Monday, August 17, 2009

On Loving God

I recently read Rabbi Harold Kushner's When Bad Things Happen to Good People and found it a heart-warming, while provocative, book on how to deal with the misery and sadness in the world and in our lives. I liked to share a short excerpt on loving God from the concluding chapter What Good, Then, is Religion?.
We do not love God because He is perfect. We do not love Him because He protects us from all the harm and keeps evil things from happening to us. We do not love Him because we are afraid of Him, or because He will hurt us if we turn our back on Him. We love Him because He is God, because He is the author of all the beauty and the order around us, the source of our strength and the hope and courage within us, and of other people's strength and hope and courage with which we are helped in our time of need. We love Him because He is the best part of ourselves and of the world. That is what it means to love. Love is not the admiration of perfection, but the acceptance of an imperfect person with all his imperfections, because loving and accepting him makes us better and stronger.


Don said...

At first, I didn't care for the quote. It seemed to me to denigrate God, calling God imperfect. Then, as I thought more about it, I see the connection between us and God. The panentheiestic idea that we are in God.Everything is in God. So, here we are, imperfect beings in the "ground of all being" accepting the imperfections of one another in this plane of existence and at the same time, "in" the completeness and perfection of God, our ground of all being.

Eruesso said...

This was my first Kushner book and I found it both challenging and illuminating. He tackles the issue of suffering in a broken world made by a (theistic) God. God, who failed to create a perfect world, fails to protect us from suffering. Kushner brings up the point that God is NOT the author of our suffering and can not wave His hand to stop it either (he does not override the laws of nature He put into place just to make things better for those who pray to Him). Kushner's God is instead on overflowing spring of hope, love, and strength in our darkest times. In a sense, God is imperfect because He does not (or can not) stop your personal suffering but God will sit and cry with you and comfort you.

It is a moving book that focuses more on a compassionate God regardless of the theology. I highly recommend it.

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