I inledningen till boken Uncommon Gratitude berättar Joan Chittister att hon vid ett tillfälle frågade Rowan Williams, dåvarande ärkebiskopen av Canterbury:
”What really interests you most about spiritual life?” He paused for a moment. “I find myself coming back again and again,” he said, “to the meaning of ‘alleluia’”. And then we were off. It took two days of thinking together in the archbishop’s London office at Lambeth Palace to find our way through to what we were both saying in slightly different accents: Life itself is an exercise in learning to sing alleleuia here in order to recognize the face of God hidden in the recesses of time.
Tillsammans skrev de sedan en bok om att sjunga halleluja till allt som är. I bokens första kapitel skriver de om reaktionerna i USA efter attacken mot World Trade Center i New York den 11 september 2001. De konstaterar att det var tydligt att den chauvinistiska religionen fick företräde framför tron (faith). ”Religion had managed to eclipse faith.”
Och de frågar sig varför det blev så. Varför blev religion så mycket viktigare än tro? Frågan är naturligtvis fortsatt aktuell. Likaså deras försök till svar.
The answer to the question cuts to the core of the spiritual life. The fact is that it might well be that deep down we are still substituting a kind of magic for faith. God we make a cornucopia of human desires, a vending machine of human delights. We coax God to be on our side and call it faith. We cajole God to save us from ourselves and call it devotion. For those things there is little room for alleluia.
Och så följer vägledande ord om att låta sig vägledas av trons förhållningssätt. Ord att meditera över i fastan. Låter vi Gud vara Gud?
The truth is that faith requires the awareness that God is and that God is holding all of us responsible for the other. Being a card-carrying member of a religious tradition does not give us the right to consume the world for our ends and in the name of God. […] It is giving ourselves for the welfare of the rest of the world to which we are called. […] Faith is belief that God is leading us to become in tune with the universe, however different we see ourselves to be. Faith is trust in the unknown goodness of life without demand for certainty in the science of it. […] faith is not about understanding the ways of God. It is not about maneuvering God into a position of human subjugation, making a God who is a benign deity who exists to see life as we do.
Faith, in fact, is not about understanding at all. It is about awe in the face of the God of all. And it is awe that inspires an alleluia in the human soul. […] We take our very lack of control as a sign of God’s presence in the world. It is precisely because of our smallness that we can come to see and trust the greatness of God that surrounds us. It is only then that we can really come to see the face of God in the face of the other.
Chittister, Joan och Williams, Rowan, Uncommon Gratitude. Alleluia For All That Is (Liturgical Press: Collegeville, 2010).