Christian Spirituality and Suffering

Why do we suffer? If we are suffering, are we falling short? Does God use suffer- ing? Can we draw closer to God through our suffering? What about the times when we are overwhelmed by suffering? Does God suffer with us? Although we typically think of suffering in terms of physical pain, suffering can take many forms, including emotional heartache, relational isolation, and spiritual alienation. Some believe that if we are suffering, we are failing in our Christian life. Yet, suffering is built into the very fabric of our faith through Christ’s suffer- ing on the Cross. Tim Keller says, “Suffering is actually at the heart of the Chris- tian story.” Christ’s suffering is redeemed in the resurrection. Is there a way that our suffering can be redeemed as well? In this class, we will read from Scripture– including Job, the Psalms, the Gospels, and Paul–as well as works by C.S. Lewis, Thomas Merton, Julian of Norwich, Teresa of Avila, John of the Cross and others as we seek to understand the role suffering plays in our lives.







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