Tuesday, September 03, 2013

What Calvin brought to Marilynne Robinson

Oh, I do so like this piece on Marilynne Robinson, which John Piper tweeted today. She is on my wishful dinner-guest list. I think she’d have a pleasant evening conversing with George Eliot and Christina Rossetti. In this interview she says all manner of interesting things about writing and finding out where your imagination lives, about sermons and clergy, about the so called “problem” of predestination. But what I particularly like today is this comment on what she learnt from Calvin: 
"I think, if people actually read Calvin, rather than read Max Weber, he would be rebranded. He is a very respectable thinker. And one of the crucial things he brings to me, is that the encounter with another being is an . . . occasion in which you can, to the best of your ability, honour the other person as being someone sent to you by God."

She maintains that – behind the one-dimensional, fire-and-brimstone iconoclast of popular lore – there is a way to read Calvin which will change the way we see everyone.

"He says that, if a person offends you, Christ is waiting to take the guilt of the offence on himself; so you have to consider the other person, in a sense, exonerated, even in the course of his offence towards you. [There] is always the question 'what does God want out of this situation?' To me this is extremely beautiful – in a way, the most beautiful articulation of the Christian ethic I have ever seen."

7 comments:

Meredith said...

You have inspired me. I now have a writing prompt. And you may have already written a post for it!
Thank you so much.

Meredith said...

But don't feel any pressure. Remember I'm the "blogging without obligation" girl.
Mxx

Ali said...

Hee hee. Well, glad to be of inspiration. And if I have inadvertently actually participated in one of your writing prompts, well that is an achievement!

Meredith said...

The question is, without putting you under any pressure whatsoever, who else would be at the table...
:-)

Catherine said...

Love that quote Ali!

Ali said...

Ah Meredith, I might be in this one :). But you didn't say how many ...

Yes Cath, it's splendid isn't it - glorious even!

Meredith said...

No limit Ali. As many or as few as you like. I think I am up to seven guests myself.