Monday, August 7, 2017

Confession is good for the soul [UPDATED]

An internet joy is finding posts which illuminate the human condition or shed light on what it means to be a Christian, a follower of Christ.

Two read by me recently are by Ron Hay (superb Kiwi writer) and ++Rowan Williams (not a Kiwi, but we won't hold that against him). Both are somewhat confessional pieces.

A Special Spiritual Memoir

A marriage of war and peace

The first, by Ron Hay, but drawing on Lewis Smedes, challenges any simple adherence to the beautifully coherent but quite wrong theology of Calvin. Smedes offers a beautiful confession of his faith.

The second, by ++Rowan Williams, reviewing a volume of published letters by Lev and Sonya Tolstoy, challenges any simple adherence to an otherwise greatly gifted human being, no matter what spiritual illumination they offer. Williams offers a confession that saintly figures in the church are not actually saintly (if by that we mean closer to perfection than we are).

Why not also mention this lovely story of our latest female bishop, Ellie Sanderson's conversion!

This lovely interview and obituary by Peter Fitzsimons, my favourite atheist sports journalist and general opinionist. Yeah, I know he is an Aussie! But here he writes about one of the great Aussie sportswomen.


Andrei said...

Все счастли́вые се́мьи похо́жи друг на дру́га, ка́ждая несчастли́вая семья́ несчастли́ва по-сво́ему.

“All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Peter Carrell said...

One of my favourite, all time sentence, Andrei!
And it seems Lev Tolstoy may have penned it in a novel from his personal experience of real life.

Andrei said...

" And it seems Lev Tolstoy may have penned it in a novel from his personal experience of real life."

I don't think so Peter, his early married life was passionate and his wife bore him 13 children

Those words were written in those early times - in fact begin Anna Karenina and some think that the characters of Levin and Kitty in that novel are based on how he saw himself and his wife

The relationship became fractious later

But I was actually thinking of disharmony in other threads on this blog and in within the Green Party , families of sorts, when I wrote that quote

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Andrei
Thanks for the correction!
I did get that the citation had relevance to Anglican squabbles on these threads :)

Father Ron Smith said...

"Christ died, not for our sins only but for the sins of the whole world"d - This verse from St.Paul's 'gospel', quoted bytt t Karl Barth, does rather suggest the theory of universal salvation - a prospect that would probably horrify some of your correspondents, Peter. However, it does speak of a love that has no end, which is one of the attributes of the God and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ - through Whom, alone, is our salvation!

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Peter, now in the comfort of Stoke Newington, where Diana and I are taking a final brief holiday with her busy priest brother Fr.Graeme Watson and his wife, Liz (today out and about directing two studies on Christian Meditation); I have the luxury of using their desk computer, on which to make blog comments - on the run, so to speak.

I found your article of Rowan Williams review of the latest publication about the marriage of the Tolstoy's quite rivetting. 'War and Peace', seems almost inevitably the lot of many good marriages - that is the marriages that are of equal minds, at least. The wife's spirituality (in this case) challenged by her husband's tendency to political and romantic celebrity seems to have wrought a strange mixture of love and the need to be independent. This may indeed be a factor in the lives of many a couple where one or both are engaged in Christian endeavour. Maybe it is in their marriage that they each find a resolution to their different personality - not without pain but certainly not without gain.

More and more I find R.W.'s scholarship and his understanding of the human condition to be a gift to the membership of our Church.

Anonymous said...

"He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world."

1 John 2:2

"The Offering of Christ once made is that perfect redemption, propitiation, and satisfaction, for all the sins of the whole world, both original and actual; and there is none other satisfaction for sin, but that alone."

Article XXXI

Father Ron Smith said...

Thank you, 'Anonymous' (@Aug 9: 6.19am) for your insightful comments from Scripture. This should satisfy all Scripture-based arguments about the reality of human SIN and God's redeeming power at work in Jesus Christ.