My recent studies in the book of Job with Richard Rohr has reminded me once again of the importance of otherness on the journey of faith. The first 37 chapters contain a roll-call of friends advising Job of his shortcomings and Job’s insistence that he has done nothing to deserve the ill that has befallen him. Woven throughout are questions of God asked by Job yet God remains silent. Until, that is, chapter 38 where Yahweh gives Job his answer.

Many confess to being upset or at least disappointed with this God who speaks from “a whirlwind” and does not really answer any of Job’s rightful questions. Missing in this response is an objective response to Job’s legitimate even painful questions. The modern world struggles with a hidden God desiring instead some objective response from God. One answer to this dilemma is to simply throw out all hope of any objective answers and be content as readers with an authoritarian God who owes us no answers. As true as that statement may be, it leaves me wanting more. Until I began to understand this truth: the opposite of subjectivity is not objectivity but otherness.

I know that sounds abstract and philosophical, but it is a crucial piece in appreciating what God is doing for Job in his narrative response. God makes no attempt to respond to each point by point concern because it will not really satisfy anyway. Every attempt to respond to feelings of resentment usually only deepens the resentment. People actually seem disappointed when a logical responses is given to their hurt and resentment. Why? Because logical answers don’t always satisfy our heart and soul.

God seems to be the great dodger of most human questions. More from me to follow. What say you?