Friday, March 12, 2010

Taking responsibility for God.

In Tokens of Trust, Rowan Williams says that the Bible is not "full of comfortable and reassuring things about the life of belief and trust". There are "moments of conflict with God, anger with God, doubt about God's purposes, anguish, and lostness when people have no real sense of God's presence". There are no arguments for the existence of God in the Bible; rather the characters are "caught up in something the imperative reality of which they can't deny or ignore. At one level, you have to see that the very angst and struggle they bring to their relation with God is itself a kind of argument for God: if they take God that seriously, at least this isn't some cosy made-up way of making yourself feel better".

He then goes on to say that witnessing this struggle is the way faith begins for some people. "It starts from a sense that we 'believe in', we trust some kinds of people. We have confidence in the way they live; the way they live is a way I want to live, perhaps can imagine myself living in my better or more mature moments. The world they inhabit is the one I'd like to live in."

This, of course, puts the pressure on believing people. Nevertheless, we must "take responsibility for making God credible in the world". He gives the example of Etty Hillesum who, before being murdered at Auschwitz, took it upon herself to "bear witness to the fact that God lived, even in these times". Williams continues, "It is plain that she saw her belief as a matter of deciding to occupy a certain place in the world, a place where others could somehow connect with God through her - and this not in any self-congratulatory spirit or with any sense of being exceptionally holy or virtuous, but simply because she had agreed to take responsibility for God's believability."

No comments:

Post a Comment

About Me

I'm Rachel's husband and Darcy's daddy. I'm a Hoosier, an accountant, and an Episcopalian. Politically, I'm a progressive who believes in the preferential option for the poor. I use the blog as a sort of journal - to interact with my reading and sketch out ideas.