Monday, April 07, 2008

The Scandal of Forgiveness

Yesterday, over at Per Crucem ad Lucem, I posted on forgiveness, noting how all human life is constituted by it, that it is both costly and difficult, that it relates to issues of memory and justice, and that its source is always the crucified God. This morning, I read Rowan Williams’ delightful essay Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief (Norwich: Canterbury Press, 2007) wherein Williams offers some poignant and insightful observations about this same theme. (I did wonder if God is trying to tell me something!)

Williams notes that ‘one of the oddest things in our culture is that we seem to be tolerant of all sorts of behaviour, yet are deeply unforgiving. The popular media mercilessly display the failings of politicians and celebrities; attitudes to prisoners and ex-prisoners are often harsh; people demand legal redress for human errors and oversights. We shouldn't be misled by an easy-going atmosphere in manners and morals; under the surface there is a hardness that ought to worry us. And this means that when the Church in the Creed and (we hope) in its practice points us to the possibility of forgiveness, it is being pretty counter-cultural’ (p. 152).

I still wonder if God is trying to tell me (us) something about the scandal of forgiveness ...

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