Thinking Anglicans

after the firestorm

Mark Rice-Oxley of the Christian Science Monitor wrote Anglican Archbishop: too intellectual to lead?

When it comes to leadership in the Church of England, the former Bishop of Norwich once reportedly said: “If you want to lead someone in this part of the world, find out where they’re going. And walk in front of them.”

Rowan Williams, who celebrates five years as Archbishop of Canterbury next week, could never be accused of doing that…

Andrew Brown wrote at Comment is free that We need the Church of England:

There’s no point now in kicking the corpse of the Archbishop of Canterbury’s career as a public intellectual. After the debacle of Rowan Williams’ speech on sharia, no one who has to make decisions will ever take seriously anything he says again. Nor will they take seriously the church he is supposed to lead. If you want to know what he is good at, there is a rather fine funeral oration online that he gave at the funeral of a Cambridge don in the middle of all the outrage. But nothing he says now matters to anyone who isn’t mourning.

It is time to look at the damage he has done to others, and not just himself; one of the things that his flameout has illuminated is just how dangerous disestablishment might prove. The last thought-provoking thing that I heard him say was at a radio award ceremony where he had to present himself, or at least his producer, with a third place prize for religious radio. He said that it was not true that religion must always lead to conflict, but almost always true that in any sufficiently serious conflict you would find religion.

I wish he had developed and made more explicit that line of thought, because it provides the beginning of a justification for the existence of the Church of England. The defenders of a place for religion in public life do not have to suppose that religious belief is true, and many of them don’t – in fact all of them suppose that most religious dogma must be false. The question is not whether irrationality is irrational; it is how it can best be managed…

7
Leave a Reply

avatar
3000
7 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
7 Comment authors
Christopher ShellL RobertsMartin ReynoldsJCFSteven Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest
Notify of
L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

Surely religion is true in the way that Peggotty is true and Barkis, and Aunt Trotwood and Mr Dick and the donkies ? …..

And ‘a snake came to my water-trough on a hot hot day / and I in pyjamas for the heat / to drink there.’

And the Greek myths and the Mabinogion ….

And the worlds and works of Blake, Purcell and Byrd, Matisse and van Gogh, Wagner and R. Strauss; and Plath, Sexton and Mrs Gaskell ……
………….

Prior Aelred
Guest

I understand that it is the liberals in the Church of Norway who are fighting to retain establishment to prevent the fundamentalists from taking over, so there’s that. Sadly, it seems to me that it is far too late for the C of E to “establish” any sort of credibility with the vast majority of the British, generally a fairly open-minded and tolerant people who have been increasingly alienated from the the “Church of England” as it has become more and more an Evangelical sect that says that they are not good enough to be members of the Church (IMHO).

Steven
Guest
Steven

L. Roberts:

Hmmm. Perhaps I am poetically impaired, but I find it difficult to fathom what you are trying to say here. About the best I can do is: Religion is true the way fictional characters, myths and works of art are true. If so, I would say that true religion is not less, but it is certainly much more. However, it may be that I have missed your point entirely.

Steven

JCF
Guest
JCF

“If, say, the Economist got its way and the Church of England were disestablished, and replaced by the American model of a confusion of sects all competing for votes, what could stop them responding to the popular demand for a condemnation of Islam?” As I write from the land of “confusion of sects all competing for votes”, I still disagree w/ Brown. In a democratic society (See, NOT like Iraq!), the “sects” learn to take a certain minimal responsibility for keeping the peace, and those who forthrightly go about “demanding… a condemnation of Islam” are likely to be censured by… Read more »

Martin Reynolds
Guest

People make a living writing stuff like this ……

L Roberts
Guest
L Roberts

Steven I am in no positon to assess your degree of ‘poetic impairment’-if any. However, you seem to have got my drift ! You may want to read the DH Lawrence poem ‘Snake’ in its entirety, perhaps.I probably should have given it in full. A great challenge. For myself, I can’t see how religion could be ‘truer’ than a work of art (verbal, visual etc). But would this mean the doctrines of religion, the rites, the Scriptures, other writings , OR the rites when enacted and ‘performed’ in a living act of worship / theatre ? I am very fond… Read more »

Christopher Shell
Guest
Christopher Shell

Hi L Roberts & Steven-

What you say about ‘religion’ may or may not be true, but how is ‘religion’ (whatever ‘religion ‘ is) directly relevant to being a believer in Christ? The earliest believers had no sacred buildings, no formal ‘liturgy’, no sacrifice, no priesthood. They were ‘real-life’ people, not religion people.

In schools today we learn about religion in a rather fundamentalist ‘one-size-fits-all’ contortion of the facts. It is so obviously more scholarly not to presuppose that any given raw data will conform to one’s preconceived idea of ‘religion’. Maybe it will; maybe it won’t.