The Question of Suffering

and the Christian Response: Divine-Human Partnership

Public Survey/Display

What Can We Do About Evil? (and instructions and theology of evil)

How Much of an Atheist Are You? (and instructions)

Whose Justice? (instructions and talk on Christian Restorative Justice)


The Question of Suffering and the Christian Response: Divine-Human Partnership

Is There Meaning in Suffering? A Comparison of Karmic, Christian, and Atheist Views

Big Questions About God: Contrasting Early and Reformed Theologies

Where is God in Pain, Especially Mine? (and ppt)

Images of God in a Broken World (a sermon series)

Why God "Maximizes" Opportunities for Love and Faith, and Doesn't Minimize Suffering

Suffering and the Sovereignty of God's Word

Suffering Generally:  Three Types of Pain from the Story of Jacob (Genesis 25-35)

Suffering in Unique Cases:  The Unique Roles of Job, Israel, and Jesus

Suffering in Unique Cases:  Job's Suffering and God's Response (and ppt)

God's Participation in Our Suffering in Jesus:  The Emotions of God - Tears

God's Transformation of Our Suffering in Jesus

Our Participation in Jesus' Suffering

"How Long, O Lord?":  Why This Cry is More Accurate Than "Why Did You Allow This?"

The Theology of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings part 1 and part 2 and part 3 and part 4

To go behind the issue of suffering to the root problem of human evil, please see:

* Images of God in a Broken World 

* The Question of Evil and the Christian Response: Jesus' New Humanity  

* The Question of the Goodness of God and the Christian Response: The Trinity

* The Atonement: What Does Jesus' Death Mean About God's Character?


Personal and Practical: Embracing Jesus' Transformation of You

Lead a Global Poverty Impact group:  live simply, give generously, in community

* The eight week GPI curriculum

* The eight week leader's guide for Scriptures


Christian Resources

* David Bentley Hart, Tremors of Doubt, an online article

* David Bentley Hart, Tsunami and Theodicy, an online article

* David Bentley Hart, The Doors of the Sea: Where Was God in the Tsunami? (book)

* David Bentley Hart, Suffering and the Problem of Evil (video, Feb 25, 2010)

* David Bentley Hart, An End to All Endings (video, Sep 1, 2013)

* Thomas Weinandy, Does God Suffer? (First Things, Nov 2001) and my critique

* William Paul Young, The Shack (book)

* C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain (book)

* C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (book)

* Kent Annan, Aftershock: Searching for Honest Faith When Your World is Shaken (book)

* Eleonore Stump, Wandering in Darkness (book, 2013)

* Eleonore Stump, The Problem of Suffering (video, Jul 6, 2010)

* Centre for Public Christianity, Suffering and Evil (Centre for Public Christianity website)

* Susan Cooke Kittredge, We All Need Mending (NPR, Feb 3, 2008)

* Richard Shumack, The Mystery of Suffering: Christianity and Islam on Suffering (Centre for Public Christianity, Aug 28, 2010)

* Kim Phuc, The Long Road to Forgiveness (NPR, Jun 30, 2008)

* Dean Stroud, Don't Count Out Faith and Survival (LaCrosse Tribune, Jul 22, 2012)

* Jeffrey Wright, A Unique Teacher Imparts Real Life Lessons (youtube video, NY Times, Dec 28, 2012)

* Kevin Brown, Three Theologians on Theodicy: Irenaeus, Augustine, and Jurgen Moltmann (Diglotting blog, Mar 26, 2013) a helpful start

* Dorothy Greco, The Strange Goodness of Good Friday (Relevant Magazine, Mar 29, 2013)

* Rebecca Savastio, KKK Member Walks up to Black Musician in Bar-but Itís Not a Joke, and What Happens Next Will Astound You (Las Vegas Guardian Express, Nov 20, 2013)

* Kellie "Red", 11 Years Old, and Celebrating Therese's Birthday for the Very First Time (Patheos blog, Nov 24, 2013)

* Ken Walker, 'Worldís Ugliest Woman' Proves That Jesus Makes All Things Beautiful (Charisma News, Dec 31, 2013)

* What This Dying Man Has to Say About His Life Will Give You Incredible Hope (GodVine video, Jan 1, 2014)

* David Skeel, True Paradox: How Christianity Makes Sense of Our Complex World (book, 2014)

* Brandan Robertson, Jesus Isn't Going to Take My Zoloft (Patheos, Aug 12, 2014)

* Vinoth Ramachandra, Goodness in Evil Times (blog, Aug 23, 2014)

* N.T. Wright and Miroslav Volf, Theology of Joy (video, Sep 24, 2014), excellent reflections on suffering, emotions as well

