30 August 2010

The Inklings: Williams and transformation

For some Christians, "witness" is an active verb, and so "witnessing" is an activity that they engage in, and expect others to engage in, and it often ends up0 as a kind of "in your face" proselytising. In the following story, however, I think we come closer to the true meaning of "witness". The Inklings: Williams and transformation:
W. H. Auden worked with Charles Williams on a collection of Poetry he edited for Oxford University Press. Many years after first meeting Williams, he would recall that interview in surprising terms and mark it as one of the events that led him to embrace the Christian faith:

'For the first time in my life, [I] felt myself in the presence of personal sanctity... I had met many good people before who made me feel ashamed of my own shortcomings but in the presence of this man... I did not feel ashamed. I felt transformed into a person who was incapable of doing or thinking anything base or unloving (I later discovered that he had had a similar effect on many other people.)'

From Auden's testimony "witnessing" can be more effective if it is a mode of being than a mode of soing or talking.

3 comments:

GaryD said...

Agreed about being or doing rather than saying. The Cursillo movement has a simple method -- make a friend, be a friend, introduce that friend to Christ. Much more effective than approaching a stranger with a Chic tract or asking them if they're saved.

I've only met a handful of people that radiated holiness. Maybe not surprisingly, two of them were Billy and Ruth Graham, some 50+ years ago in an airport. I didn't know who they were, nor talk to them, but they stood out.

Gary+

Nicky said...

Hi, thanks for sharing.

Yewtree said...

I have to say that personal holiness is far more attractive than attempts at proselytising. However I have met people who radiated the quality of holiness in several different religions.

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