9 thoughts on “Laura Bush’s Crisis of Christian Faith: Why God Doesn’t Do Favors – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. RE: “I understand the urge of parent’s to protect their child in such circumstances, but are they really doing her a favor by not allowing her to confront her own grief and that of the rest of the community?” – R.S.

    SEE: So George, how do you feel about your mom and dad? By Oliver James, The Guardian, 09/02/03

    …Barbara Bush is described by her closest intimates as prone to “withering stares” and “sharply crystalline” retorts. She is also extremely tough. When he was seven, Bush’s younger sister, Robin, died of leukaemia and several independent witnesses say he was very upset by this loss. Barbara claims its effect was exaggerated but nobody could accuse her of overreacting: the day after the funeral, she and her husband were on the golf course
    …Soon after arriving [at Andover], he was asked to write an essay on a soul-stirring experience in his life to date and he chose the death of his sister. His mother had drilled it into him that it was wrong when writing to repeat words already used. Having employed “tears” once in the essay, he sought a substitute from a thesaurus she had given him and wrote “the lacerates ran down my cheeks”. The essay received a fail grade, accompanied by derogatory comments such as “disgraceful”….
    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2003/sep/02/lifeandhealth.usa

    1. FROM WIKIPEDIA: Bush on the Couch
      (excerpts) Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of a President is a 2004 book by psychoanalyst Justin Frank. The central premise of Frank’s book is that President George W. Bush displays signs of poor mental health…
      …Frank argues that the death of Pauline Robinson “Robin” Bush and the way the family handled it greatly affected her elder brother’s personal development. Thus, despite Robin’s short life, Frank believes that she had a major impact on the world both through her father and through her older brother.
      At the time she became ill, Robin was the future president’s only sibling (Jeb Bush was born eight months before she died) and a favorite playmate. His parents never told him that she was sick, although he was asked to stop playing with her when she became weak. Only after her death did they disclose to him her illness, which had lasted longer than doctors expected it to and had led the Bushes on a frantic quest back East to find a specialist who could treat her. These efforts kept them away from their son for long stretches of time, and he was not present when Robin died nor was he permitted to attend her burial….
      SOURCE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_on_the_Couch

  2. What on earth is the point of commenting on a book that will be remaindered in three weeks? Please don’t give it more weight than it’s worth.

  3. Gene has a point, but setting aside the book’s unimportance, I think you’re being a little hard on her. She was a 17 year old who wasn’t paying attention while driving–I imagine at one point or another that’s happened to 99 percent of all the teenagers who’ve ever driven and most of the adults. As you say, it really is “There but for the grace of God go I”. One moment of inattention at the wrong time and you’ve killed someone. Fortunately, for most of us our moments of inattention don’t come when there happens to be someone present we might run into.

    If I were to criticize Laura Bush (and I have no interest in doing so), it would be for extremely poor taste in men.

  4. I felt the same way when I read this article elsewhere. Laura Bush losing her faith because god didn’t save the other driver? Mrs. Douglas’ sobs were her “reality check”, that yes indeed, Laura, you are actually responsible for what you do here on earth. Except it doesn’t seem to fully sink in, if, to this day, Laura is still going on about the poor design of the Corvair. There is a disconnect, an indescribable insensitivity to the react appropriately, and she met her match in W. Not the kind of behavior I expect from a leader, either…

  5. When you say Judaism doesn’t posit intervention on behalf of individuals, are you allowing for it to do so on behalf groups of individuals? Of course, I am thinking of the story of Exodus, isn’t that in fact, a claim of “divine” intervention on behalf of a group of people. The son of my orthodox Jewish neighbor was once at our house and he told me Jews were commemorating that week, the something of Av, the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. When I replied that I knew about that event, he informed me that “God made the Romans do that” (meaning destroy the temple), “because Jews were not being nice to each other.” I didn’t question him about this, as he was only a child. But is that not in fact, an example of divine intervention? Of course, you wouldn’t consider this particularly a “favor.”

    I was raised in the Christian tradition, a Roman Catholic to be exact, but I am now a member of a Quaker meeting, who while appreciating the Quaker’s views of justice and equality, do not as a disbeliever in god, accept god beliefs.
    Even were I a believer, I find it absurd that people think god would intervene in the affairs of humans at all.

    No, I don’t think it just Christianity that believes in divine intervention.

    1. It’s problematic to make hard & fast rules about what a religion believes or doesn’t believe. You can find examples in Judaism (usually ancient Judaism) in which God was conceived in a far more personal, direct manner in which he did intervene on behalf of individuals or an entire people (in the case of the Exodus which you point out). But Judaism, as a whole, tends to view God’s role in the world in a more abstract way. There are of course the more Orthodox who still tend to have more traditional notions & believe in divine intervention in personal affairs. But the overwhelming majority of Jews either are totally secular or if they are observant or spiritual don’t believe in this type of God.

  6. I personally, like many, many Christians, do not believe in this view of divine providence. I do not think it is inherent in the Christian faith as such, but is something that is common in the more orthodox segments, while the more liberal segments reject it. I suspect the same goes for Judaism.

    I find it hard to believe that divine intercession on behalf of individuals has no place in the Jewish tradition as the Bible itself is chockfull of such stories: Elijah, who brings the son of a widow back to life, after God has first saved the three of them during a severe famine with a miracle pot of flour and container with oil that never get empty. Hezekiah who wants to live and for him the sun even changes its course, Hannah who prays for a son and is heard, Naaman the Syrian who is healed of leprosy, Sadrach, Mesag and Abednego who are saved from the fiery furnace, Daniel who remains unharmed in the lion’s den, and the many psalms in which God is either begged to intervene in an individual’s life, or thanked for just such intervention afterwards (Ps. 40, 116, 151 to name a few). And what about Job? His steadfast faith in the end restores to him what was taken, as a personal favor from God.
    There are similar stories of individuals being healed, fed, or brought back to life in the New Testament as well, and I think that both in Judaism and in Christianity different groups look at these stories in different ways.

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