Rowan Williams on Terror and Consent

Rowan (Don’t Call Me the Pope of Anglicanism) Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury reviewed Philip Bobbitt’s book Terror and Consent.  So did I.

I like that is exploring these topics.  You can compare our reviews of his work (with some theological inflections in both?).  I just think it’s cool that the Archbishop of Canterbury is reading Bobbitt.

His review here.  Mine here.

On the theme of Williams’ wide ranging thought, he’s just come out with a book on Dostoevsky.  Interview with BBC on it here.  Williams has a deep and abiding love of Russian Orthodox Mystical Theology among other things.  It’s always been such a huge waste to have him in the role of Archbishop, particularly now.

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Rowan Williams: The Body of Grace (Gay and Straight)

While this might come as something of a shocker to those who only know about this story via the media, for anyone who has followed Williams (extremely impressive and profound) theological career/writings this was abundantly clear:

However, in an exchange of letters with an evangelical Christian, written eight years ago when he was Archbishop of Wales, he described his belief that biblical passages criticising homosexual sex were not aimed at people who were gay by nature.

He argued that scriptural prohibitions were addressed to heterosexuals looking for sexual variety. He wrote: “I concluded that an active sexual relationship between two people of the same sex might therefore reflect the love of God in a way comparable to marriage, if and only if it had about it the same character of absolute covenanted faithfulness.” Dr Williams described his view as his “definitive conclusion” reached after 20 years of study and prayer.

Williams is one of a very small handful (less than 5) of the most theologically learned and subtle to ever hold the chair of the Archbishopric of Canterbury.  He clearly sees his role as Archbishop as to upheld the traditional teaching against homosexuality while clearly himself thinks otherwise.  Among the many shames and sadnesses of this whole whatever going on in the Anglican Communion is that Williams’ depth is lost.  He is busy putting out fires and being a ecclesial bureaucrat and its a loss to the whole Communion particularly in its difficulties in articulating a clear interpretation of the gospel fro a postmodern pluralistic world. 

[And yes if you get the picture on your computer right you are seeing a picture of the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion and Paris Hilton in adjoning posts].

Published in: on August 6, 2008 at 8:46 pm  Comments (3)  
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Alleluia, He is Risen, Risen Indeed

From Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Easter Sermon (my emphasis):

So what does it mean to say that, despite all this, death is ‘defeated’? When death happens and growing stops, there are no more plans, no more hope of control: for the believer, there is only God left. Just as at the very beginning of creation, there is God, and there is the possibility that God has brought into being by his loving will. When death has done all it can do, God remains untouched and his will is the loving and generating will that it eternally is. When we look at death, we look at something that can destroy anything in our universe – but not God, its maker and redeemer. And if we accept that we shall die and all our hopes and schemes fall into the dark, we do so knowing that God is unchanged. So to die is to fall into the hands of the living God.

That is why the effort to keep death daily before us is a source of life and hope. It is to commend ourselves every day into God’s hands, trusting that he is eternally a loving creator, in whom there is no darkness at all, as the New Testament says. (I John 1.5) And when we let ourselves go into God’s hands, we do so confident that he is free to do what he wills with us – and that what he wills for us is life. The Easter story is not about how Jesus survived death or how the spirit of Jesus outlasted his mortal frame or whatever; it is about a person going down into darkness and the dissolving of all things and being called again out of that nothingness. Easter Day, as so many have said, is the first day of creation all over again – or, as some have put it, the eighth day of the week, the unimaginable extra that is assured by the fact that God’s creative word is never stifled or silenced.

The realistic sense of death (which I pointed to yesterday in the post on the tragic forgotten nature of Holy Saturday) is what allows us to truly believe in resurrection and it actually be resurrection.  Otherwise as Williams points out saying death isn’t the end is not Christian hope but a tranquilizing error-laden optimism or denial of the reality of death.

Published in: on March 23, 2008 at 8:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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