Rowan Williams: An Appreciation

Interesting piece from A. N. Wilson in the London Spectator:

Rowan Williams is sufficiently intelligent and normal to be aware that in the West, being religious these days is, outside America, very distinctly odd, and trying to defend Christianity against the whole ethos of materialism and scientific rationalism which most intelligent people take for granted is a more than intellectual task. We might very well be living in Christianity’s last days. Many of us who go to church do so a little wistfully, knowing that, unlike Rowan Williams, we do not believe in the ways which our ancestors did. ‘Our prayers so languid and our faith so dim’ is one of the few lines of a hymn which we could sing with gusto. ‘Fightings within and fears without’ might be another.

Yes, Rowan Williams brings cleverness and originality and subtlety to public debate, and those are not qualities to be sneezed at, even if they are repellent to so many bigots in the press and the Church. But he also has a quality which can’t be faked and which is always shown in the life and death of a martyr: holiness. When the last church on earth has closed, that will be the quality which the human race will most miss about the days of faith. The only tests Rowan is failing as Archbishop are ones not worth posing: silly posturings on both sides about homosexuality or women priests. In all the essential things, he is just what the Church and the nation most need. Of course, when it has a godsend, what does the Church of England do? It calls for his resignation.

One thought on “Rowan Williams: An Appreciation

  1. Pingback: A.N. Other Religious Convert « Bartholomew’s Notes on Religion

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