These two prophets reinforce the critique of Israel’s corrupt power politics, underscoring the dictum that those who live by the sword will also die by the sword–a dictum certainly applying to political entities. However, beyond the critique, these prophets offer words of hope–God’s mercy nonetheless endures.

Their message is that the God of Israel remains a God of healing love whose call to Israel to bless all the families of the earth remains in effect. However, as the story will emphasize as it continues beyond the destruction and exile, this promise will never again be centered around a nation state–but rather around countercultural faith communities whose hope rests on the word of God, not on weapons of war.