Temporary housing.

The mornings have grown fairly warm, but we all know the real summer heat has yet to arrive.

Last week, I rode with a small, dedicated team as they visited a few old friends, including one woman who has been fending for herself on the south side of town for at least a decade. She moves frequently, staying one step ahead of the next frustrated person or business ready to run her off.  She has no intention of coming inside, of seeking shelter.  She trusts no one who is part of the system.  But she looks forward to visits from the shelter outreach staff and appreciates their care.  While the professionals were preparing her meds, she and I chatted.  Her theology proved to be sound.

(photo taken in Duval County, FL)

“Why are there so many different kinds of churches, when there’s only one God?” she asked me.

“The problem is not with God but with people,” I told her.  “We like to disagree and argue about things.”

She seemed to take this in, to ponder it for a moment.  She took me by surprise when she shifted gears.

“There’s so much suffering,” she remarked.  “Why does God allow so much suffering in the world?”

Excellent question.  I told her that God doesn’t like suffering.  She searched my face as she nodded in agreement.  “God cares a great deal about your suffering,” I told her as she gazed into the distance.  She didn’t respond.

About Mother Beth Tjoflat

Episcopal priest, urban contemplative, playwright, lover of hounds, American of Chilean-Norwegian-Moravian descent. Interests include transformational ministry with the forgotten and marginalized; church planting and congregational development; 12-step spirituality; Hispanic ministry; radical hospitality, and spending time with dear friends.
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