Sunday, July 05, 2009

the soft God- a reading of Jonah ?

This morning, we listened to Jerome Prince speaking on Jonah 3. He is a Bibleschool student and shared some interesting thoughts on this particular, sometimes controversial story. We then celebrated the holy Communion.

Jerome didn't go into the question whether there was an actual 'big fish' or whether the story happened. For him, that was not the issue. I suppose those questions might be of interest to academic theologians and the like, people who have the luxary of arguing about these. For Jerome, being born and bred Riverlea, the story was all about God. This is a story about a God, who calls reluctant and unasuming Jonah's, a terrifying God, who scares hardened seafairers, yet, also the God, who's heart softens- a God who, in love, are willing even to change his mind.

I often listened to Biblical schiolars the last few weeks, and, with Gerald West, at the Ujamaa centre in Kwazulu-Natal, also wondered about how we read in interpret the Bible, depending on where we come from. West and possibly Dube, Phiri and Nadar, would suggest that the Bible text itself, creates a picture of a fearsome, conquering God, hard and willing to kill, destroy people, who do not listen to him. They try to uncover, in their readings of the Bible, the softer side of God- in short: the soft God. I think Jerome straddled skillfully between the vengefull, judgemental God, who haunts the reluctant prophet, and the compassionate, softer God, whose mind change when people earnestly search for compassion. This is God, that does not go well with the prophets, who claim to know him, yet it's the God, who hears and sees the cries, even those who does not deserve Him.

Thanks for the reflections Jerome !

No comments: