It turns out Jesus and the Grasshopper might agree about work.
Idea: Worrying is trying to control the future (which is impossible).
Last time, I talked about a helpful technique for shutting down worry. But it works by shutting down imagination. And to do that, we need a really good reason.1
I used to think I worried–I imaginatively rehearsed distressing future situations–because I was “trying to be prepared.” Worry is practice, and the more practice, the better.
But I recently realized that what I’m really doing is trying to control the future. I worry over and over not for practice, but because I only feel in control of the future while I’m imagining it.
So why not worry? It’s an attempt to do the impossible. And that’s not a worthy use of imagination. (We’ll have to talk about worthy uses of the imagination later.)
Idea: The Bible has no solution to the Problem of Evil (and that’s a good thing).
I claim God’s speech in the Book of Job — the one about it being impossible for humans to understand God — is a critique of Job’s friends. They thought they had God figured out: God must be punishing Job for his sins! But God’s conclusion is that Job’s friends were wrong, and Job hadn’t said anything wrong about God1 (in spite of all his challenging and complaining).
I also claim people misunderstand Jesus’s “solution” to the problem of evil. Here’s how I think John 9:3-4 should be translated:
Neither this man nor his parents sinned. But we must do God’s work in daylight if that work is going to be visible/seen. Night is coming when no one can work.2
Instead of offering glib answers to the problem, then, the Bible (1) praises a guy who complains about it, (2) tells people who think they’ve got God figure out that they’re wrong, and (2) tells everyone to get to work helping instead of speculating.