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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Where God Happens
Discovering Christ in One Another
New Seeds 08/07 Paperback $14.00
Rowan Williams is the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury and is also a widely acclaimed pastor, theologian, and writer. His most recent books include The Dwelling of the Light and Writing in the Dust. In today's troubled world, it is often difficult to discern the presence of God. We can learn a lot about this process, says Archbishop Desmond Tutu in his foreword to this book, by turning to the Desert Fathers and Mothers who established monastic communities in Egypt, Syria, and Palestine in the third and fourth centuries. They sought to "grow in holiness" and to live for God. In his introduction, Laurence Freeman, head of the World Community for Christian Meditation, claims that these "monastic oddballs" may indeed "hold a secret for our modern world that no economist, sociologist, politician or religious leader can match." This volume had its genesis in a presentation Rowan Williams gave at the John Main Seminar for 2001 in Sydney, Australia.
It is a widespread misconception that the Desert Fathers and Mothers fled to the desert to escape the world and all its follies. Listen to John the Dwarf:
By isolating themselves in the wilderness, these monastics were brought into closer contact with their neighbors. Wililams explains: "Insofar as you open such doors for one another, you gain God, in the sense that you become a place where God happens for somebody else." Think about that for a while. Each day we have many opportunities to become a place where God comes alive in another person's life because of our actions, words, or deeds. That is why kindness, compassion, and love are so central in the sayings of the Desert Fathers and Mothers.
Here's another teaching story:
"We love with God when and only when we are the conduit for God's reconciling presence with the person next to us." This is a secret for the modern world from the faraway past. Make a vow that today you will act and speak in such a way that you will become a place where God comes to life for somebody else.
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