I have contributed a review of Norwegian theologian Silje Kvamme Bjørndal’s book The Church in a Secular Age: A Pneumatological Reconstruction of Stanley Hauerwas’s Ecclesiology (Pickwick, 2018) to Reading Religion: A Publication of the American Academy of Religion. For those interested, the review can be accessed here.
“For the Church does not exist just to transmit a message across the centuries through a duly constituted hierarchy that arbitrarily lays down what people must believe; it exists so that people in this and every century may encounter Jesus of Nazareth as a living contemporary. This sacrament of Holy Communion that we gather to perform here is not the memorial of a dead leader, conducted by one of his duly authorized successors who controls access to his legacy; it is an event where we are invited to meet the living Jesus as surely as did his disciples on the first Easter Day. And the Bible is not an authorized code of a society managed by priests and preachers for their private purposes, but the set of human words through which the call of God is still uniquely immediate to human beings today, human words with divine energy behind them. Easter should be the moment to recover each year that sense of being contemporary with God’s action in Jesus. Everything the church does – celebrating Holy Communion, reading the Bible, ordaining priests and bishops – is meant to be in the service of this contemporary encounter. It all ought to be transparent to Jesus, not holding back or veiling his presence.” – Rowan Williams, Choose Life: Christmas and Easter Sermons in Canterbury Cathedral (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), 145-46.