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Is It Job’s Fault–Or God’s?

By Rev. Dr. Fritz Ritsch
October 14, 2012
St. Stephen Presbyterian Church
Fort Worth, TX

Job 23: 1-9, 16-17

In our Old Testament scripture for today, Job longs to find a place where he can present his case for a fair hearing before God.

If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling! I would state my case before him and fill my mouth with arguments. I would find out what he would answer me, and consider what he would say. Would he oppose me with great power? No, he would not press charges against me. There an upright man could present his case before him, and I would be delivered forever from my judge.

As Gerald Janzen points out, this is a “utopian” vision, for Job’s point is that such a place is “utopia”—a word that means “nowhere.” There’s no place where he could get that fair hearing where God would see the error of His godly ways in causing Job to suffer so, and would amend them. You see, here in essence is Job’s complaint: It’s not fair. The universe is not fair. The good people often suffer and the bad people often prosper. Suffering seems to happen without any direct connection to whether somebody deserves it. His complaint is that he thought that we live in a moral universe, and it turns out apparently we don’t.Read More »Is It Job’s Fault–Or God’s?

Tuesday Bible Study

On a recent Tuesday, a group of 15 students, ranging in age from their 20s to their 80s, were gathered around a table in St. Stephen’s Eastminster Room. They were comparing the Book of Job in the Bible to Archibald Macleish’s brilliant poem/play JB. How did Macleish’s post World War II rewrite of the biblical book that asks why God allows suffering give us insight into Job? How did they differ? The discussion was lively and insightful. At the table were a varied group–a faithful older lady who is a dedicated volunteer, a PCUSA missionary, a young man who teaches English at a high school, a middle-aged administrator on his lunch break, an older couple, one of whom is in a wheelchair, and a formerly homeless woman originally from the Bahamas. The energy is palpable.Read More »Tuesday Bible Study

Hildegard von Bingen, The Sybil of the Rhine

“Hildegard’s Song of Creation” was written by Richard Proulx and was commissioned by the St. Stephen congregation and friends of Mark Scott in tribute to him on April 1, 2000, the date of his 25th anniversary as Minister of Music and Organist.  Proulx, composer, organist and choir trainer from Chicago, put the magnificent text from the writings of Hildegard von Bingen into a daring and expressive piece of music.Read More »Hildegard von Bingen, The Sybil of the Rhine