Dr. Kenneth Howell: A Presbyterian Minister Who Is Now Catholic Discusses Redemptive Suffering

For more information about this series of posts and this TV series, see this page.

The twenty-eighth episode of The Journey Home is titled “Dr. Kenneth Howell: A Presbyterian Minister Who Is Now Catholic Discusses Redemptive Suffering” and aired May 8, 1998. It can be viewed online here.

As the title indicates, this episode is largely about the topic of suffering. There is surely much I could say about why I think suffering as a good thing is an immoral thing to teach, but I don’t think that’s the focus I want to put here today. Instead, I want to point out that this is likely one of the reasons Christianity as a religion has been so successful: it teaches that suffering is good. Surely, many people have found comfort in that over the centuries, and it’s a powerful factor in keeping Christianity alive.

Also, Kenneth Howell really ought not to make analogies. At one point in this episode, he compares Jesus to Parkinson’s, not making any point effectively. At another, he says that a thorn in the crown of thorns is like a funnel for some reason. Marcus Grodi is much better at analogies, as illustrated when he talks about needlepoint. His analogy is that a little girl seeing only the bottom of a needlepoint won’t understand what it is but will see the picture when she grows taller and can see the top, and in the same way, Christians can’t see what god is doing in the world but we can learn more when growing up (or dying, I guess). I disagree with that analogy for a couple of different reasons, but at least it actually makes a point that helps his cause.

So far, our breakdown of the guests’ religious state before conversion to Catholicism looks like this. To avoid double counting anyone, I’ve added the new category of “Repeat Guest”.

  • Repeat Guest: 1
  • Serious Christian: 17
  • Always Catholic: 7
  • Lax Christian: 1
  • Non-Christian, but religious: 2
  • Non-believer, but not very skeptical: 0
  • Skeptic: 0

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