Monday, 24 March 2008

Telegraph: Dr Rowan Williams nudges our consciences

We have our differences with the Archbishop of Canterbury, but we have always admired his intelligence and piety. These are never more sublimely on display than when he eschews politics and sticks to theology, as he did in his sermon yesterday.

Dr Williams took up a theme with which most churchmen in the modern age have wrestled: how to reconcile what Jesus taught about wealth with the reality of the "comforts and luxuries" of Western life.

The New Testament's passages about money make many Christians uneasy. When the man who "had great possessions" asks what he must do to inherit eternal life, Jesus tells him: "One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven."

The unfortunate chap can't do it, of course, any more than the rest of us can. The passage prefigures the discomfort that is bound to arise when doctrine seeks actualisation in a complex and fallible human society. Read more
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