September 25, 2013

Consequences of Our Choices

We often do, individually and corporately, tempt God or tempt fate, however one puts it. Then when the ax falls, we feel that God has let us down by not protecting us from the consequences of our behavior.
Philosophers and religious thinkers know that every system breaks down a bit when trying to account for evil and random suffering. There is nonetheless reason to consider how much cause and effect rather than a vengeful God are at the roots of some of our problems.
I am not making this up: I have sat at the bedside of a person who smoked heavily for more than thirty years and wept about his lung cancer, "Why did God do this to me?"  I have myself been a person who indulged in carbohydrates (especially Oreos) immoderately and wondered why I was "stricken" with adult-onset diabetes.
If we abuse our bodies, they will rebel. If we neglect our children, their personalities may well form in ways that disconcert us. If we do not work daily on prayer and spiritual practices, when crisis comes we may well perceive nothing but emptiness.  It isn't vengeance; it's the way things work.

- Bishop Paul Marshall, Messages in the Mall