Admiral of Morality: Rowan Williams: What is the Church?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Rowan Williams: What is the Church?

The Archbishop of Canterbury has a new book out this month, called Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief. The book is a discussion about living the Christian faith, organized around a series of meditations on the Apostles' and Nicene Creeds, the latter which is the full statement of the Christian faith in the catholic churches.

The work is obviously a timely contribution to the ongoing discussions and debates about the nature of our Church, our churches, our faith, and our relations with others inside and outside our communities of faith.

The Christian Century has kindly excerpted a bit of it at its website, which might be enough to pique our interest in adding the book to our summer reading lists.

Here is an interesting bit of it, where ++Rowan says that the one thing we do know is that we can trust God absolutely, and likewise, trust in His Church:
Just as we can trust God because God has no agenda that is not for our good, so we can trust the church because it is the sort of community it is, a community of active peacemaking and peacekeeping in which no one exists in isolation or grows up in isolation or suffers in isolation. The slogan of the church's life is "not without the other"; no I without a you, no I without a we. Yet that doesn't mean that the identity of the church is a herd identity, with everyone's individuality submerged in the collective. The difference between the I and the you remains real difference—otherwise there would be no challenge about it. You may have noticed that few churches are characterized by drab sameness; when people try to create a herd mentality in the church, whether in a local congregation or in a wider institution, sooner or later it tends to break down dramatically


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