The Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, is an extremely clever man who sometimes uses words in a way that, it seems to me, goes beyond articulacy and borders on what some might consider lunacy. By the way respect to my boss's, boss's boss and all that and the thongs of whose sandals I am not fit to etc etc but muse on this for a moment:
'... a structured wholeness nuanced enough to contain what appear to be contradictions.'
This is his guidance on producing a synthesis to resolve disputes, as reported in the Guardian last Saturday. Does it say any more than 'agree to differ?'
Now I love words even though they are but a metaphor of reality. However, sometimes we don't want to find a structured wholeness nuanced enough to contain apparent contradictions. We want to say, 'This is right; that is wrong.' We want to go down one route at a time. We want to kick chairs. How many apparent contradictions can one body contain?
And then I thought of my Bible and this quote from Pete Rollins in his excellent book How (Not) to Speak of God. 'The Bible itself is a dynamic text full of poetry, prose, history, law and myth all clashing together in a cacophony of voices. We are presented with a warrior God and a peacemaker, a God of territorial allegiance and a God who transcends all territorial divides, an unchanging God and a God who can be redirected, a God of peace and a God of war, a God who is always watching the world and a God who fails to notice the oppression against Israel in Egypt.'
He goes on to say that the surprise is not that these contradictions exist but that we know about them and that the Bible simply (ha) includes them without comment.
Perhaps it is a structured wholeness nuanced enough to contain what appear to be contradictions.
He (Rollins) also muses on the idea of God not as anonymous but as hypernonymous. So totally present we are blinded by him, like looking at the sun. 'Instead of being limited by the poverty of absence we are short-circuited by the excess of presence.'
I need to go away and get more cleverer.