Friday, April 22, 2011


From the Telegraph:
There’s a charming article in today’s Times by Alex Renton, a non-believer who sends his six-year-old daughter Lulu to a Scottish church primary school. Her teachers asked her to write the following letter: “To God, How did you get invented?”

Instead of answering Lulu's question, Renton emailed the letter to "the Scottish Episcopal Church (no reply), the Presbyterians (ditto) and the Scottish Catholics (a nice but theologically complex answer). For good measure, he also sent it to...Lambeth Palace”.

Lulu received the following response from Lambeth:
Dear Lulu,

Your dad has sent on your letter and asked if I have any answers. It’s a difficult one! But I think God might reply a bit like this –

‘Dear Lulu – Nobody invented me – but lots of people discovered me and were quite surprised. They discovered me when they looked round at the world and thought it was really beautiful or really mysterious and wondered where it came from. They discovered me when they were very very quiet on their own and felt a sort of peace and love they hadn’t expected.

Then they invented ideas about me – some of them sensible and some of them not very sensible. From time to time I sent them some hints – specially in the life of Jesus – to help them get closer to what I’m really like.

But there was nothing and nobody around before me to invent me. Rather like somebody who writes a story in a book, I started making up the story of the world and eventually invented human beings like you who could ask me awkward questions!’

And then he’d send you lots of love and sign off.

I know he doesn’t usually write letters, so I have to do the best I can on his behalf. Lors [sic] of love from me too.

+Archbishop Rowan

How kind of Archbishop Rowan to write such a lovely and theologically simple response to Lulu.

Thanks to Ann and Cathy for the link.


Leonardo Ricardo said...

Yes, Rowan Williams and Eve Harrington have much in common.

Grandmère Mimi said...

Leonardo, perhaps there are only two faces of Rowan. Still, I give him credit where credit is due.

Paul Powers said...

If Rowan is Eve Harrington, who is his Margo Channing?

Grandmère Mimi said...

Sorry! Wrong movie!

Leonardo, my response to your comment makes no sense because I was thinking of Eve White in "The Three Faces of Eve."

Starting over with "All About Eve": I don't know that I agree with your comparison to Eve Harrington, Leonardo, because I think the Rowan who wrote the letter is the real Rowan before the body snatcher took over when he became ABC. From time to time, the real Rowan is still functional.

Paul Powers, I think I'll leave it to you and Leonardo to work out who Margo Channing is. I'm off-balance after my mistake.

SCG said...

Very lovely, simple and theologically sound response to a child's question. If only he'd be this lovely and simple about other matters involving adults (i.e. the Anglican Covenant).

Grandmère Mimi said...

SCG, how true. Why don't we see more of that Rowan?

JCF said...

Because he responded to the child, as if the child wrote w/o guile (which, of course, she did).

Contrast w/ Rowan's 'tude towards TEC. He NEVER approaches what we do, as if we're just practicing the Gospel, as we understand it. It's always that "TEC has an agenda" or "TEC is trying to force its way on the AC" or "TEC refuses to listen to the Primates" (when we ARE listening---we're just, in conscience, not submitting).

At our best, TEC is a very guile-less church (w/ a childlike faith)

But we're just not seen that way.

"Dear Rowan,

Think of us as 'Lulu.'

Lulu will 'have no outcastes.' Lulu will have the SAME spousal standard for its ordinands, gay and straight. Lulu will 'let our Yes be Yes, and our No be No.' Lulu will measure the proposed Covenant, by Scripture-Tradition-Reason, via Lulu's democratic discernment, and decide whether it's in keeping w/ the way WE practice the Anglican charism.

It's not personal, against you, Rowan.

Lulu's just trying to follow Jesus, as best we know how. Treat Lulu w/ some respect?