Saturday, June 21, 2008

Jobs

No, not the work which I desperately need to be finding this summer, but Jobs as in Job of the Bible and G.O.B. of Arrested Development. I've been thinking about them.

I took a trip to Virginia last weekend, and at the church I went to, which was not mine, because it was in Virginia, the pastor talked about Job the book. So I've been reflecting on what I know of Job the book because the sermon was on the first twelve verses only.

Job is a terribly theatrical book, so it's interesting to me dramaturgically; not only is the text written in dialogue form, but the book also translates REALLY well to the stage in a Pulitzer-winning play called J.B. by Archibald MacLeish.

Back in the day, I used to turn everything into a philosophical statement, but reading Job this time, I'm doubting that Job really wants a rational answer. It's all well and good to propose the question, as I did the first time I really read Job, of "is God really loving and sovereign, or are we pawns in a cosmic game of chess to prove power?" but I think it's quite different to BE in the position that Job is in, to go through major suffering. For one thing, the idea that Satan is in control never occurs to anyone in the book of Job. For another, when calamity is real instead of hypothetical, I'm not sure the why is enough. We want comfort. We want love. And I think that's one thing that MacLeish really nailed in his play. Apparently he started out with a play that focused more on the rationalizations and philosophical arguments, but he ended up with something much, much, much more ambiguous in that sense because it was more artistically
fulfilling.

I don't have a lot to say about Job; there's a lot I don't know. I don't think it's a book that forbids us to question God, but I think it's a book that shows us that we can't always understand Him.

And with that, I have to think about G.O.B. I can't think about Job very long without thinking about G.O.B. because their names are homophones. I have that thing about homophones. G.O.B. is a jerk, but he's also lovable. And I think part of this is because he's so fallible and I empathize with that. And part of it is that sometimes he does something nice. And part of it is because he is really dumb. And part of it is because he admits to making huge mistakes.

Interjection: I hope the development of the Arrested Development movie never gets arrested (it's slated for release next year, but horrible things can happen, like THEY CANCELLED THIS SHOW). And doesn't suck. Because dang, that show had everyhing, down to the Hamlet references and the Andy Griffith Show references and the references to making references...

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Probably one of the reasons why no one argued Satan's responsibility is the ancient and modern notion of agency. Philosophically (morally) and legally, God acquires responsibility for Satan's actions as he authorized them. He is no passive observer. Put bluntly, this godfather authorized a hit on a faithful lieutenant. The fact that the hitman carried out the hit does not excuse the godfather for responsibility in the matter.

You might be interested in this online commentary "Putting God on Trial: The Biblical Book of Job" (http://www.bookofjob.org) as supplementary or background material for your study of the Book of Job. It is not a sin to question God, to demand answers from God. There is a time and a place for such things. It is written by a Canadian criminal defense lawyer, now a Crown prosecutor, and it explores the legal and moral dynamics of the Book of Job with particular emphasis on the distinction between causal responsibility and moral blameworthiness embedded in Job’s Oath of Innocence. It is highly praised by Job scholars (Clines, Janzen, Habel) and the Review of Biblical Literature, all of whose reviews are on the website. The author is an evangelical Christian, denominationally Anglican. He is also the Canadian Director for the Mortimer J. Adler Centre for the Study of the Great Ideas, a Chicago-based think tank.

wishmewell said...

like the guy in the $3,000 dollar suit would have anything insightful to comment on this post with,

Come on!