Wednesday, 26 September 2012

An Uninteresting Horse Race

I suppose it's almost expected for a blog like this to comment on the Archbishop of Canterbury horse race. But what I'm hoping is different, that when this one retires we can largely forget about the next one.

I have been interested in Rowan Williams because of his turnaround ethically and his deceptive theology. The narrative theology he promotes is one about stories, and not about history, but he treats it at a level of detail that suggests it is history, and indeed when put in a corner, as by Simon Mayo (of all people), he has made claims that the birth narratives are historical - I think he said, "I think so, yes," to these narratives as history. But elsewhere he said that the virgin birth that he used to regard as unimportant he came to regard as more important - whatever that means. It's all a sophisticated level of double-speak, and the deception it involves needs cracking open.

And his whole time as Archbishop has been to put the Church first and people second - the Covenant being his principle policy that, fortunately, was taken from him. He allowed the worst elements to call the shots, again the low point being around 2007.

Frankly we've got better material from the Chief Rabbi about the interface between religion (again as guiding stories) and the work of secular science and the influence of other faiths and philosophies. For someone of orthodox Jewry, he really has been interesting. He has been curtailed a little by fellow rabbis. Rowan Williams has also been generous regarding the texts of other faiths but this never equated with his lack of breadth in his own Church and Communion (often deliberately mistaken as a Church).

So I don't care whether the capitalist in Durham wins (who can run an organisation) or a safe pair of hands or whatever. It matters little. Well, not unless this continuing recession and unmoved debt in an unbalanced world economy leads politicians towards pessimism, nationalism and war, and then we might have to wake up some potentially ethical leaders if indeed they are ethical leaders.

Other than that I'll be less interested in the next one than I have been in the disaster that has been this one.


mwp said...

"It's all a sophisticated level of double-speak, and the deception it involves needs cracking open."

Is it? And does it?

Unless your theology explicitly denies the idea of divine intervention in all cases, the virgin birth seems to me a perfect example of a place where one just can't pretend to know the historical case. There's only one person who could possibly know -- a frightened 12 (or whatever) year old, speaking decades after the fact -- and I imagine very little hangs on the historical question in the Archbishop's mind in any case(as in mine). Why decide once and for all, one way or the other? And, if you know that many people in the world see you as the "chief decider" on religious matters (however you view yourself), why make a public proclamation about an issue you can't know the truth of, don't claim any special insight into, and don't think is important in any case? Why not leave it alone, as best you can?

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Because the event is contained in text that is narrative story, in conflict with other text. And virgin births are a nonsense regarding any human being. I'm no chief decider, I'm just stating the bleeding obvious.