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Book reviews >

Colin Morris Methodist minister and former head of religious broadcasting at the BBC

‘I’ve just re-read Some Day I’ll Find You, the searingly honest autobiography of Harry Williams. He didn’t preach anything unless he’d proved it in his own experience. The book reveals his desperate struggle with depression, and the theme of death and resurrection runs through the book.

Williams felt that he had to die to superficial religion to get to the core of things. He was a great teacher and preacher, but until he faced up to his homosexuality he felt that he was living a lie. He entered Mirfield as a monk in 1970, and the last third of the book is a brilliant analysis of life in an enclosed order. The book is an uplifting but harrowing read.

I’ve also just re-read Eric James’s life of Bishop John Robinson. I think that the questions that Robinson raised in Honest to God have never been faced by the Church, which moved right theologically and politically and left them hanging in mid-air. I was in Africa when I read Honest to God , and I wrote to Robinson, who replied, beginning a correspondence that ended when I returned.

The book is a portrait of real affection. I don’t think that Robinson ever got the recognition he deserved, although he did get fame and celebrity. He was a religious journalist of genius. Sometimes I think that much of our contemporary theology is too obtuse, and read only by other theologians. Robinson believed that the task of the Christian scholar was to make the gospel easier to understand.

I think that in many ways the group of Anglican theologians based at Cambridge — Williams, Robinson, Montefiore, and Lampe — really educated me theologically.’

Harry Williams, Some Day I’ll Find You, and Eric James, A Life of Bishop John A. T. Robinson, are both out of print.


 

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