I have a longish post I can't quite get control of. There have been recent church controversies spilling over into the presidential race, this week with some guest preacher at Sarah Palin's church claiming that terrorists acts were God's punishment on Israel, before that with Obama's pastor making a similar claim about America's troubles. It has popped up before as well, with Pat Robertson and/or Jerry Falwell making some claim about 9-11 being God's judgment (later softened, I think).
Some people obviously assent to these ideas, or these pastors would have no audience and be run out of church on a (communion) rail. But most people reject the concept outright, and are uncomfortable even having it brought up. Not only does it not sound like the God we worship, but we have a pretty clear idea how such ideas could get badly out of hand and lead to violence.
I am going to argue that both sides are partly right, and try to find the necessary distinctions. I'm not sure I've got the skill to pull this off without being misunderstood. But seeing something of both sides on religious issues is very natural for me. There is an old saying, "Two Jews, Three Opinions," and I identify strongly with that. I'm still surprised I haven't uncovered any Jewish ancestors. Actually, some Jews, including a rabbi, kept thinking I was Jewish years ago.
There is a blogsite with similar name - Three Jews, Four Opinions, that is quite entertaining.