Being Christian: Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer

Rowan Williams, Author
Rowan Williams. Eerdmans, $10 (96p) ISBN 978-0-8028-7197-8
Reviewed on: 07/21/2014
Release date: 07/01/2014
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In this accessible and thought-provoking book, Williams (Faith in the Public Square), the former Archbishop of Canterbury, explores four essential elements of Christian life. In a conversational tone and with good-natured humor, he elucidates key points; for example, with baptism, one joins a Christian community: "Bad news for many, because other Christians can be so difficult!" Discussing the Bible, Williams provides a concise overview of the book's makeup before addressing challenges of interpreting " ‘the word of the Lord,' the communication of God." He tackles difficult questions (such as "Does God approve of genocide?") and suggests ways to engage scripture: "ask where you are in the story." In the Eucharist, all Christians are guests, "people whose company God wants"; paradoxically, Jesus draws out hospitality in others, asking followers, as he asked Zacchaeus, the tax collector: "Aren't you going to ask me to your home?" Williams explores prayer through the writing of Origen, Gregory, and Cassian, three early Christians, reflecting on the Lord's Prayer. Each of the four chapters closes with thoughtful questions, making this an excellent spiritual guide for individual or small group use. (July)
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