Monday, October 27, 2014

Four Important Words for Christians

Being Christian is a new book from Rowan Williams, who recently served as the 104th Archbishop of Canterbury (2002--2012) but now is Master of Magdalene College, University of Cambridge in the U.K. The subtitle is Baptism, Bible, Eucharist, Prayer and these are key words, important concepts, and what Williams calls activities, or, "the essence of Christian life." Published by Eerdmans Publishing Co., more information is available at

Only about 92 pages, you might call it a "quick read," but not if you want to stop and think about what Williams is saying and explaining. He tells us that these four chapters are based on talks he gave during Holy Week in Canterbury Cathedral. I admit I regret that I was not there to see and hear. It's lovely to be at Canterbury, making memories, at any time, but it is also nice to hold his texts in my hands, read, and think about them.

Williams' four important activities each has a chapter filled with biblical and cultural history and how they go together, and Old and New Testament stories, especially stories of Jesus. All of this reminds us of who we are, where we came from, how we fit into history and into God's plans, and the many gifts and responsibilities God has given believers down through the years. It's all bound up in these special activities that Williams explains so eloquently.

The chapters conclude with a few questions for the reader to think about in applying the text to his or her own situation. This is a helpful and encouraging book. Would be a nice gift. 

---Lois Sibley,