Thursday, May 10, 2012

the haiku theology of Rowan Williams

For a while last year, I tried a spiritual practice, of making a 1 sentence prayer from my first waking experiences. It was an attempt to pay attention to God in the everyday, to (try and) keep me centred in simple places. Well, I am a babe, compared these six haiku offered by Archbishop Rowan Williams.

A million arrows, I
the target, where the lines meet
and are knotted

Inside, hollowness; what is
comes to me as a blow, but not
a wound

Not only servicing the lungs, the air
is woven, full
of needles

The first task: to find
a frontier. I am not,
after all, everything.

The strip of red flesh
lies still, absorbs, silent; speaks
to all the body

Each door from the room says,
this is not all. Your hands will find
in the dark

The six haiku are in Sense Making Faith. Body Spirit Journey (which I’ve reviewed here). The following explanation is provided.

“To guide our thoughts and ideas we asked the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, if he would offer us a creative meditation for each of the chapters on the senses. He has responded by sending us six haiku. A haiku is a poem, based on an ancient Japanese tradition of poetry, which is set out in 17 syllables in the space of three lines. The economy of each poem means that each word has layers of meaning and asks the reader to engage deeply and imaginatively with the world it invokes.”

It is one type of charism to write dense theology crowded with footnotes. It takes a rare gift to pen theology in 17 syllables. My favourites are the last three, the way the senses push us into new spaces, new encounters, new experiences.

Posted by steve at 01:10 PM

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