Space for Thought: Anger and Forgiveness
- Saturday, 15 July 2023
- 1:00pm - 5:00pm
- London Jesuit Centre, 114 Mount Street12
Space for Thought provides a space for serious theological reflection in a prayerful mode. Participants will approach a central theological theme in a range of ways—close reading, creative response, silence, group discussion—whilst being attentively open to others as they do the same. Tutors will give two mini-lectures to provide some intellectual stimulation, and facilitate discussion and reflection on the theme. A carefully-selected range of readings from The Heythrop Library will be made available to participants in advance, as well as suggestions about other ways in which to prepare, and to engage with the theme on the day. Tutors will curate and direct the day, whilst leaving space for participants to find their own route through it.
Space for Thought is an invitation to practice theology with patient humility and attention; a “waiting on truth”.
In this Space for Thought, we look at forgiveness. And since forgiveness is usually understood as a response to anger, we will explore anger as well.
It is easy to dismiss anger as an unpleasant and destructive emotion – something to get rid of or disavow, and as quickly as possible. But what if anger and resentment are somehow “moral emotions” that express and reflect our beliefs about what is most valuable, and our sense of what is wrong? How should we understand these powerful, but problematic emotions? Can they be tamed, or cultivated, or channelled – or must they simply be renounced?
Equally, it is easy—especially for Christians—to elevate forgiveness without considering it too deeply. But “forgiveness” is something that can easily be appealed to when people want to forget things that are inconvenient to remember, or to ignore things that need addressing. So how can forgiveness be compatible with the pursuit of justice? It could easily seem that forgiveness stands opposed to justice: it seems that justice is about giving what is deserved, but when we forgive, we give what is not deserved. But at the same time, Christianity presents God’s forgiveness as an act of justice. So how does divine forgiveness relate to the human desire for justice?
In this event we will probe some of our intuitive assumptions about anger and forgiveness, in the hope of developing a renewed sense of one of Jesus’ most central teachings.
London Jesuit Centre, 114 Mount Street12 114 Mount Street, London