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Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another [Paperback]

By Rowan Williams (Author), Desmond Tutu (Foreword by) & Laurence Freeman (Introduction by)
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Item description for Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another by Rowan Williams, Desmond Tutu & Laurence Freeman...

Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Anglican Church, looks to ancient Christian hermits for remedies to our modern sense of isolation and alienation.

Publishers Description
The place "where God happens," according to Rowan Williams's striking new reading of the Desert Fathers and Mothers, is "between each other." It's a truth that we of the twenty-first century most urgently need to learn in order to heal the experience of alienation that has become endemic to our age, and these odd and appealing ancient figures, surprisingly, hold keys to this healing.
The fourth-century Christian hermits of Egypt, Syria, and Palestine understood the truth of Christian community profoundly, and their lives demonstrate it vividly--even though they often lived in solitude and isolation. The author breaks through our preconceived ideas of the Desert Fathers to reveal them in a new light: as true and worthy role models--even for us in our modern lives--who have much to teach us about dealing with the anxieties, uncertainties, and sense of isolation that have become hallmarks of modern life. They especially embody valuable insights about community, about how to live together in an intimate and meaningful way. Williams makes these radical figures, who clearly have a special place in his heart, come to life in a new way for everyone.
The book includes an appendix of selections from the teachings of the Desert Fathers.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: New Seeds
Pages   174
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 0.5" Width: 5" Height: 7.25"
Weight:   0.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 14, 2007
Publisher   New Seeds
ISBN  1590303903  
ISBN13  9781590303900  

Availability  2 units.
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More About Rowan Williams, Desmond Tutu & Laurence Freeman

Rowan Williams Rowan Williams was enthroned as Archbishop of Canterbury in February 2003. His previous positions include Archbishop of Wales, Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity, Oxford and Dean of Clare College, Cambridge. He has taught theology for more than fifteen years in five continents, worked as a parish priest, and published widely. His previous publications include "Teresa of Avila" (1991), "Open to Judgment" (1994) and "Sergi Bulgakov" (1999).

Rowan Douglas Williams was born in Swansea, south Wales on 14 June 1950, into a Welsh-speaking family, and was educated at Dynevor School in Swansea and Christ's College Cambridge where he studied theology. He studied for his doctorate – in the theology of Vladimir Lossky, a leading figure in Russian twentieth-century religious thought – at Wadham College Oxford, taking his DPhil in 1975. After two years as a lecturer at the College of the Resurrection, near Leeds, he was ordained deacon in Ely Cathedral before returning to Cambridge.

Rowan Williams on his Graduation, Christ's College Cambridge, with Parents Aneurin and Delphine Williams, 1971From 1977, he spent nine years in academic and parish work in Cambridge: first at Westcott House, being ordained priest in 1978, and from 1980 as curate at St George's, Chesterton. In 1983 he was appointed as a lecturer in Divinity in the university, and the following year became dean and chaplain of Clare College. 1986 saw a return to Oxford now as Lady Margaret Professor of Divinity and Canon of Christ Church; he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Divinity in 1989, and became a fellow of the British Academy in 1990. He is also an accomplished poet and translator.

Rowan Williams and Jane Paul on their Wedding Day, 1981In 1991 Professor Williams accepted election and consecration as bishop of Monmouth, a diocese on the Welsh borders, and in 1999 on the retirement of Archbishop Alwyn Rice Jones he was elected Archbishop of Wales, one of the 38 primates of the Anglican Communion. Thus it was that, in July 2002, with eleven years' experience as a diocesan bishop and three as a leading primate in the Communion, Archbishop Williams was confirmed on 2 December 2002 as the 104th bishop of the See of Canterbury: the first Welsh successor to St Augustine of Canterbury and the first since the mid-thirteenth century to be appointed from beyond the English Church.

Dr Williams is acknowledged internationally as an outstanding theological writer, scholar and teacher. He has been involved in many theological, ecumenical and educational commissions. He has written extensively across a very wide range of related fields of professional study – philosophy, theology (especially early and patristic Christianity), spirituality and religious aesthetics – as evidenced by his bibliography. He has also written throughout his career on moral, ethical and social topics and, since becoming archbishop, has turned his attention increasingly on contemporary cultural and interfaith issues.

As Archbishop of Canterbury his principal responsibilities are however pastoral – leading the life and witness of the Church of England in general and his own diocese in particular by his teaching and oversight, and promoting and guiding the communion of the world-wide Anglican Church by the globally recognized ministry of unity that attaches to the office of bishop of the see of Canterbury.

His interests include music, fiction and languages.

In 1981 Dr Williams married Jane Paul, a lecturer in theology, whom he met while living and working in Cambridge. They have a daughter and a son.

Rowan Williams was born in 1950.

Rowan Williams has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Glory of the Lord
  2. Making of the Christian Imagination
  3. Outstanding Christian Thinkers (Paperback Continuum)
  4. Voices from the Monastery

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Christian Living > General
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Anglican
3Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Protestantism > Episcopalian > General

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Reviews - What do customers think about Where God Happens: Discovering Christ in One Another?

archbishop of cantebury on the egyptian monastics  Jan 18, 2007
The bland title of this book gives no hint of its powerful subject matter or of its important message. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury and the leader of the worldwide Anglican church, introduces the Egyptian desert fathers and mothers of the fourth century in such a way as to show how and why they remain so relevant for today. I count this as one of the best books on Christian discipleship or formation that I have read in the past year.

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." For the desert monastics of the fourth century, and for us today, the interior geography of your heart is far more important (and complex) than the exterior coordinates of your address. Whether dealing with the prosaic boredom of everyday life, conformity to culture, our individualist impulses, our rosy romanticism that exudes naivety ("Expect trials until your last breath," advised one father), flight from responsibility, the terrors of temptation, discouragement and its concomitant lethargy, or the ego's endless quest for self-justification, these saints are competent advisors. Their wisdom comes from hard fought experience and is not arid theory. Contrary to common misperceptions, these faithful guides are people of tenderness, honesty, humor and humility. We Christians need their wisdom more than ever, and this book is a fine place to begin.
Study on contemplation, community and life with God  Aug 24, 2006
Reviewed by Richard R. Blake for Reader Views (08/06)

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."

I chose to read "Where God Happens" as my focus for a period of renewal and contemplation. As I imagined myself in a monk's cell, in the African desert of the fourth century, I learned lessons on the habits of self awareness and the importance of working toward and ever greater honesty about self through a more constant exposure to God in Bible reading and prayer. I was challenged to continue the process until I become what I was meant me to become.

While scholarly in approach this book is not a theological treatise but a call to humility and simplicity in living together in the twenty-first century community.

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