17 November 2006


I loved this take on Grace from James Alison*:
Gratuity is experienced as the lack of retaliation where some sort of retaliation is to be expected, and then as the giving of something unexpected. This surprising nonreciprocation is what pulls the person experiencing it out of the reciprocating mode-of-being and enables that person to begin to recieve and then transmit love as something simply given.
To me, this explains why Grace can never be limited to a select few and why God can never be violent.

*Alison, James, The Joy of Being Wrong: Original Sin through Easter eyes, The Crossroad Publishing Company, New York, 1998.


Sandalstraps said...

I've just noticed that Crystal at Perspective is also writing on James Alison. I really should check this guy out.

PamBG said...

Thank you for this link. I'd done a search for Bloggers blogging on Alison before, but had not see Crystal's. I will bookmark her blog.

I would be fascinated to see what you think of Alison.

Thank you for your other post; I want to read and digest your link before replying.

A bit of a digression. Up until yesterday, I'd only ever met two people in real life who had heard of Alison. On the retreat I was on, we were asked to bring something that brought us joy and I brought "The Joy of Being Wrong". The person giving the retreat (D) asked who the author was and when I revealed the name he exclaimed "James Alison! He's wonderful!" But D had not read this book and asked to see it. I showed D my favourite passage in the book* and he read it, smiled, then started laughing joyously and said, "Why didn't anyone ever tell us this stuff before!?!" The sight of an elderly Methodist minister giggling was wonderful. I said to D "You asked us to bring something that gave us joy and most people just glaze over when I talk about this stuff. Thank you so much for sharing the joy with me." It truly was a numinious experience.

* "Being wrong can be forgiven: it is insisting on being right that confirms our being bound in original muderous sin."

crystal said...

Hi - I have a few posts on James Alison's writings on my blog, here and there. My latest favorite one of his is Unbinding the Gay Conscience :-)

LutheranChik said...

Now I want to read this book.

I think "the joy of being wrong" is something that's very much needed in much of Christendom, where the focus is not on God's grace but on doing the right things/thinking the right things about God.

Happy Delurking Week, BTW, from another RevGalBlogPal. I recognize your handle from Beliefnet.

PamBG said...

Thanks, T'Lutheran Chick. I recognise yours from Ship of Fools! :-)

The book is definitely worth a read. Anything by him is worth a read, actually.

Thanks for delurking!