Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Rowan speaks

Archbishop Rowan Williams does have a way with words. His words may infuriate, inspire, or illuminate, but they are always worth pondering. Here is an excerpt from his closing Presidential Address to the ACC Meeting:

"Now, who are the people who bear the deepest costs in our conflicts in the Anglican Communion? It’s a question to which there is actually no short answer, but I simply put it before you for some reflection. But there are some who would say that in this conflict the credibility of Christianity itself is at stake.

There are some who bear the cost in this way: they will say that Christian credibility is shattered by the sense of rejection and scapegoating which they experience, and that includes a great many of our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters in the Body of Christ. The cost they feel is often they cannot commend the Christianity that they long to believe in because they feel that they are bound up in a system and a community where scapegoating and rejection are very deeply engrained.

And then there are those for whom the credibility of Christianity is at stake in another way, those for whom the cost is felt like this: that the decisions that others have made in other parts of the world have put them in a position where they cannot commend the Christianity they long to share with their neighbours with any ease or confidence because they feel that fellow Christians have somehow undermined their witness. Deep cost – different costs – but here is the first big challenge. How can those who share that sense of cost and that sense of profound anxiety about how to make the Gospel credible – how are they to come together at least for some recognition and respect to emerge? How are they to come together so that they can recognise the cost that the other bears, and also recognise the deep seriousness about Jesus and his Gospel that they share? As with so many observations of this sort, I have to add immediately I know that won’t solve the problem. All I know is that it’s part of the imperative of dealing with this in a Christian way, not just in terms of managing something or glossing over something."

The whole is obtainable here.

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