« Lent Reading | Main | Bonhoeffer Blog Conference »

Friday, February 08, 2008


Three cheers for the 'Guardian'! Bishop Condemns 'Shameful' Sharia Outcry 8 Feb 08.

The first measured report I've seen on this issue, giving both sides by some people who might even have read the original lecture.

I'm particularly interested in the comments by Tariq Ramadan who is capable of a pretty nuanced argument himself.

I fear your analysis is accurate Andy. And for me, Ruth Gledhill's comments are even more depressing than the comments they elicit.

But will he now be able to have the conversation he seeks above the clamour generated by the general and, sadly predictable, misreporting?

The press now seem to have their metanarrative firmly decided as far as the Archbishop is concerned (ask any England football manager) and they'll look for every opportunity to fall back on it whenever he says something they don't instantly understand or agree with.

The comments on Ruth Gledhill's blog make depressing reading.

I couldn't agree more Andy. But that means I want to applaud Williams for his dogged refusal to take complex issues and reduce them to the level of media soundbites. There is something here about the nature of Christian / theological discourse which actually lies at the heart of Williams' own theological project and that, suprisingly and wonderfully, informs his utterances as a church leader (would that there were more examples). None of this is to say that he has got it right, but it is to say that every unreflective, kneejerk reaction is not really a part of the conversation that Williams is looking to have.

My dilemma here is that I feel Rowan Williams needs both defending and questioning.

I heard the interview on the radio and thought two things:

first 'here is a good man who understands with intellectual rigour the nuances of Sharia as a way of life, and who has just been in dialogue with a community who feel the calls and demands of a faith that is at odds with its cultural surroundings.

second: he hasn't a hope in Hell of being understood by 99% of the population, let alone the majority of British reporters who didn't even understand what he had to say authoritatively about the Christian gospels at Christmas.

I would be interested to know whether the Archbishop offered the interview, or was targeted by the reporter, who will probably have known he was due to speak to a Muslim audience on this very subject.

I agree with Andy Goodliff that Paul Vallely in the Independent has some good points, but it depresses me profoundly that we can't speak publicly with understanding and rigour on issues that matter deeply in our society today without being misunderstood and rubbished. I guess this is the same depressing reality for any thinking politician, that they too either have to express themselves in soundbites or risk being called an irrelevance or a menace.

God, help us.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Keeping in Touch

  • Readers and Friends

Currently Reviewing

Recent Posts from My Blogroll