Trials and Tribulations

If God is good, why does He allow us to suffer trials and tribulations?

This question ceased to be just an interesting intellectual puzzle for me after the tragic death of my son a few years ago.  In the aftermath of his death, a good friend recommended that I read a one of C.S. Lewis’ books.  C.S. Lewis, as you may know, was a well known Anglican layman and Christian apologist of the 20th century.  His most well known book on the problem of suffering was called “The Problem of Pain“, but my friend recommended another book, “A Grief Observed,” a very short work written in the month or two following his wife’s death from cancer.  It’s a very personal, poignant book, and its rawness cuts to the heart.  He shares many good insights in it, but one that riveted me was his discussion of suffering as a test:

“God has not been trying an experiment on my faith or love in order to find out their quality.  He knew it already.  It was I who didn’t…He always knew my temple was a house of cards.  His only way of making me realize the fact was to knock it down.”

As I was coming  face to face with my own inadequacy in the aftermath of my son’s death, I was learning, or rather, re-learning, some important truths:  He is big, I am small, and I am inadequate without His grace.

Suffering has the potential to reveal to me the truth about myself.  It has the power to clear away the pretenses and self-delusion that are only boulders in the road of Christian discipleship.  I cannot walk very far down the road with Jesus Christ, or even start down that road, without beginning to learn that truth.

 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Cor. 12:9a

 

 

 

Breaking the Fangs of the Wicked

I was a father to the needy;
I took up the case of the stranger.
I broke the fangs of the wicked
and snatched the victims from their teeth. Job 29:16-17

Four decades ago, some men on Guam suffered terrible sexual abuse at the hands of a powerful churchman.

For four decades,

the men thought that they were alone,
that nobody would ever believe them,
that nobody really cared.

Some churchmen knew, but feared for their own ministries,
and did nothing,
and said nothing,
or perhaps were ignored.

Most of the men moved away.
Most of the men became strangers to us.

But for four decades,

the Church was silent,
the Church hid the problem,
the Church swept the problem under the rug,
“for the good of the faithful,”
“to prevent scandal”.

But this year,

three of these men and one mother, survivors all,
at great personal risk, and with great trepidation, shared their stories publicly with us.

In response,

the Church called the men and the mother “liars”,
the Church said that they were spreading “malicious and calumnious accusations”,
the Church threatened canonical action, and
the Church threatened to sue.

So this year..

Rome sent another powerful churchman to “fix the problem”,
and this powerful churchman arrived on Guam.

But…

this powerful churchman has ignored the men and the mother.
This powerful churchman has not shown that he cares.
This powerful churchman seems intent to hush everything up…
for the sake of “unity”.
This powerful churchman says, “You are either in or you are out.”

Therefore,

it’s time for the faithful…
who are sick of the corruption that reaches even to Rome,
who are sick of the coverups,
who are sick of the secrets,
who are sick of the excuses,

who know that unity requires justice, and that
justice requires truth,

it’s time for us, sinners though we be…

to take up the case of the stranger,
to break the fangs of the wicked, and
to snatch the victims from their teeth.

 

Former Guam resident accuses archbishop of raping him

Walter Denton, a former resident of Agat, Guam, and a former altar boy for Archbishop Anthony Apuron, has accused the Archbishop of raping him when he was 8 years old.

Part I

Part II (the testimony of his wife)