Raging with Compassion
Pastoral Responses to the Problem of Evil
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In Raging with Compassion, Michael Ramsey prize-winning author John Swinton argues for a practical theodicy, one embodied in the life and practices of the Christian community.
This practicality does not seek to provide an explanation for the existence of evil, but rather presents ways in which evil and suffering can be resisted and transformed. This, he insists, will enable Christians to live faithfully with unanswered questions as they await God's redemption of the whole creation. Swinton explores essential practices of redemption - lament, forgiveness, thoughtfulness, hospitality, and friendship - drawing out their implications for the faithful resistance of evil.
Enhanced by case studies from current events and by Swinton's own experience as a pastor and mental health nurse, Raging with Compassion seeks to inspire fresh Christian responses and modes of practice in our broken, fallen world.
1. The Problem with the Problem of Evil: Pastoral Perspectives
2. The Problem with the Problem of Evil: From Philosophical to Practical Theodicy
3. Defining Evil
4. From Theodicy to Resistance: Developing the Practices of Redemption
5. Why Me, Lord . . . Why Me? The Practice of Lament as Resistance and Deliverance
6. Battling Monsters and Resurrecting Persons: Practicing Forgiveness in the Face of Radical Evil
7. Practicing Thoughtfulness: What Are People For?
8. Friendship, Strangeness, and Hospitable Communities
Conclusion: Practicing Faithfulness in the Face of Evil
"Thoughtful, heartfelt and deeply faithful..." -- Samuel Wells
"It takes a particular gift, persuasiveness, and credibility to challenge a paradigm so ingrained and so evaded by a generation of textbooks. Long experience as both a mental health nurse and a theologian has given John Swinton that credibility. The community of Christians, gathered around a suffering Lord, has unique resilience to respond to evil creatively. This hopeful book recovers a theodicy of action and faithfulness. It has immense pastoral value." -- Ian Torrance