Today is the annual National Day of Silence, a day where students across America pledge to be silent for a day in order to bring attention to anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying, and harassment in their schools. Sadly, but also obviously, it is a day not without controversy. I recall a parent of one of the kids in the youth group we led years ago complaining to me about the day and that her (high school) student had to be exposed to such an agenda. Basically, she was offended that her son was forcefully made aware of the harassment of people she didn't like.
I was reminded of that encounter this week as I was reading Rowan Williams' essay "On Being Creatures." The essay argues that only a belief that God created the world ex nihilo ("out of nothing") allows us to embrace our full dependence on God as the source of our identity, and therefore allows us to stop competitively asserting ourselves over and against other people and the environment in futile attempts to define and create our own identity. For Williams, it is only in rooting ourselves in God that we can be fully human and live responsibly in the world. What most intrigued me, though, were his conclusions regarding the practical implications of what it would mean for us to trust so fully in God. He writes:
Both the rhetoric and the practice of our defence policies often seem to offend against the acknowledgment of creatureliness -- in two respects, at least. First, there is the offence against any notion of "creaturely solidarity" implied by the threat not only to obliterate large numbers of the human race