Nicholas LashIntroduction by Fergus Kerr
“Nicholas Lash has a very good claim to being the most influential British theologian of his generation.” — The Tablet
“If God is a stranger in our house, then it is quite certain that our house is not our home, for we are made to be at home with God. That we are not yet at home is not, in itself, occasion for surprise. For we are travellers, pilgrim people. . . .” —from “Among Strangers and Friends: Thinking of God in Our Current Confusion”
Theologian Nicholas Lash’s new collection of essays exposes a crisis in our thinking about God, a crisis at the root of our misunderstandings about science and politics, ethics and economics, life and death. Opening with a critique of Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion, Lash discusses the “impossibility of atheism” and argues that faith and reason are not at odds for Christians. From there he proceeds to retrieve the legacy of the Second Vatican Council, consider the ministry of women within the Catholic Church, and—among other delights—give insights into the works of Diderot.
Of primary importance to Lash is theology as a process. He insists that “doing theology” is integral to practicing Catholicism thoughtfully: “To be quite blunt: those who refuse to do theology—to read, think hard, discuss—simply do not, in fact, care about the truth of Christianity or, at the very least, do not care sufficiently to seek some understanding of that Word through whom all things are made, into whose light we have been called, and which will set us free.” (from “On Learning to Be Wise.”)
Theology for Pilgrims exhibits Nicholas Lash’s characteristic intelligence, honesty, and wit, while displaying again his unrivalled ability to make the reader come “to see the point about Jesus.”
“Lash has always seen the task of the theologian as the exercise of unflagging intellectual and spiritual guardianship of belief in and fidelity to God as God, and not as something else. To this end the instruments of theological thought—a clear and modest terminology, for example, coherent argument, and knowledge of the long history of ’faith’s quest for understanding’—must be kept clean and sharp. This book shows over and over again how good at this vital (living as well as necessary) maintenance of the toolbox Lash has been and is. . . . Lash’s writing is never dull, always crisp and clear, and sometimes diamond-brilliant.” — Times Literary Supplement
“Lash’s newest book, a collection of essays written over the last twelve years, bears the vintage-Lash title, Theology for Pilgrims_. . . . It is abundantly clear that Lash’s own commitment is to wrestle with evil’s solidity and to pay discriminating heed to the weight of the world’s wounds. Hence, for all his insistence upon Christians as comprising a pilgrim people, it is not a pilgrimage that withdraws from the world, but one immersed in the world, seeking to embody a way of justice and peace, in imitation of its incarnate Lord.” —_Worship