Joe's got a great little post over at Brooklyn and Beyond referencing Jon Stewart's words from the other night, addressed to God: "What part of God bless America don't you get?"
Joe's point was that part of what it means to be a Christian is an (endless?) quest for consistent language about how God works in the world. Specifically, if God's in charge of procuring my parking space (Hallelujah!), then how 'bout them hurricanes, eh? That's not to say there aren't a whole lot of inconsistent Christians out there. There are--otherwise, why make a point about the necessity of this quest, right?
Around here, snuggled deep in the comfy bosom of the Reformed Tradition, the response to these things always comes back to one thing: sovereignty. God's sovereignty. God's big, we're puny. God's powerful, we're weak. God knows, we don't. God Created, we are created. God does what God does, and if we don't get it (and don't like it), well, that's just to be expected, isn't it, 'cause God in his sovereignty didn't equip us with the necessaries to even begin to question him.
I don't know why this is satisfying to people. When I want to know about God and the hurricanes, I don't think about God's sovereignty. I think about God's goodness. And I think, some things about this world are obviously not good. I can see that. There's no doubt about that. If I can see that, so can God. And surely God can see it so much more clearly and painfully than I do. Some things about this world are not good.
So what? Well, I personally like to inform God, just in case God missed it, or really, just to reinforce what God has undoubtedly already surmised. Shit happens down here. And I like to point out to God that God is in a position of responsibility. Sometimes this is phrased elegantly in my discussions with God: "Creator of all, nothing exists except through you. Have compassion on your creatures" or sometimes it comes out more like, "you started it!!!"
It can degenerate from there. I'm not saying I'm a Martin Luther or that guy from The Apostle or anything, but, well, when a conversation is private and in your head you can feel rather uninhibited.
But I'm not afraid of it, of affirming God's goodness to God's face and demanding, why aren't you doing what you ought to be here? Why did you leave us with this mess? Why are things this way? Don't you love your creation anymore? Doesn't it make you sad to see it wrecked? Don't you want to make it right? What are you waiting around for? Haven't you made some promises you ought to be delivering on right about now?
I think, rather, that God wants us to get worked up and and good and pissed when we see this obvious discrepancy between the goodness of the Creator God we praise and the muck of the creation we live in. I think God is proud of us when we realize that goodness is goodness, and evil is evil, and when all we can see tells us that God is less than good, we should be pointing that out, not making peace with a vision of God who is less than the good God we used to believe in. I think God rejoices when we see this clearly, rejoices that despite everything we see around us, instead of capitulating to the evident evil in the world, we stubbornly continue to believe in a good God throught the very act of challenging God in all God's goodness to appear and prove it.
I imagine that, if I were a mommy with an extremely precocious toddler, that I would feel more proud than pissed if little Susie pointed out some obvious, gross injustice in my behavior and held me up to the very standard I'd taught her. Because good is good.