Peter Gillies has been instigating, organizing and inspiring a Men’s Group – all men are most welcome from wherever you live in the chaplaincy (or beyond).
“In light of heaven, the worst suffering on earth, a life full of the most atrocious tortures on earth, will be seen to be no more serious than one night in an inconvenient hotel.”
– Mother Teresa
Whether or not you can support Mother Teresa’s somewhat flippant take on suffering, you cannot deny that evil, suffering, and pain are at the heart of some of the most intractable questions about our Christian faith.
That is why in our latest Men’s Evening (23 Jan.), we tackled evil and suffering head on as part of a broader theme exploring the issues that prevent others from coming to Christ. Luckily, the company provided by 15 fellow Christian men, outstanding wine, and the 3 ½ lasagnas kept any of us from experiencing any undue suffering of our own.
The subject is a complex one and aside from the personal insights and reasonings that swirled in the group, we concluded that: Pain and Suffering can be a part of growth in our faith; Evil, like Love, is a product of free will, and that there are no easy answers. Nevertheless, perhaps – it was mentioned – we are asking the wrong question. Perhaps the question is: Given that Pain, and Suffering, and Evil are such complex and unseachable problems, do we have a God Who is in control and Who can be trusted to deal with these issues in perfect justice? The answer is “Yes”; so, with the rough and tattered edges of life’s problems, we can trust Him.
That was our third gathering and attendance has grown steadily. Our next meeting will be on the 2nd of April at Bert Meeuwsen’s home in Amersfoort (Huize Metgensbleek, Ringweg Randenbroek 123, 3816 CE Amersfoort). There we will continue with the theme of how to bring others to Christ by answering a common objection: “How can you be so arrogant as to think that Christ is the only way?”
These get-togethers start around 18:00 with a drink and then an opening prayer at 18:30. After that we engage with our topic; sometimes this is a wine tasting (Miracle at Cana) or a general discussion and next time it will be in the form of a participative debate. Somewhere in the evening we then have dinner and then come back together for a wrap-up and a parting prayer around 10:00 or 10:30… at which time most of us hang around and continue the discussion!
Our next meeting will be insightful, informative, and – if it is anything like the last get-togethers – great fun! Any and all Christian Men are welcome, just let me know in advance if you are coming so we know how to arrange the catering; we would love to see you there.