‘God of Our Silent Tears’

Where Does Suffering Come From? What Kind of God Would Permit Innocent Suffering? What Good Is God When We Suffer?

God of Our Silent Tears

“God of Our Silent Tears.” Dan Edwards. Los Angeles: Cathedral Center Press, 2013. 200 pp.

“God of Our Silent Tears” (Cathedral Center Press, 2013) by Dan Edwards is a spiritual and theological exploration of God’s response to suffering and injustice. It begins with the anguished question of the afflicted: “Why?”

Edwards, bishop of the Diocese of Nevada, explores various theological answers to that question – why? – that attempt to find meaning in our sorrows, finding each of them to have some truth and value but none of them to be adequate because, in truth, God is against suffering and injustice.

How then does God respond to our hardships? How are we redeemed from them? The answer is found in a radical old understanding of who God is. The author turns to the doctrine of the Trinity to show that God’s very nature promises that in eternity “All shall be well.” That is the ground of our ultimate hope. But in this transitory life, all is decidedly not well. So what will God do for us now?

Again the Trinitarian image of God offers hope in three distinct forms: Serenity, Compassion, and Power. God acts now, albeit not always in complete ways as God’s actions are a foretaste of the glory yet to come. Citing ancient spiritual teachings, the wisdom of contemporary theologians and philosophers ranging from liberationists to Eastern orthodox thinkers, and the insights of poets and playwrights, the author shows how God acts.

The surprise is that God’s response to suffering and injustice turns out to be the perfect model for how we can best deal with them, how we can best overcome our own hardships and bear the light of Christ to one another.

“God of Our Silent Tears” makes the deepest and wisest ideas of our great theologians accessible by taking them out of academic jargon to express them in plain English.

“God of Our Silent Tears” can be ordered here.

“A Trinitarian love story, inviting a profound exploration of life’s thorniest questions: what do we do with the evil, wretched, horrible, painful parts of life and our relationship to that suffering? Where does suffering come from, and why? Does God create or permit it, and what does that say about God and our relationship with God?

“Edwards deals with traditional and age-old explanations of these questions, finding limitations in some, and drawing us into a Trinitarian understanding that will bless and accompany suffering humanity. An excellent introduction to theology and theodicy, accessible to the general reader, this would be an excellent resource for adult education and all sorts of ministerial formation.” — The Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop and Primate, the Episcopal Church

“At last, a book about suffering that that makes sense and is actually useful. With care and wisdom Edwards reaches into the lengthy stream of biblical and Christian theology and finds pure gold — better than that, he finds God (at least to the degree that is possible).

“In the face of immeasurable suffering, much of modern day Christianity settles for either an all-powerful God whose will we cannot know but must simply trust, or a powerless God who weeps for us. Neither God delivers much solace or meaning. Edwards convincingly shows us that neither is found in credible Christian theology, either.

“Edwards takes us on a delightful expedition through biblical texts and the works of classical and contemporary theologians as he recovers an eminently sensible and accessible Trinitarian theology. He takes what has been a vexing and opaque question (how do we reconcile any idea of God with human suffering?) and draws us a picture that, once seen, seems obviously true. The result is a book that is so helpful and potentially transformative that it should be preached and read anywhere that has been heard the simple but heartbreaking question, ‘Why?’” — The Rev. Dudley C. Rose, associate dean, Harvard Divinity School

“‘God of Our Silent Tears’  is an introduction to theology …  for lay persons and clergy, ordinary folk and academics. … This is a book for everyone who has … wondered about … how God is with us in our suffering. It is a personal testimony that introduces us to the author’s pilgrimage in search of a connection between the … doctrine of the trinity and our striving to believe in a good God in a cruel world.” — The Rev. Dr. John Westerhoff, professor (retired) of Applied Theology, Duke Divinity School

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