There is a difference between a theology of suffering and a spirituality of suffering. A theology of suffering asks ‘why?’, and then proceeds to fill in the answer on behalf of God. A spirituality of suffering asks ‘why?,’ and finds God in the long uncomfortable silence.
A Western faith that is primarily cerebral, focused on understanding God and answering why, can often lead to the false assumption that if we can just figure out God we can somehow have more control. Such a faith often blames God when we’ve lost control and certainty.
A spirituality of suffering, on the other hand, is a spirituality of loss, of letting go, of stripping away, of weakness. It is a spirituality that often has no words left to say. And in the face of all that is uncertain and unanswerable, she chooses to stay.
In the silence of Good Friday and Holy Saturday I will ….
- …not numb my mind, body, or soul, but I will stay present to the suffering and death that surround us.
- …strip away all the things I use to avoid encountering God in the long silence.
This blog series is my own journey to de-westernize the ways that Western values have distorted my spirituality. This series is not a criticism of Western spiritual traditions. See series Introduction: This is my Un-Forming for more info.