It raised the question of life being planned out. When I was a bright eyed young Fundamentalist the passage from Jeremiah was oft quoted during difficult times: "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
This is supposed to give the hearer a feeling of security and comfort - life has been planned out for us. The good times are God's blessing, and the bad times are there for a reason.
Life experience teaches you many things. Sometimes we learn from experience, and sometimes we fail to learn the lessons we need to learn. Sometimes life is good and sometimes it's bad. A real no brainer I realise, but still needs to be said.
To decide that life is all planned out for us may well be a comforting thought - it removes the unpleasantness from existential angst - but it creates its own set of difficulties. For a start, free will goes to the dogs. If my life is planned, then how can I be morally responsible for my actions?! Weren't they all planned?!
The evangelical response is usually that there is a plan for us but we are free to divert along the way. Things go pear shaped, it is argued, because we stray from the plan and formulate our own.
My problem with this is that it seems to deny the interventionist nature of an omnipotent, omniscience God that is so central to the evangelical understanding of the Divine.
As I understand it, life is life. Things happen. Shit happens. Cyclones ravage countries. Earthquakes destroy cities. Children die of starvation in Birmingham in 21st century Britain. To claim they were all part of some divine plan is to depict God as some sort of cosmic bastard. Christian's explanations as to why these terrible things occur only seem to muddy the water, or make things worse: they're all designed to bring comfort, to bring a sense of security, to stop us from going insane trying to contemplate the sheer senselessness of it.
Life is not planned out. It just happens. End of. Process Theology gives me comfort, not because it tells me that God is "in control", but because it says that God suffers with us. And not only that, it tells me that God is calling us to better the world that we live in. The Reformation happened because events at the time helped it to come about. The kid in Birmingham died because her parents were criminally neglectful. The earthquake happened because of faults in the Earth's crust. Not some great plan mapping out what happens whether good or evil.