Rowan Williams is the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is the head of the Anglican Church and Communion that ranges from Great Britain to Africa and around the world. He’s Welsh which means he has lots of jokes made about him. He is a top tier theologian and philosopher. He is an expert on the Russian novelists Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. His academic writing and speaking is not immediately accessible. Some claim that its not accessible, at all.
The Archbishop presides at the coronation of Kings and Queens. You may have seen him on TV recently. He declared Prince William and Kate Middleton husband and wife. He’s busy. He leads the third largest group of Christians in the world.
He is also a pastor, and perhaps his most useful role, a poet. His poet as pastor, pastor as poet role shines in what follows. It’s reposted is from the blog: faith-theology.blogspot.com.
Speaking of Rowan Williams, I was quite touched by a news story in The Telegraph.
A six-year-old Scottish girl named Lulu wrote a letter to God: “To God, How did you get invented?” Lulu’s father, who is not a believer, sent her letter to various church leaders: the Scottish Episcopal Church (no reply), the Presbyterians (no reply), and the Scottish Catholics (who sent a theologically complex reply). He also sent it to the Archbishop of Canterbury, who sent the following letter in reply:
Your dad has sent on your letter and asked if I have any answers. It’s a difficult one! But I think God might reply a bit like this –
‘Dear Lulu – Nobody invented me – but lots of people discovered me and were quite surprised. They discovered me when they looked round at the world and thought it was really beautiful or really mysterious and wondered where it came from. They discovered me when they were very very quiet on their own and felt a sort of peace and love they hadn’t expected. Then they invented ideas about me – some of them sensible and some of them not very sensible. From time to time I sent them some hints – specially in the life of Jesus – to help them get closer to what I’m really like. But there was nothing and nobody around before me to invent me. Rather like somebody who writes a story in a book, I started making up the story of the world and eventually invented human beings like you who could ask me awkward questions!’
And then he’d send you lots of love and sign off. I know he doesn’t usually write letters, so I have to do the best I can on his behalf. Lots of love from me too.
Now that’s what I call real theology! Isn’t this exactly why we need theological specialists: not to make the faith more complicated and obscure, but to help us grasp how simple it really is?
Some good thoughts on Easter by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Easter does indeed make demands upon us.
It is the cry of outrage,
fear, shrinking away,
when faced with the horror
of the ‘world’
- yet not simply or exclusively
protest, but trust as well.
all things are possible
to Thee … “
- Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, quoted in Celtic Daily Prayer, of the Northumbrian Community