Sarah Palin is in the news again. She exerted her gubernatorial (love that word) prerogative to pardon a turkey. To do this, she went to a turkey farm, a logical place. It was all very folksy and fun. On the way out she was interviewed about the presidential race. The catch is that the interview took place in front of the active dispatching of the unfortunate, unpardoned:
This is equal parts surreal and ridiculous. But the first time I heard of it I couldn't help but think about one of the most difficult and controversial verses in the Bible.
22What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?
Now this verse is largely about ethnocentrism. Paul is saying to the Christians of Hebrew descent, what is it to you if God wants to save some of the dirty gentiles? God is all about maximizing his glory by saving the worst of the worst. And the ‘What if’ linguistic structure suggest Paul may not even be fully committed to this idea. This may even just be a rhetorical device. But if we just try to suspend our modern propensity for offense for a minute, and take the verse at face value, that God's mercy is magnified in its sovereign particularity, I can’t thing of a better illustration than the stark contrast between Palin's pardoned turkey and those being decapitated before us. We became existentially aware of the benefits of mercy. While I do not pretend to understand Romans 9, there is a ring of truth to this illustration.
 The ridiculous part is modern disassociation between meat and death. This is how we used to butcher chickens when I was growing up. We had a bucket with a hole that we stuck the head through and loped it off. Once a gyrating headless chicken bounced out of the bucket and ran at me. Good times.
 Like a standard response to the problem of evil that goes like: "I don't know why evil exists but if I could come up with a reason that kind of works, an all mighty God could do far better
 The doctrine of ultimate judgment is poorly understood by most Christians and non-Christians. For the best explanation of it I have found check out “Hell: Isn't the God of Christianity an angry Judge?” here