Book launch: ‘Alive in God. A Christian Imagination’ by Timothy Radcliffe, O.P.
By Br Pablo Rodríguez Jordá, O.P. | Yesterday, Blackfriars Oxford hosted the presentation of Timothy Radcliffe’s latest book, ‘Alive in God. A Christian Imagination.’
How can the Christian faith speak to our contemporaries, in a world that is not only increasingly secular, but where religion in the public arena often becomes a form of fundamentalism? The answer, Timothy Radcliffe insists, lies in the imagination, ‘the door through which we escape the confines of any reductionist way of seeing reality,’ be it secularism or fundamentalism. Only the eyes that are attentive to the radiant beauty and diversity of our world can recover a sense of the transcendent. This, however, is no mere escapism, for what drives a Christian imagination is precisely a desire to live fully, to enter unreservedly into the mystery of being human, and so ‘anyone, regardless of their belief (or lack of it), who understands the complexity of being alive, of falling in love, of getting in a mess, of trying to pick one’s life up and start again, of facing sickness and old age, can help Christians to make sense of our faith too.’ So the two go hand in hand: an imaginative vision that transcends the banality threatening our culture, and an attention to the particular, the concrete reality in which we are immersed.
In his presentation, Timothy Radcliffe emphasised the importance of this aspect not only for Dominicans in their preaching, but for anyone willing to engage the secular world. The faith is a ‘perilous journey’ out of the banal, and it always requires a degree of heroism, a willingness to embark on an adventure, to be exposed to the unpredictable, to be wounded; in sum, to grow up into the fullness of human life. Through the chapters of his book, Timothy leads us not only through the most luminous aspects of this quest, but also through the inescapable reality of affliction, sin, and death. To this, the believer can respond with an invitation to ‘the risen life:’ the fresh air of the spiritual life and the hallowing of our bodily senses, the possibility to enter into communion with God through faith, hope and love.
Below are some photos from the event: