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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, July 29, 2002
    Archbishop says 'get lost' to God
    Delightful timing as the latest edition of PLANET, 'The Welsh Internationalist' magazine, dropped through my letterbox this morning, PLANET's interested in all aspects of culture, current affairs, politics, poetry, and has global reach from an Aberystwyth base (check it out at ). This issue features an interview with Archbishop-designate Greenbelter Rowan Williams. I wonder, reader, if you share my excitement at the prospect of a church leader so creative, open and engaged, as the following extract demonstrates:

    PLANET: All of your writing - poetic, theological and political - consistently challenges the reader to think again about our certainties and responses. Would you agree that the challenge to conventionality is the strongest element of your writing?

    WILLIAMS: Probably, yes, because my religious and theological loyalty was engaged very early on by how you cope with emptiness, suffering and death. That's where the heartbeat of my religious commitment lies and it's also very much true of my poetry. I'd point to a poet of faith like George Herbert and say look at what he's doing - it's not at all as cosy as some people think it is. Again he's pushing the boundaries: "Is God still there if I say this? What if I say this to God? Is He still there? What if I say 'get lost' to God?" It's a sort of enactment through poetry of what faith is. It's not a liberal shrugging off of commitment. It's saying, rather, how far does commitment take me? What can I grasp if I keep on pushing?

    In Herbert, of course, what happens is God pushes back. When the poet says "get lost" to God, God answers: "No"! So you're pushing the boundaries but the boundary then APPEARS; you arrive at something. And that's what I try to achieve Ü yes, it's about challenging certainties and responses but it's also about searching for a certainty that's plausible and credible.