Sunday, June 7, 2009

Rowan Williams on Being at Home in the World (and in the Church-As-It-Is)

"I long for the Church to be more truly itself, and for me this involves changing its stance on war, sex, investment and many other difficult matters. I believe in all conscience that my questions and my disagreements are all of God. Yet I must also learn to live in and attend to the reality of the Church as it is, to do the prosaic things that can be and must be done now and to work at my relations now with the people who will not listen to me or those like me—because what God asks of me is not to live in the ideal future but to live with honesty and attentiveness in the present, i.e., to be at home.

"What if the project in question is myself, and not some larger social question such as war? At the end of the day, it is the central concern for most of us. We long to change and to grow, and we are rightly suspicious of those who are pleased with the way they are and cannot seem to conceive of changing any further. Yet the torture of trying to push away and overcome what we currently are or have been, the bitter self-contempt of knowing what we lack, the postponement of joy and peace because we cannot love ourselves now—these are not the building blocks for effective change. We constantly try to start from somewhere other than where we are. Truthful living involves being at home with ourselves, not complacently but patiently, recognizing that what we are today, at this moment, is sufficiently loved and valued by God to be the material with which he will work, and that the longed-for transformation will not come by refusing the love and the value that is simply there in the present moment.

"So we come back, by a longish detour, to the point to which Mark's narrative brought us: the contemplative enterprise of being where we are and refusing the lure of a fantasized future more compliant to our will, more satisfying in the image of ourselves that it permits. Living in the truth, in the sense in which John's Gospel gives it, involves the same sober attention to what is there—to the body, the chair, the floor, the voice we hear, the face we see—with all the unsatisfactoriness that this brings. Yet this is what it means to live in that kingdom where Jesus rules, the kingdom that has no frontiers to be defended. Our immersion in the present moment which is God's delivers the world to us—and that world is not the perfect and fully achieved thing we might imagine, but the divided and difficult world we actually inhabit. Only, by the grace of this living in the truth, we are able to say to it at least an echo of the 'yes' that God says, to accept as God accepts."

—Rowan Williams, Christ on Trial (Eerdmans: Grand Rapids, 2000), pp. 85-87

2 comments:

  1. Thank you for this excerpt.

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  2. Before you can be "at home in the world" you first have to understand the nature of Truth and Reality altogether---otherwise you will only create a culture and "religion" of illusions, which will inevitably lead to a world-wide catastrophe

    Hence:

    www.adidam.org/teaching/aletheon/truth-god.aspx

    www.adidam.org/teaching/aletheon/truth-religion.aspx

    www.dabase.org/2armP1.htm#ch2

    The inevitable catastrophe thus created is described on this reference.

    http://global.adidam.org/books/not-two-5.html

    Plus a related reference on Sacred Culture

    www.dabase.org/restsacr.htm

    ReplyDelete