* Barton Swaim, How Christianity Explains Suffering and Beauty (Wall Street Journal, Nov 21, 2014)

* Dargan Thompson, If God is in Control, Why Does Bad Stuff Keep Happening? N.T. Wright on the Good News (Relevant Magazine, Jan 20, 2015)

* Bob and Helga, ďIt Was the Will of GodĒ: Why this statement may not offer comfort in the face of suffering (God as Love blog, Jan 25, 2015)

* David Gelernter, Why Should a Jew Care Whether Christianity Lives or Dies? (First Things, Mar 24, 2015)

* Rabbi Evan Moffic, Where Was God in Nepal? (Huffington Post, Apr 27, 2015)

* Vinoth Ramachandra, God and Natural Disasters (blog, Apr 28, 2015)

* Annalaura Montgomery Chuang, Formed by War: Combat Wounds the Soul, but the Gospel Offers Hope (Christianity Today, May 26, 2015)

* Daniel Kang, The Trial of God (Harvard Ichthus, May 27, 2015)

* Cathleen Falsani, To Let It Go and So To Find a Way: U2, Alive With Grief and Grace (Religion Dispatch, Jun 3, 2015)

* Greg Boyd, Why Doesn't God Heal When We Ask? (ReKnew blog, Jul 15, 2015)

* Robert Barron, Stephen Colbert, JRR Tolkien, and the Providence of God (Word on Fire, Aug 25, 2015)

* Susan Donaldson James, Lizzie Velasquez: 'Ugliest woman' Video Changed My Life for the Better (Today, Aug 31, 2015)

* Fr. Richard Rohr, You Need a Big Storyline (blog, Oct 6, 2015)

* Mariel Klein, The Harvard Condition (Harvard Crimson, Oct 8, 2015)

* D.L. Mayfield, The Brutally Honest Christmas Card (D.L. Mayfield blog, Dec 9, 2015)

* John Jessup, Famous Gospel Artists Shares the Secret He Hid from the Church (CBN News, Feb 18, 2016)

* Michelle Boorstein, What Happens When the Military Chaplain is Shaken by War? (Washington Post, May 29, 2016)

* Jason Micheli, If Thereís a Reason for Everything, Thereís No Reason to Worship (Tamed Cynic, Jun 3, 2016)

* Rod Dreher, On Time: Arrival (The American Conservative, Nov 24, 2016)


-----Poetic Reflections on Suffering and Hope

* John Donne, Death Be Not Proud (~1610)

* Gerard Manley Hopkins, God's Grandeur (1985)

* Gerard Manley Hopkins, Carrion Comfort (1985)


-----Worship Songs for Suffering and Hope

* Marty Stuart, Colbert Croft and Joyce Croft, I Can't Even Walk (traditional)

* Philip Bailey, Safe in God's Love

* David J. Evans, Be Still for the Presence of the Lord (1986)

* Stephen Curtis Chapman, My Redeemer is Faithful and True (1989)

* Bill Bastone and Andy Crouch, Shelter (To Every Generation) (1992)

* Stephen Curtis Chapman, When You Are a Soldier (1992)

* Larry Hampton, Hail to the King (1995)

* Matt Redman, Blessed Be Your Name (2003)

* Christy Nockels, Knees to the Earth (2003)

* Hillsong United, Still (2004)

* Hillsong, At the Cross (2006)

* Donnie McClurkin, Great is Your Mercy (2006)

* Hillsong, Came to My Rescue (2008)

* Vance Perry's barbershop version of Sweet Hour of Prayer (2008)

* Sannon Wexelberg and Matthew Ward, You Are My Refuge (2008)

* Cece Winans's version of Great Is Thy Faithfulness (2008)

* Lauryn Hill and Cece Winans's version of His Eye is on the Sparrow

* Hillsong United, Healer (2009)

* Ruben Studdard's version of I Surrender All (2009)

* Christy Nockels, Grace Flows Down (2010)

* Cece Winans, Alone in Your Presence (2010)

* Cece Winans's version of His Strength is Perfect (2010)

* Israel Houghton's version of Because He Lives, Amazing Grace/My Chains Are Broken

* Israel Houghton, Your Presence is Heaven to Me (2011)

* Israel Houghton, Jesus at the Center of It All (2011)

* Gungor, You Make Beautiful Things (2011)

* Hillsong, Beneath the Waters (I Will Rise) (2012)

* Hilllsong United, Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) (2013)

* Matt Redman, I Need You Now (2013)

* Sam Robson's acapella version of I Need Thee O I Need Thee (2013)

