Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Radcliffe Again!

The study of the book continues. This week it is Chapters 7 & 8 which he links together as being about the relationshipsbetween our identities as individuals, of members of communities and citizens of the Kingdom.

He defines the Kingdom as "the unity of all human beings in Christ" and quotes Monica Furlong quoting Thomas Merton defining God as "that centre Who is everywhere, and whose circumference is nowhere".

Radcliffe suggests that we need to move from a self cetredness to a more communal outlook. He quotes the parable of the Good Samaritan - pointing out that the "lawyer askes Jesus who is his neighbour" and in the response Jesus asks who "proved neighbour to the one who fell among thieves?"

He also tells the story of Archbishop Ullathorne who when asked if "there were any good books on humility" replied "Only one, and I wrote it".

In addition he write a lot about humility - about which much can currently be found here http://www.eriebenedictines.org/Pages/INSPIRATION/insights.html it repeats in late Jan/May/Sept and earlyFeb/Jun/Oct or can be found in the book on the rule of Benedict.

When looking at the Kingdom Radcliffe looks at the community of the Church and suggests that it should be more. He looks at "solidarity" as used by the 19th century French, when it defined "us" against "them" and suggests that in Kindom terms there should be no "them". He then questions whether it makes sense to have a community from which no one is excluded - a little like if we are all disabled then no one is disabled. Can a community be defined in a way that does not exclude anyone?

His solution to this is to define the community as opposing anything which attacks that community. It is from this definition of a community in which all are included that he then goes on to look at how we should treat poverty, taking quite a communitarian take on private property.

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