16 July 2012

Canon AM 'Donald' Allchin

Coming across Canon Allchin's obituary again has put me in mind of that tremendous thinker who firmly understood that the Anglican Church, though planted in the West, faced East.  Without him many of us would never have learnt of the great treasures of Celtic Christian thought.  Some of us would never have been converted to belief in the existence of Wales at all!  Without him many of us would never have been exposed to that great Orthodox theologian Dumitru Staniloae nor would we have considered the Gospel claims and spiritual wisdom of the fathers of Mount Athos.  Not unlike the lives of the great saints, his scholarly words still speak to us.   

"Here we have the historical origins of some of the greatest weaknesses of our whole English speaking world, weaknesses which all English-speaking peoples, despite the great diversity of their situations, to some extent, share.  

"There is our inability to hear the other, our unwillingness to learn the language of the other, with all that that implies of unreadiness to see things from their point of view; there is our insensitivity to things that are small, our tendency to judge things by their size, our tendency to an arrogant complacency.  

"I do not deny that these qualities characterise all nations in our fallen humanity, to some degree.  But we have an uncommonly large share of them, and since the English and American peoples have been, for large parts of their history, eminently powerful and successful, their effects for better and for worse have been correspondingly magnified.  For all of us the willingness to listen to the forgotten people is of life-giving importance."

The World is a Wedding:
Explorations in Christian Spirituality
Oxford University Press, 1978