I tire, as many of you no doubt do too, of the word Episcopalian meaning “debate about gays and lesbians.” There is much more to the Episcopal church and the Anglican Communion worldwide than this debate, but it has garnered all the media’s attention. Here’s my question for the day:
If you were to find an image for these four Anglicans, what would it be?
I suggested Stott was a diamond cutter. Any images for the others?
Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, has a new book called Tokens of Trust. It is a sketch of his ideas connected to the Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed.
I’ve read three or four books of Williams. For me, in each one, I went from “brilliant” to “wandering” in many of the chapters. In this book, too. Parts of it are breathtakingly insightful while at other times I’m saying to myself, “Just say it and get on with it … What are you getting at? … Why bring this up here?”
Still, along with the rich art of David Jones, this book makes for a ruminating reflection on the Apostles’ Creed.
The whole is place in the grid of who can we trust … the trustworthiness of God that we learn by seeing others trust God. He comes up with all kinds of interesting ideas … like God’s almightiness meaning that God is nowhere absent, that God is always relevant to our situation and that God can be relied upon — always. Those who live by trusting that God show us a world in which we might want to live. Creation lets us see a world in relation to God. He explores freedom and whether we want a world where bad things can’t happen, a world with a “perpetual safety net” (41). He explores prayer … not as magic but as tapping into what God is always doing.
In a chp about Jesus, “a man for all seasons,” he says: “Trust this, live in Jesus’ company, and you become a citizen of a new world, the world in which God’s rule has arrived” (58). “To belong to God … is bound up with being committed to Jesus” (60).
“In other words,” as he ruminates on christology for a new day, “Christians approach Jesus now as though he were completely with God, associated with God, able to do what God does, and so correctly as addressed as if he were God” (63). I’d say that and more … “as though” and “as if he were” (that’s an unreal condition Archbishop) — and more.
The lines in the creed about Jesus’ death are explored through the image of “The Peace Dividend.” He’s willing to say he’s “carrying the burden of our sin — bearing the results of what we habitually do” but I’d like him to say it, say it more clearly. He get close to Girard’s stuff here but wants to avoid all theories of atonement … “Our theories … are likely to be convoluted and unsatisfactory; but all we need to know is that whatever it took — and takes — for us to be set free from oru destructive and deceitful traps has been done through what happened on Good Friday” (88).
One has to read Rowan Williams carefully because he nuances at times into dizziness. If Stott is a diamond cutter, Williams is like a painter who sees a mountain, approaches it from all angles from great distances and then gives us a version of each side … when you are done you get it but you see the mountain as if in a Monet painting.
What an interesting place the Anglican world is. Lewis, Stott, Wright and Williams. Four of my favorites. For different reasons. The genius of the Anglicans is difference.