"What's your favourite Bible story and why", asked a young boy. Dr Williams answer: "The Prodigal Son".
29 Oct 2012
...not only was it the young – and young at heart – who provided the standout cultural contributions, the haka, the waiata and the choral singing, but it was also the young who provided the intellectual stimulation.
That came via a youth forum, where for 40 minutes school students posed searching questions to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori, the Presiding Bishop of The Episcopal church, and Thabo Makgoba, the Archbishop of Southern Africa.
The young people had been working on their questions for weeks.
And what made the session particularly interesting is that the three bishops didn’t know them in advance. They didn’t even know they were going to be on that panel till a few hours beforehand.
So: no patsy answers there.
The questions varied from the downright quirky: “What shoes would God wear?” to the no-escape serious: “New Zealand is debating a bill to authorise same sex marriage. What are your views on same sex marriage?”
On the shoes question, Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori figured the almighty would either opt for dancing shoes – or bare feet “I think the divine toes would want to enjoy the earth the Holy One has created.”
While Dr Williams figured God would opt for slip ons – ones that could be taken off easily so they could be given away.
On same sex marriage, Dr Williams said, to laughter: “thanks a bundle.
“The short answer is that the Anglican church has quite a lot to say about this issue – but it’s not always the same thing that people are saying.
“I’d say that for the vast majority of Anglicans in the world, it’s not one they can come to terms with.”
Bishop Jefferts Schori, on the other hand, said she felt that people who experience same sex attraction “should have the same ability to live in a covenanted relationship with another person” as the rest of us have.
There were other interesting questions, too: such as: Why did you want to be a bishop?
Answer, from Archbishop Makgoba: “I didn’t want to. But I think a bishop is called to be the servant of the servants. So we are all motivated by serving God in others.”
And at the end, there was a post Christchurch-earthquake question for Archbishop Rowan.
In the light of that disaster, how can you explain God?
Archbishop Rowan’s answer:
“Faced with all kinds of horrors, people have gone on believing in God. That’s a fact.
“There’s another simple fact: The world moves on its own by natural processes. God hasn’t made a world where it’s always going to be safe, or where he is able to step in and adjust the settings.
“So these are the two ends of the problem.
“And I try to keep looking into the darkness in the middle.”
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