I have always had a great deal of respect and admiration for Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. He's a deep thinker, and a compassionate, sensible individual, often placed in an impossible position, trying to draw together all but irreconcilable factions within the church. Sometimes he succeeds, sometimes he doesn't, but at least he tries. I met him once when he came to a summer school during part of my ministerial training, not to give the lectures, but to take care of his young daughter while his wife, who is also a theologian, gave them.
I was even more impressed, however, when I came across this story, of his reply to a six year old girl whose father sent him the question she had written to God "How did you get invented?"
Your dad has sent on your letter and asked if I have any answers. It’s a difficult one! But I think God might reply a bit like this –
‘Dear Lulu – Nobody invented me – but lots of people discovered me and were quite surprised. They discovered me when they looked round at the world and thought it was really beautiful or really mysterious and wondered where it came from. They discovered me when they were very very quiet on their own and felt a sort of peace and love they hadn’t expected.
Then they invented ideas about me – some of them sensible and some of them not very sensible. From time to time I sent them some hints – specially in the life of Jesus – to help them get closer to what I’m really like.
But there was nothing and nobody around before me to invent me. Rather like somebody who writes a story in a book, I started making up the story of the world and eventually invented human beings like you who could ask me awkward questions!’
And then he’d send you lots of love and sign off.
I know he doesn’t usually write letters, so I have to do the best I can on his behalf. Lots of love from me too.
Amen and amen, Archbishop!
The whole story is here. http://www.alexrenton.com/index_files/Page501.htm