Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Archbishop of Canterbury delivers fifth annual Theos Lecture

Updated Friday

The Archbishop of Canterbury delivered the fifth annual Theos Lecture with the title ‘The person and the individual: human dignity, human relationships and human limits’ last night. Afterwards he answered questions, many about his time as archbishop.

His website has links to audio of the speech and the question and answer session that followed. A transcript of the speech is promised now (Friday) available.

There is also this summary.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, delivered the fifth annual lecture hosted by think tank Theos with the title ‘The person and the individual: human dignity, human relationships and human limits’.

The lecture explored ways of understanding the human person as shaped and conditioned by relations with God and others – and the risks of reducing personal dignity to individual well-being alone.

In a question and answer session following the lecture, he said: “I just don’t think that it will do to be too cautious in a job like this, you are here, as is true for any archbishop, you are here to try and say what you believe you have been given to say - by which I don’t mean by divine inspiration.

“To try and share a particular picture of what the world is like, what God is like, which of course leads you into sometimes risky and anything but infallible judgments about particular issues of the day.”

Dr Williams added that he did not believe that there had been a “golden age” in the history of the Church when it had been free of difficulties.

“There is no golden age in the Church’s history, we may think ‘oh, it was relatively problem-free then’ - one of the advantages in this job of being a Church historian is that you know that is not true,” he said. “When I think I have got problems, I think well at least it is not the fourth century, at least it is not the 17th century.” …

The lecture has attracted much press attention.

Lizzy Davies in The Guardian Rowan Williams defends outspoken approach as archbishop

Madeleine Davies in the Church Times Williams the anti-individual speaks his individual mind

John Bingham in The Telegraph Archbishop of Canterbury defends record in office

BBC Archbishop defends ‘anything but infallible’ judgements

The Huffington Post Archbishop Of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams Defends ‘Outspoken’ Stance On Sharia Law, Iraq War

London Evening Standard Outspoken Archbishop of Canterbury defends his ‘risky’ views on Iraq war and sharia law

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 2 October 2012 at 5:42pm BST | Comments (0) | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England | Lectures

Friday, 18 April 2008

Society Still Needs Religion

The Archbishop of Canterbury gave a lecture in which he acknowledges the rise in interest in spirituality, particularly in the Western World, but underlines the crucial role traditional religious allegiance continues to play in a genuinely plural society.

Read the press release Archbishop’s Lecture - Society Still Needs Religion and read the full transcript of the lecture, The Spiritual and the Religious: Is the Territory Changing?

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Friday, 18 April 2008 at 4:29pm BST | Comments (2) | TrackBack
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Wednesday, 16 April 2008

Paul Vallely lecture

The full text of the recent lecture given by Paul Vallely to the London Newman Association can be found here.

The title of this lecture was On being an English Catholic: from minority to mainstream – and back again? English Catholicism 1951 – 2008.

Paul explained this title in his Church Times column of 4 April, I am English Catholic, not Roman. The previous week’s article, to which he refers, is This does not violate a deep taboo. That article is germane to the debates here concerning the embryology bill.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Wednesday, 16 April 2008 at 3:16pm BST | Comments (7) | TrackBack
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Tuesday, 17 April 2007

The Bible: Reading and Hearing

As part of his current brief trip to Canada the Archbishop of Canterbury has given a lecture The Bible: Reading and Hearing to students at Wycliffe and Trinity theological colleges in Toronto. The full press release from Lambeth Palace is below the fold but here is the first paragraph.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan WIlliams, has told an audience of theological students that both intensely liberal and ultra conservative readings of the Bible are ‘rootless’ and are limited in what they can contribute to the life of the church. In the Larkin Stuart lecture, delivered today at an event hosted jointly by Wycliffe and Trinity theological colleges in Toronto, Dr Williams said that Christians need to reconnect with scripture as something to be listened to and heard in the context of Jesus’s invitation to the Eucharist and to work for the Kingdom.

The full text of the lecture is online here and here.