* Sam Robson's acapella version of Love That Will Not Let Me Go (2013)


General Resources

-----Mental Health, Including Gender Dysmorphia

* Sex Change Regret (website)

* Cecilia Dhejne,, Long-Term Follow-Up of Transsexual Persons Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery: Cohort Study in Sweden (Plos, Feb 22, 2011)

* Walt Heyer, "Sex Change" Surgery: What Bruce Jenner, Diane Sawyer, and You Should Know (Witherspoon Institute, Apr 27, 2015)

* Paul McHugh, Transgenderism: A Pathogenic Meme (Witherspoon Institute, Jun 10, 2015)

* David Brooks, The Courage of Small Things (NY Times, Jul 7, 2015) about a Rwandan genocide survivor

* PBS, A Map of Gender-Diverse Cultures (PBS Independent Lens, Aug 11, 2015) cultures that have more than a male-female gender binary

* Warren Throckmorton, Information and Misinformation on Gender Dysphoria from Wallbuilders and the American College of Pediatricians (Patheos, May 28, 2016) and his comparison of the American College of Pediatricians (socially conservative) with the American Academy of Pediatrics

* Lawrence Mayer and Paul McHugh, Sexuality and Gender (The New Atlantis, Fall 2016) and critique by Zack Ford, The Truth About The Massive New Study That Has Captivated Anti-LGBT Groups (Think Progress, Aug 26, 2016)

* German Lopez, This Is the Biggest Survey of Transgender People Ever. It Contains a Lot of Bad News (Vox, Dec 8, 2016)

* Robin Marantz Henig, How Science Is Helping Us Understand Gender (National Geographic, Jan 2017)

* Drake Baer, Psychologists Think They Found the Purpose of Depression (NY Mag, Feb 9, 2017)

* Leslie P. Henderson, Check the Science: Being Trans Is Not a Choice (Ozy, Feb 25, 2017)


-----Specific to World War II and the Shoah

* Wikipedia, Individuals and Groups Assisting Jews During the Holocaust (Wikipedia)

* Wikipedia, Archbishop Damaskinos of Athens (Wikipedia article) whose actions and advocacy saved thousands of Jews during WW2

* Wikipedia, Council of Jews and Christians, a voluntary organization in Britain working against anti-Semitism

* Sir Nicholas Winton, Man Who Rescued Nearly 700 Holocaust Victims Finds Himself in an Audience Comprised Entirely by Those He Saved (BBC, 1988)

* Nicholson Baker, Why I'm a Pacifist: The Dangerous Myth of the Good War (Harper's Magazine, May 2011) Before we blame God for the Holocaust, we need to read this article.

* Brian Rosner, Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy - A Righteous Gentile vs. the Third Reich (Centre for Public Christianity, May 12, 2011)

* Michael Ignatieff, One Country Saved Its Jews. Were They Just Better People? The Surprising Truth about Denmark in the Holocaust (New Republic, Dec 14, 2013)

* Tim Townsend, Mission at Nuremburg: An Army Chaplain and the Trial of the Nazis (Religion and Politics, Apr 23, 2014)

* Madison Park, How the Philippines Saved 1,200 Jews During the Holocaust (CNN, Feb 3, 2015)

* Irene Archos, Mother Maria of Paris Says "Oxi!" to the Nazi Mass Murder Machine (Pravoslavie, Mar 11, 2015)

* David Gelernter, Why Should a Jew Care Whether Christianity Lives or Dies? (First Things, Mar 24, 2015)

* Andrew Higgins, WWII Hero Credits Luck and Chance in Foiling Hitlerís Nuclear Ambitions (NY Times, Nov 20, 2015)

* Robert D. McFadden, Nicholas Winton, Rescuer of 669 Children From Holocaust, Dies at 106 (NY Times, Jul 1, 2015)

* Catholic News Agency, Heroic Virtue of Ukrainian Bishop Who Sheltered Hundreds of Jews Recognized (CNA, Jul 17, 2015)

* Amanpour, Amazing Story of How Bulgaria's Jews Were Saved in WWII (CNN News, Jul 24, 2015) about King Boris III of Bulgaria (Wikipedia)

* John Sandinopoulos, The NO of Greek Clergy in 1940 (Mystagogy blog, Oct 28, 2015)

* Ishaan Tharoor, What Americans Thought of Jewish Refugees on the Eve of World War II (Washington Post, Nov 17, 2015)

* Daniel A. Gross, The U.S. Government Turned Away Thousands of Jewish Refugees, Fearing That They Were Nazi Spies (Smithsonian Magazine, Nov 18, 2015)

