Thursday, August 15, 2013

'For goodness sake, grow up'

I'm not, to be sure, on ex-Archbeard Williams's 'side', but there are a few things he said here which are definitely not wrong.

Such as on the issue of words and their use.

Words, that is, like 'persecution':

"When you've had any contact with real persecuted minorities you learn to use the word very chastely," he said. "Persecution is not being made to feel mildly uncomfortable. 'For goodness sake, grow up,' I want to say."

True persecution was "systematic brutality and often murderous hostility that means that every morning you wonder if you and your children are going to live through the day". He cited the experience of a woman he met in India "who had seen her husband butchered by a mob".

Or, 'spirituality':

He added: "Speaking from the Christian tradition, the idea that being spiritual is just about having nice experiences is rather laughable. Most people who have written seriously about the life of the spirit in Christianity and Judaism spend a lot of their time telling you how absolutely bloody awful it is."  

It's striking how similar some of the comments he made here are similar to those sometimes made within a group of (mainly Anglican) Christian intellectuals in the 1930s and 1940s that I'm currently researching. 

Especially things like this:

"The risk of being reduced to an NGO, another woolly, well-meaning liberal thinktank or ambulance service – that's not a fate I would relish for my church," he said.
I can see that, I have to say. 


Geoff Coupe said...

Nice to see Rowan putting the knife into Lord Carey in such a caring, Christian manner.

He was far too nice to be Archbish. Hence his complete failure to deal with the utter nastiness in some parts of the Anglican Church.

John Carter Wood said...

He's someone I've always tended to have personal respect for, even if in his official role I'd have liked to see more decisiveness on some issues. But it's a complicated beast, the Anglican Communion, and the Archbiship of Canterbury, as I understand it, has little direct authority and has to more or less lead by persuasion.

Which given the 'nastiness' of some of its parts, as you say, makes it difficult.