Archbishop - church needs to listen properly to the bible

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan WIlliams, has told an audience of theological students that both intensely liberal and ultra conservative readings of the Bible are ‘rootless’ and are limited in what they can contribute to the life of the church. In the Larkin Stuart lecture, delivered today at an event hosted jointly by Wycliffe and Trinity theological colleges in Toronto, Dr Williams said that Christians need to reconnect with scripture as something to be listened to and heard in the context of Jesus’s invitation to the Eucharist and to work for the Kingdom.

“… The Church’s public use of the Bible represents the Church as defined in some important way by listening: the community when it comes together doesn’t only break bread and reflect together and intercede, it silences itself to hear something. It represents itself in that moment as a community existing in response to a word of summons or invitation, to an act of communication that requires to be heard and answered.”

This, he argues, is crucial in the way in which the communities of Christians are informed by what the Scriptures say:

“Take Scripture out of this context of the invitation to sit at table with Jesus and to be incorporated into his labour and suffering for the Kingdom, and you will be treating Scripture as either simply an inspired supernatural guide for individual conduct or a piece of detached historical record - the typical exaggerations of Biblicist and liberal approaches respectively.”

“For the former, the work of the Spirit is more or less restricted to the transformation of the particular believer; for the latter, the life of the community is where the Spirit is primarily to be heard and discerned, with Scripture an illuninating adjunct at certain points.”

Dr Williams says that neither isolating texts from their contexts nor dismissing them as limited by prevalent cultural understanding were helpful approaches. Quoting from St John’s Gospel, Dr Williams said that Jesus’s teaching that ‘no-one can come to the Father except by me’ (John 14 v 6 ) could not be used simply as a trump card in discussions with other faiths: the verse needed to be heard in its full biblical context as the development of the question posed by his earlier saying, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come.’ (John 13 v 33).

” … This certainly does not suggest in an direct way a more inclusive approach to other faiths. But the point is that the actual question being asked is not about the fate of non-Christians; it is about how the disciples are to understand the death of Jesus as the necessary clearing of the way which they are to walk.”

Similarly, St Paul’s denunciation of homosexuality in Romans 1 v 27 also needed to be properly heard as an ancilliary point in an argument about another matter entirely. That did not diminish its force but made it harder either to discard it or to use it as a definite proof text.

“It is not helpful for a ‘liberal’ or revisionist case, since the whole point of Paul’s rhetorical gambit is that everyone in his imagined readership agrees in thinking the same sex relations of the culture around them to be as obviously immoral as idol-worship or disobedience to parents. It is not very helpful to the conervative either, though, because Paul insists on shifting the focus away from the objects of moral disapprobation in chapter 1 to the reading / hearing subject who has at this point been happily identifying with Paul’s castigation of someone else … Paul is making a primary point not about homosexuality but about the delusions of the supposedly law- abiding. “

Christians cannot pick and choose amongst the texts of scripture, he concluded; the whole of the Bible needed ot be understood both as inspired and inspiring - the work of the Holy Spirit:

“It is the spirit that connects the periods of God’s communicative action towards humanity and thus connects the diverse texts that make up the one manifold text that we call Holy Scripture. The Spirit’s work as ‘breathing’ God’s wisdom into the text of Scripture is not a magical process that removes bilblical writing from the realm of actual human writing; it is the work of creating one ‘movement’ out of the diverse historical narratives and textual deposits that represent Israel’s and the Church’s efforts to find words to communicate God’s communication of summons and invitation.

“The Spirit through the events of God’s initiative stirs up the words and makes sense of them for the reader/hearer in the Spirit-sustained community. As Karl Barth insisted, this leaves no ground for breaking up Scripture into the parts we can ‘approve’ as God-inspired and the parts that are merely human; the whole is human and the whole is offered by God in and through the life of the body; always shaping and determining the form of that life. “

Posted by Peter Owen on Tuesday, 17 April 2007 at 11:12am BST | Comments (107) | TrackBack
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