Christian spirituality is both overwhelmingly communal and intensely personal. As you read slowly and carefully through this book, we encourage you to think deeply about the questions and ideas presented. Following are some questions for discussion in a group, personal reflection, or both.
Chapter 6 – Problems of Disregarding Creator and Creation
* Do you identify with Kevin’s story? Do you find it easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of evil in the world and doubt God’s goodness? Why do you suppose people have the tendency to banalize good in the face of evil?
* What do you think of the idea that evil is non-original and parasitic on an original good? In what ways are the cultural narratives about the nature of good and evil related to/distinct from this configuration?
* So far, the idea of both/and has been stressed, but with the problem of good and evil we must switch to an either/or. The either/or implies certain absolutes. How do you feel about that? What do you think that the counter-cultural action of “endorsing and enacting” the truth of the primacy of goodness might look like in your life?
* After reading Linda’s story, can you think of other ways ‘salvation alone’ might impact your spirituality and ways in which a creational grounding could transform it?
* In your experience, has the church encouraged or discouraged a dualism between the material world and the spiritual? Something of a sacred/secular divide? Can you think of circumstances in which you would want to either challenge or affirm the divide?
* What are some of the other ways to talk about the referents of spirituality? In your context, what are some of the primary referents proposed by the dominant worldview? How does a good creation with a good creator critique/affirm these?
Almighty God, who created us in your own image: Grant us grace fearlessly to contend against evil and to make no peace with oppression; and, that we may reverently use our freedom, help us to employ it in the maintenance of justice in our communities and among the nations, to the glory of your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
--The Book of Common Prayer
Suggested Map Reading:
For Further Study:
Evil and the Justice of God, N.T. Wright
Evil and the Cross, H. Blocher
Affliction, E. Schaeffer