20. 19 August 1986


Dear Nancy,

I enclose the latest Longley, in case you hadn't seen it. The Bishop of Durham seemed to address the General Synod as if he had strayed into a madhouse, and was received as if he had Strayed out of one. Let's compromise and call both viewpoints right. Durham seems to believe that God was incarnate in Trotsky; a sort of Church Militant Tendency.

   I think your relativism is a kind of Buddhism, or perhaps Christibuddhity. Its key word is unkowingly. I think you may have discovered agnosticism. But then why postulate the sort of God who produces the Universe? Why not just The Universe? It's more economical, by an infinite margin. Then of course God can be immanent in it. The difficulty is that, according to most religionists, only the transcendence matters. But I quite agree with you: there's no virtue and no salvation, not to mention no sense, in seeking to understand what by definition we cannot. Let each seek God in what lies immediately to hand: in our friends, our lovers, our books and our garden. Let us address God as 'Your Immanence', indwelling in the topics and pursuits we find so curiously compulsive. Wherefore I perceive that there is nothing better, than that a man should rejoice in his own works, for that is his portion: for who shall bring him to see what shall be after him? Or of course her own works, e.g. on theology. Or, faute de mieux, Shakespeare's works.

Love as ever, E.