“The world watches in horror as rebel extremists surge across Iraq. Videos graphically depict the daily violence in Syria. Closer to home, yet another gunman has razed innocent victims in a public place. Behind closed doors, domestic abuse abounds—incidents per year in the United States alone are estimated at over 960,000.
How can we possibly think that a God of love has created this violent, hatred-filled world? It is one of the hardest questions Christians face.
I did not expect to find an answer to this question when I first came across Andrew Elphinstone’s book Freedom, Suffering and Love. Elphinstone was an aristocratic clergyman trained at Eton and Oxford. Queen Elizabeth was a bridesmaid at his wedding. What could this entitled man have to say to about violence and injustice?
But it turns out that his essay on love and suffering—which combines insights from evolutionary biology, psychology, theology, and spirituality—speaks of the complexities of the human heart with incredible force while remaining almost entirely jargon free. Freedom, Suffering and Love was published posthumously from the author’s notes in 1976 and promptly forgotten.”
‘The Christian Century is a progressive, ecumenical magazine based in Chicago. Committed to thinking critically and living faithfully, the Century explores what it means to believe and live out the Christian faith in our time. Founded in 1884 as the Christian Oracle, the magazine took its current name at the turn of the 20th century. Notable contributors in the early decades included Jane Addams and Reinhold Niebuhr. In 1963, the Century was the first major periodical to publish the full text of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” ‘