Holy Doubt, Batman

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Most of us think that the word amen means something along the lines of "let it be so," "it is so," or even "we believe it is so." While these are acceptable translations, certain scholars offer a translation that's much more helpful and perhaps even revolutionary. They have discovered that the word amen doesn't just mean "it is so" and also doesn't imply a steadfast belief that something is so. Rather, it actually means "I believe that it is true, even though I struggle to believe that it actually is the truth."

... It is never easy for me to officiate at funerals, no matter how many I have been called to, but one experience in particular has stayed with me. It was the funeral of a woman in her late forties who died after a valiant battle with cancer. Her two children were left parentless at the ages of sixteen and eighteen, as their father had died several years before. It was a terrible situation. The sanctuary overflowed with mourners. Unexpectedly, the woman's father signaled that he wanted to speak. He came to the microphone amid absolute silence. He stood there for many seconds, not saying a word. And then he yelled, as loud as he could, "Why? How dare you do this to me, God? Do you think that I carried my daughter through the Holocaust to die like this and leave two children?" There wasn't a dry eye in the room. He stayed silent for a few seconds, which felt like an eternity. Then one more time he bellowed, "WHY?" Again, silence. And then he said, "Praise be You God. Praise be You God."

Matthew Gewirtz - The Gift of Grief


  1. Pretty cool, huh, Word Dude?

  2. wow i am all tingly and a little teary....and speechless

  3. that's beautiful. it reminds me of something in six feet under season 1. nate talks of a funeral on a beach that he witnessed while traveling in europe. the woman were screaming and weeping and falling all over the coffin and ground. he said that seemed a much more genuine and healthy reaction to grief than trying to sterilize what you feel and put on a pretty yet grim face without ruining your mascara.

    it seems to me a very well thought and honest response.

  4. Lou - it kind of fits our experience, doesn't it?

    Seems like God fits our experience more than we've been taught s/he does :)

  5. We must stop crashing across each other like this, jONNO :)

    Beautiful, ain't it? Yes, like that scene with Nate, confronting though it would have been :)


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