Loved this book! Rowan Williams' thought is fresh and honest and insightful, always pulling me along into places where I've never been or thought I coLoved this book! Rowan Williams' thought is fresh and honest and insightful, always pulling me along into places where I've never been or thought I could go. This book is about the "self" and the way our culture continues to thrive on us not having one. Williams calls us to be more thoughtful about our-selves; more honest about the limits, the sacrifices, the suffering, the wounds, and the particularities that make up my-self; more accepting of the absolute mystery of the "other" self always in my midst as gift (not need); and more rooted in practices that nurture my-self - practices like patience, charity, forgiveness, and conversation that occurs over time, a life-time. To the degree that we are our-selves in this vein, our wider culture's hold of our sense of self will be less and less strong. Williams highlights in so many ways, by looking at our culture's view of childhood and politics and ethics and sex and therapy, that we are a culture obsessed with a view of the self as limitless, in control, self-created, ever-shifting, fashionably purchased and consuming, free and ever focused on individual choice and rights, impatient with suffering or imperfections, and unrooted in a narrative that includes the past, the other, and the wider traditions of an older cultural narrative. This sense of self is a dead-end, for Williams. It is lonely, afraid, and full of suspicion and rivalry. Ultimately, his view of the self is one that develops over time and risks exchange, a kind of trustful storytelling of the self that is brought forth from the negotiation that is called love.
Drawing on Cavanaugh's own experiences living in Chile during Pinochet's dictatorship, this is a brilliant book of contemporary social ethics rooted iDrawing on Cavanaugh's own experiences living in Chile during Pinochet's dictatorship, this is a brilliant book of contemporary social ethics rooted in an ecclesiology arising/formed from an understanding of the Eucharist (Body of Christ) that is both spiritual and political, mystical and true, and reaching back in memory and forming lives in the present, celebrating the kingdom already here and yearning for the not yet. Can the church formed by the Eucharist live its own "politics" in a way that remains "thick" enough to resist the deforming and sometimes evil effects of the "state"? Cavanaugh and his work give ample credibility to living an authentic Christian witness in today's world. ...more
I've read this book in the past - maybe in late 90s, but I returned to it b/c it appeared on the table in the staff room at church as a "give-away." PI've read this book in the past - maybe in late 90s, but I returned to it b/c it appeared on the table in the staff room at church as a "give-away." Plus, I recently returned to some of the themes I remembered in this book - that the things most shaping the imagination (in religion) are metaphors, stories, rituals, and images - that religion is primarily poetry in its rawest and truest sense - that the Catholic sensibility particularly sees the world in this way because of its sacramental emphasis - that this sensibility sees God lurking in objects, events, and persons of our life experience - that this enchanted sensibility tends to "create" certain dispositions, actions, and views of reality that make Catholics different than Protestants (or anyone else). I appreciate Greeley sociological analysis. Reading his conclusions sometimes feels trite but he's sharp and imaginative and convincing too. Like Greeley, I am attracted and most compelled by Catholicism's emphasis on metaphor, images, stories, and rituals, and I might even be as bold as Greeley is by saying that this is purpose of the Church - to tell stories and keep them fresh. Even with the criticisms I might have of the Church, Greeley names well why I remain intrigued by and even committed to Catholicism. ...more