Rowan Williams at the Church of England’s General Synod this weekend:
The American Presbyterian writer Timothy Keller has recently published a book on Mark’s gospel, entitled King’s Cross. It is a vividly written and often very moving presentation of the great themes of the gospel (and incidentally offers a forceful defence of substitutionary language for the atonement that might give second thoughts to some who find this difficult); but perhaps its simplest and most dominant insight is that Christianity is not advice but news. The world has changed; humanity is not what it was. We are still working out, often in floundering and stumbling ways, what this means, but the one thing to beware of is reducing the news to exhortation, sound moral or even spiritual teaching, alone. We must always be beginning again with the news that God has shown himself to be a God who does not abandon – even when all the evidence has pointed to his absence, he recovers himself and us in the great act of vindication, homecoming and transfiguration that is the resurrection; a moment so alarmingly beyond all expectation that Mark can only present it with the silence, the fear and trembling, of his famous ending at 16.8. And I suppose that what I am pleading for in our discussion today is a revitalised sense of the news we have, the event we celebrate as having changed everything.
From an interview with Rowan Williams from the Guardian on Saturday:
When he observes that economic relations as they are currently played out threaten people’s sense of what life is and what reality means, surely what he’s really saying is that capitalism damages people. To my surprise, he agrees. Does he therefore think economic relations should be ordered in a different way? “Yes.” So is it fair to say, then, that he’s anti-free market capitalism? “Yes,” he says and roars with laughter. “Don’t you feel better for my having said it?”
Your Correspondent, Never more determined than when asked to open something