Monday, July 16, 2007

Streetwise: Rowan Williams on Conflict

'We need, as I have said, to take on the reality and inevitability of conflict; our error is often to see this as a kind of metaphysical statement about the inevitability of mutual exclusion and strife, rather than about the ways in which we are formed in the hard tasks of responding to the resistance, the otherness of the world (people and things), and in the accepting of our inability to guarantee ourselves or anyone an untroubled passage through it. The assumption that strife is an absolute 'given' in the world grows from the convistion that we possess a territory to be safeguarded, whether of law-based achievement or naturally given essential selfhood. The gospel of the resurrection proposes that 'possession' is precisely the wrong, the corrupt and corrupting, metaphor for our finding place in the world. What we 'possess' must go; we must learn to be what we receive from God in the vulnerability of living in (not above) the world of chance and change.'

- R. Williams, from 'Resurrection and Peace', p 273, 274 in On Christian Theology

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