manage people

… because everyone is drawn almost irresistibly back towards this urge to manage.

Rowan Williams. Silence and Honey Cakes, 26.

I have been reading Silence and Honey Cakes – a book by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams on desert spirituality. It was recommended to me by a lecture in history at a Catholic theological institute.

The above – “this urge to manage” – is a very strong image for me in the first chapter. The withdrawal into the desert is not a withdrawal from a sinful world but an opening of my own sinfulness. And at the core of this is my need to manage people. To set limits on other people’s access to God and to always place myself between God and people. To make myself the spiritual guru, the person with the answers, the person who has it all worked out. To place myself above the other is not an act of love but hubris.

But that is nothing but my sinfulness. And in silence, I hear that most clearly. The desert is not a place but part of my heart that I need to listen to intently. Only when I know what it means to be broken can I really appreciate what it means to be whole – or holy!

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