Where Was God?

Jamie,

I'm writing to tell you that I'm sorry for being an atheist, or being one in front of you, and for making smart ass remarks about "the old man." But to tell you the truth on the matter it's because where I was being hurt by my uncle, there was a picture of Christ on the wall and all I remember thinking "is this what this guy is all about?" And then people say that god is beside you all the time, but he won't help you unless you help yourself. Well sorry but that's bull----, because what the hell is an 8-year-old girl supposed to do to help herself where that's going on? So all I would have to ask the guy (since he was right beside me) is "Did you enjoy the ----ing show you phonie!!!!" (no offense).

But ever since then he's never really hit me as anything else besides another character in a Mother Goose storybook. I really hope this doesn't change our relationship, but now you can, or I hope you can understand why I feel the way I feel.

Love,

(letter edited for publication)

The anger is so intense, you can almost touch it.

In seminary we "wrestled" with the problem of evil. Human evil. Systemic evil. The apparent evil of natural disasters. Drawing lines between the horrors wrought by an earthquake and the tragedy of an air crash caused by a mechanical failure. Tracing human culpability for the famine in Ethiopia. I wrote one dandy paper on the failure of process theology to deal adequately with the problem of evil. All at arm's length, in the relative comfort of a "starving student's" life.

It's funny, in a way, that even though I already had worked for years with abused and neglected kids, their experience of evil rarely entered my college musings, at least not in any significant or sustained way.

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Sojourners Magazine July-August 1995
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