Friday, September 24

Thesis Paper update

I administered a online survey for my thesis paper, through my facebook contacts. I know by doing so I'm excluding a number of non-facebook people but I figured that's okay.

I've been going through the results over the last couple days. I sent it out to about 140 people and I received 74 responses, which is about what I was hoping for.

I asked questions like:
  • Should Christians expect to suffer because of being a Christian?
  • Why do you think God allows suffering?
  • What has helped or not helped during times of suffering?
  • What kinds of suffering have you experienced?
Needless to say, it's been very interesting reading the responses. As I've mentioned before, in doing the research for this paper, I feel that my view of suffering has changed or developed in the process. Reading the answers, I see a lot of my former thinking and understand where they are coming from. What I think will be difficult is in how I choose to interpret the answers. I do think that some of the people have an incomplete view of suffering but just because I am studying this topic makes my view no more complete than they. Because the answers are all from people I know and love, I want to treat the results with care and respect.

Wisdom, wisdom, wisdom...boy, do I need it.

I'm sure I'll elaborate on this a bit more later one but I do find it amusing that about 8 of people included the statement that "God does not give us more than we can bear." This statement isn't Biblical and why wouldn't God give us more than we can is in those moments we will turn to Him and rely on Him for help. It is in those moments where His strength works through our weaknesses and ALL glory goes to Him. (I feel a soapbox coming on so I'll I said, I'll probably tackle this thought later on.)

At times throughout my research, I have felt that this topic is too big and too great for me. How does one study, understand, and present suffering? How can I endure story after story of unimaginable pain and persecution and who am I to be witness to their testimonies? But trod on I must, not just because the paper is required but because I want to know, I want to hear, and I want to understand.

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