My name is Meri. I came upon you by way of searching for Rowan Williams. I found him as holy fool with a delightful photograph of him looking quite mad. If it were not for reading Rowan Williams "Writing in the Dust" contemplations after 911, I would not have become the lonely G-d botherer that I am. This kind of writing was nothing like the messages in the church of my youth, Church of England. That kind of religion never "took" on me and I left as soon as I was able. But, the biblical narratives and Christian values are deeply embedded in me.
Loneliness and loss has dogged me all my life, leading me to a love of literature and a life of the mind. Reality has disappointed. Fate has not been kind. Now, I see myself as an isolated, literary and poetic soul who has never found a place to fit in. Certainly not in establishments.
I discovered theology through RW and it spoke to me, made sense, was not simplistic. I am not an academic, but reasonably educated, literate and thoughtful. If I am to untangle my mind, I need help. Where to find it? I believe my only option is to reach out on-line to those with similar interests. The idea of an on-line holy book club is appealing. Have you heard of such a thing? Do you know of any serious theology forums? and would they allow a novice in? (I am 82 years of age) a little slower, but still teachable...... Do you think this is a good idea?
I have a dog eared copy of "Open to Judgement" which has been invaluable for my sanity. An essay on "The Abbe Huvelin" a theology for neurotic and suffering souls was written especially for me. I am indebted. I used to follow Dr. William's web site when he was Archbishop, and I miss it. Have you read any of his recent books, and would you recommend one? Perhaps he has written another phrase or paragraph especially for me.........
My devotions are eccentric. They are connected with a humming bird I feed and will help through the winter. And with the barns I visit where the police horses live. Last week Dalton, the horse, was all gussied up ready to visit a dying child at the hospital. These kinds of things let in the light and help with the untangling.
The photo of the heather is lovely,
best wishes, Meri
What a delightful letter, thank you! You are precisely the kind of person for whom much of the blog is written. I'm glad it's of some help.
I too miss Rowan Williams. The fact that some said he was too clever to be Archbishop says more about dumbing down leadership to management, than it does about someone who is chosen under God to be a spiritual leader. Have you had a look at his book Tokens of Trust? Apart from his more substantial theological work, he writes some books as a brilliant man whose intellectual power is used in the service of faith seeking understanding. This is a really good introduction to the Christian faith through the thick glasses of Rowan!
Can I also suggest you get a hold of Benjamin Myers book Christ the Stranger. The Theology of Rowan Williams. I think it will give you a lot to think about because it is what a good introduction does - it gives you Rowan Williams rather than someone else's much less interesting opinions about it!!
Now I haven't personally gone looking for an online theological forum but there must be such things. An online theological reading group - now that's a good idea though again not one I've pursued, so can't help much there. You may see yourself as a novice, but someone whose life experience is a rich tapestry of light and shadow, and whose spirituality is formed in the hard places as well as the comfort zones, is no novice in theology, if theology is to be lived as well as thought.
I wonder - would you allow me to put your letter on the blog - I can remove your name if you wish. I think it would encourage others who struggle with other people's claimed certainties and closed timidity in the face of the mystery and meaning of that Reality whom we name as God, and have come to know through Christ. No pressure whatsoever if you feel hesitant. Just let me know.
Shalom, and give dalton an apple on my behalf,