* Carol Kuruvilla, Japanese Schindler Who Saved 6,000 Lives During World War II Finally Gets a Movie (Huffington Post, Jan 19, 2016)

* David Swanson, Top 12 Reasons the Good War Was Bad: Hiroshima in Context (Washingtons blog, May 24, 2016)

* Newsner, Woman Hides Thousands of Children in Coffins - Then She's Arrested and Her Dark Secret Emerges (Newsner, Dec 17, 2016)



* Dr. Daniel Carr, Narrative, Pain, and Suffering (Mar 2005) on how the story you live in shapes how much pain you feel.  Summary:  Henry Knowles Beecher was an army doctor during World War II.  He made the striking finding that 75% of wounded soldiers would turn down morphine as a pain reliever.  At this earlier work in a clinic in Boston, people with bullet injuries always requested more morphine.  The intensity of the pain associated with being shot was lower in the battlefield than in civilian life.  What could explain that?  Are soldiers just tougher guys?  No; Beecherís very simple explanation:  Context.  The pain that you feel when youíre hit by a bullet, itís just as much about the story that comes with the bullet.  The soldier, if he gets shot and survives, thinks:  If I can be evacuated from here, I can recuperate at home, Iíll be given a medal of honor, theyíll honor me.  The civilian, if he gets shot and survives, wonders:  will I be able to work, will I be able to pay the doctor bills, how do I pay the rent, how will my family suffer?  To Dr. Beecher, the difference in the stories affects how much you feel pain.  The story you live in makes all the difference.

* Leon Weiseltier, His Grief, and Ours: Paul Ryan's Nasty Ideal of Self-Reliance (Aug 24, 2012), a political commentary but a very articulate comment on how beliefs are not destroyed or created by suffering; everyone should read the first four paragraphs

* Jeffrey Wright, A Unique Teacher Imparts Real Life Lessons (youtube video, NY Times, Dec 28, 2012)

* Mark Manson, The Most Important Question of Your Life (Mark Manson blog, Nov 6, 2013) is what pain are you willing to endure, to grow?

* James Wood, Why? The Fictions of Life and Death (The New Yorker, Dec 9, 2013) on why stories and especially the novel wrestles with death - removing the story as a literary form from its original theological context (Hebrew biblical narrative) only leaves a deeply unsettling, emotional question:  why?

* Leslie Jamison, Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain (VQR, Spring 2014)

* M. Molly Backes, My Cousin Is Not a Hero (Medium, Jul 25, 2014), a demonstration that personal crises can be interpreted cruelly, and hedonistically

* Eric Moskowitz, Long After Boston Bombing, Survivor Loses Leg (Boston Globe, Nov 11, 2014), a perspective on loss and moving forward

* Meghan Daum, I Nearly Died. So What? (NY Times, Nov 14, 2014), a demonstration that personal crises can be interpreted in many ways

* Meghan Daum, For One Essayist, "The Unspeakable" Isn't Off Limits (NPR, Nov 16, 2014), an interview about how death and dying meant nothing transcendent

* Rod Dreher, How Bibliotherapy Works (The American Conservative, Jan 21, 2015)

* Jenna Birch, The Groom Backed Out Days Before the Wedding. Here's How the Bride Turned Grief into a Celebration (Yahoo News, Apr 28, 2015)

* Nanea Hoffman, Remembering Me (Sweatpants and Coffee blog, date unknown) about a woman's recovery from childhood sexual abuse

* Jamilah Lemieux, Trying to Forgive the Black Church: Dylann Roof Canít Have My Mercy, But I Can Try to Make Peace With Black Christianity (The Nation, Jul 2, 2015)

* Wikipedia, Inside Out (Wikipedia article) about how coming to terms with sadness and suffering is important to personality

* Sherlock Pope, When Asked for Advice on How to Deal with Grief, This Old Man Gave the Most Incredible Reply (Matchup! Aug 12, 2015)

* Seth Stephens-Davidowitz, Googling for God (NY Times, Sep 19, 2015) interesting insights from phrases on web searches

* Emily James, I've Gone Back to Being a Child (Daily Mail UK, Dec 11, 2015)

* Carolyn Gregoire, The Surprising Benefit Of Going Through Hard Times (Huffington Post, Jan 6, 2016) psychologists study post-trauma growth

* Kayleigh Roberts, The Psychology of Victim-Blaming (The Atlantic, Oct 5, 2016) people want to believe the world is just, and bad things won't happen to them

* Antonia Blumberg, The Case For Incorporating Spiritual Care In Medicine (Huffington Post, Dec 8, 2016)

* Jon Mooallem, One Manís Quest to Change the Way We Die (NY Times, Jan 3, 2017)




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