I think the interview went really well – Stephen is a great guy for the interview – but there was one point I wish I would have made.
Toward the end of the interview Stephen rightly observes the need to find a balance between being a pastor and being a philosopher. There are times to just be quiet and be a support for somebody else; times when speaking words of philosophical truth would really be out of place. In the midst of suffering it is usually wisest to put the philosophy on hold and just be a listening ear.
Generally Christians are pretty good at that, and that is to be commended. But where we could use a little help is for those times when it is right to take philosophy off the back burner and start providing answers. Even those who go through suffering – once the initial horror has passed – will sometimes want to debrief. They may very well want to understand, conceptually, what just happened. And when that happens, there is certainly a time to talk, and to provide answers.
In my experience Christians aren’t quite as strong in this area. We can comfort the brokenhearted, but we’re not so good at answering the honest inquirer. Part of my motivation for writing Suffering is to give Christians some groundwork and concepts with which to work. When you have the conversations, perhaps some of what I wrote might be of use.