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Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another Paperback – August 14, 2007
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"Rowan Williams is a scholar and priest, a mystic and a poet, a contemplative and an advocate for social justice—all rare combinations for a church leader. In Where God Happens, he combines his roles by examining the ancient wisdom of the Desert Fathers and interpreting the relevance of their teaching for Christian spirituality today. In the early monastics' search for the experience of God and an alternative style of community, he finds a new and deeper faith for the postmodern world. This compelling work of scholarship and spirituality shows why the Archbishop of Canterbury is truly a breath of fresh air and one of the most important and hopeful church leaders we have today."—Jim Wallis, editor of Sojourners magazine, author of God's Politics
"Rowan Williams calls for a Church renewed in contemplation. In the raucous circus of contemporary culture and religion nothing could be more important. And this book is immensely practical—nailing us just where we are—teaching us that the spiritual life is 'not only about how prayer is to be experienced but about how humanity is to be understood.' There's a liberating sanity here in the simplicity of the message: 'our life is with our neighbor,' and 'being is communion.' This is required reading for spiritual pilgrims of all traditions."—Alan Jones, Dean of Grace Cathedral, San Francisco, author of Soul Making and Reimagining Christianity
"This book is a marvelous introduction to the first Christian monks, the Desert Fathers, and makes their wisdom available and relevant for the twenty-first century reader; but it does more, since it is written in the same spirit as the texts from the desert, that is, as a clear window that will give direct access to God."—Benedicta Ward, translator of Sayings of the Desert Fathers and The Wisdom of the Desert Fathers
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Top Customer Reviews
If you are unfamiliar with desert monasticism this book is an excellent place to start. An introduction situates the monastic movement in its day and age, suggests some of its salient characteristics and themes, disabuses us of superficial caricatures, makes liberal use of primary sayings and stories from the monastics, and, best of all, suggests specific contemporary applications for church life today. Williams is not only a notable scholar; he is an excellent writer with enviable pastoral sensitivities. In four chapters he examines Life, Death, and Neighbors; Silence and Honey Cakes; Fleeing; and then Staying. The book concludes with a substantial collection of the sayings of the desert fathers organized by theme--hospitality, obedience, modesty, charity, discretion, humility, and so on (pp. 123-161). An all too brief bibliography suggests further reading.
Probably no one who reads this book will become a monk, but that is besides the point. One of the desert mothers, Amma Syncletica, explains: "There are many who live in the mountains and behave as if they were in the towns. You can be solitary in your mind even when you live in the middle of the crowd. And you can be a solitary and still live in the middle of the crowd of your own thoughts.Read more ›
Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, draws from the wisdom of "the Desert Monks" for their teaching from the monastic life to bring us this study on contemplation, community, and life with God.
The Desert Father's understanding of issues on community and living together in an intimate meaningful way are central in the lessons we can learn from these teachings.
Williams looks at fourth century Christian hermits living in the deserts of Egypt, Syria, and Palestine as role models for today's culture. Their teaching for dealing with the anxieties, uncertainties, and feelings of isolation are as relevant today as in their day.
In the foreward Desmond M. Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus, states, "It is good to know that the desert mothers and fathers said we can all be contemplatives and that we can have our deserts in the crowded places where we live and work."
The wisdom of the desert tradition provides many insights into the inner workings of the spiritual life. "If the motives of the desert mothers and fathers could be summed up in one aspiration, it would be to come to the state of continuous prayer...such prayer is not a matter of words or forms but an opening of consciousness to the life of the spirit flowing in the present moment of God, the making of our mind to be one with the mind of Christ."
In the introduction to the book, Laurence Freeman, OSB, Director of The World Community for Christian Meditation, commented on what "pure" prayer should be, "That means that it is more centered in and characterized by the silence of the heart and less in the images and concepts of mental prayer or in external ritual.Read more ›
Williams has penned a brief introductory text into contemplative spirituality focussed on the quality of our relationships with our neighbours. It is an outcome of a series of presentations given by him in Sydney Australia in 2001 on behalf of The World Community for Christian Meditation. In addition the book has a forward by Desmond Tutu and an important contribution by Laurence Freeman.
The 174 page book has six main parts, the introduction to Christian Desert Monasticism is given by Laurence Freeman, then Williams provides the core in four themed chapters: (i). Life, Death, and Neighbours, (ii). Silence and Honey Cakes, (iii). Fleeing and (iv). Staying. Then, finally, Laurence Freeman provides a selection of sayings concerning the monastic wisdom of the Christian desert.
The purpose of the book is to encourage us to re-invigorate our spiritual life, elevate the contemplative lifestyle and find Christ within and in each other. It is a story of silence and relationships; it is a story of the rock and reality of God's grace in our lives. Indeed, in the West, it is a call to re-awaken our awareness of the Christian contemplative tradition, centred on the wisdom of the desert Fathers and Mothers from the 3rd Century onwards. It is the story of finding and being with God in all things.
This book is suitable for those who are looking at reinvigorating their prayer life and searching for calm within as the storms of life buffer our souls on a daily basis.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Rowan Williams is brilliant. His writing has popularized Contemplative Christianity. He has a fresh approach to Contemplative Christianity, which makes it accessible and... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amos Smith
I just love Rowan Williams' writing, and love the spiritual subjects he writes about. Even if you didn't care about God or spirit or history or Christianity, you could love the... Read morePublished on August 7, 2014 by The Good Crone
Love this book! Dealing with the unusual subject matter of the workings of the Body of Christ, the author has interesting insights and thought-provoking queries. Read morePublished on July 22, 2013 by heatherbee
This book is amazing. Not an especially easy read but very cogent and thought provoking. An awakening in a real sense.Published on March 7, 2013 by H.M. Jones
I ordered eighteen copies of this book for our community to read during Lent. All of us have been enlightened, challenged and encouraged. Read morePublished on March 5, 2013 by Baltchik