George Carey’s spiritual journey has inspired me at times in my own spiritual journey.
In 1972 my spiritual life was a mess, to put it mildly. I was at that time teaching Christian theology at St John’sCollege, Nottingham, a leading evangelical college which trains men and women for ministry in the Church of England. Perhaps I had been too long in theological education, I don’t know, but whatever the reason I knew that my spiritual life was at a crisis point. My heart hadn’t kept pace with my head. Sometimes when I was teaching New Testament theology, I found myself thinking: “You hypocrite, you don’t really believe this do you?” But I was trapped. I had to go along with the show. I couldn’t let the side down, I had to pretend that all was well’.
In myself I was fairly normal. I wasn’t a psychiatric mess, a quivering bundle of nerves or anything like that. I was 37 at the time, a normal balanced, healthy person with no personal experience of clinical or pathological depression. I was happily married to Eileen, a marvelous person and we were blessed with four delightful children. But the experience of Christianity had somehow disappeared from my life. The great truths of evangelicalism had lost their fire and their power to convince. To all intents and purposes I was all right, but I knew if God did not intervene soon that my whole Christian existence was finished. It was that desperate. (The Church in the Marketplace p.6,7)
Carey goes on to describe he renewal through the work of the Holy Spirit. He describes the difference of this renewal and his restoration to a love of Christ, a desire to read the Scriptures, a longing to share his faith with others and a desire to praise God. Although he would not define himself as charismatic his experience demonstrated many of the features of a charismatic renewal. Mostly, he was thankful that his theology had found a living soul (Carey, p.10).The work of this “crisis” served to allow Him to continue in working with a local parish and then later to be the Archbishop of Canterbury. On concluding his ministry at Durham Carey notes that the last thing that he did there was to talk and pray with a man who wanted to know more about the Christian faith (Carey p.154).
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