LETTER: Learning from others’ perspectives

Ponoka United Church pastor responds to questions from a reader about his recent column

Dear Editor,

I’d like to thank Timothy Nelson for his thoughtful letter in response to my religion column of Nov. 7. I appreciate his questions.

I share my thoughts on faith in the hope that, like me, others may wonder and question. Sometimes, though, a short column is space enough to only start a conversation.

We learn by hearing other perspectives, even provocative ones, thinking about them, relating them to our own. And that’s my reason for questioning “the devil.”

As Timothy says, we’ve had a concept of the devil for a very long time. Yes, we have, and I hope that it has changed and grown as we have. Like many images and stories in the bible, we tend to leave them as they are and explain the meaning in its original context. Then we try and make them relevant to today. But I don’t think that was the intention at the time. The point of an image or metaphor is that you understand it because it’s already meaningful to you. It doesn’t need explanation. Jesus, I think, was good at that. He taught with metaphors and parables that would be understood by those to whom he was speaking in those days. I think he might use different images today. One of the things he’d describe differently is evil.

Read More: LETTER – Free will, the devil and the absence of good

Read More: Pastoral Ponderings – Free will and what that means for mankind

Timothy also points out that “the devil made me do it” argument hasn’t worked since Adam and Eve. And yet, whether we use the expression or not, I’d argue that we do use the devil as a way of putting a face on evil so that we don’t have to look behind it. We might say that someone or something is evil and then simply respond to the evil rather than wonder why. What led to the choices that were made that resulted in this happening?

We might even say it about ourselves. It’s an outside force, then, acting on us. Instead, we should be wondering about why we made the choices we did.

I think we find it easy to blame a devil when we should be wondering why we didn’t act from goodness in the first place. As I’ve said before, I think we’re inherently good because we are created in the image of God. We also have freewill and can make choices, choices influenced by experience of the world around us. We struggle to do good sometimes.

Of course it’s ridiculously unrealistic to think that we can achieve the perfection of living only from the sense of good within us. That’s for the next life. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t encourage it and, as a pastor, that’s just my point. I’d like to be like Jesus when he says “don’t be afraid.” I’d rather encourage people to live out the good that’s already in them, encourage them to have hope and look for joy. Even the smallest acts of love, kindness and grace make a difference.

Robin King

Just Posted

Ponoka RCMP respond to intoxicated male in Golden Leisure Lodge

On May 15, 2019 the Ponoka RCMP responded to a complaint of… Continue reading

Town to sign five-year policing agreement with Ponoka Stampede

The Town of Ponoka will go ahead with a five-year renewable agreement… Continue reading

UPDATED: Ponoka RCMP arrest male on Canada wide warrant

UPDATE for Immediate Release: Collin James Courteoreille was wanted on a Canada… Continue reading

Town passes 2019 budgets and tax bylaw with 2.2 per cent increase

Ponoka town council passed a $25.5 million 2019 capital and operating budget… Continue reading

Alberta throne speech followed by bill to repeal provincial carbon tax

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already signalled that if Alberta removes the tax, it will impose its federal carbon levy

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Mayor says northern Alberta town still under threat from nearby wildfire

The blaze has now eaten its way through about 920 square kilometres of forest

Bashaw RCMP assist Stettler in arrest

Man out on bail sitting in custody after vehicle theft spree

Ottawa spending $24.5M to research health benefits, risks of pot use

$390,000 will fund two cannabis public awareness

Crackdown on money laundering does not include federal public inquiry: minister

An independent report commissioned concluded $7.4 billion was laundered in B.C. last year

Trudeau’s action plan on climate change brings B.C. politician out of retirement

Terry Lake, a former B.C. health minister, is running for federal office in Kamloops-Thompson-Cariboo

Survey finds minimal progress in Canadian military’s fight against sexual misconduct

1.6 per cent of regular-force members — 900 military personnel — reported having been victims of sexual assaults over past year

Most Read