Friday, 14 May 2010

The Tide is Out

Whoops. I missed my own appearance at Episcopal Café. There was a fault with the article because two paragraphs that appeared to be mine should have been indented as they came from the Archbishop of Canterbury. This has now been fixed. These words now properly indented were said by Rowan Williams:

But of course they're not asking the same questions... 'What must I do to be saved?' may be a Christian question, but I doubt very much whether it's a natural Muslim question or even a Hindu question – or a Buddhist question where the question might be 'What could I do to be released?' (which is a slightly different category). My point is that in dialogue I start questioning my own questions. I look at myself and say 'Is that the obvious or only way of asking the question?' 'How do I listen to someone else's questions and see how mine relate to them?' In other words, in dialogue I discover the things that are not necessarily at the forefront of my mind.

And that surely is a very significant aspect of dialogue: the discovery that we don't know even what we don't know. And we must, in attention and listening find that out if God is to do what God wants with us.

I could have written words near to these in combination with a Unitarian ecclesiology. I just don't see how such words can be combined with an otherwise narrow bureaucratic outlook when it comes to his Church.

It is actually getting harder for me to write for this Episcopal Café because I am in a condition of withdrawal from Christianity as a confession in any sense, and so the controversies and issues matter less to me. Another difficulty is that controversy is suddenly moving close to the old base, in terms of a demand for sustained giving, and the manner in which forms are issued and a visit made so they get filled in. My situation is one of surviving on a most basic income and spending more than I get in order just to survive, and I don't even support the doctrinal base of this set up. I try to give to cover my costs of my marginal attendance, but that's it, and the purse is zipped up.

My main sympathy, my main effort, now, is back with the Unitarians, whose religious position I do support: one of freedom of religion, of awe from the world of science, of understanding myths as just that (forms of artistic story telling, with expressed meanings) and an ongoing conversation. One of its old mottoes is civil and religious liberty; my own liberalism is consistent across religion, politics and political economy. Suddenly it features in government too and so that has given me something to write about to Episcopal Café for the next time.

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