WE WILL REMEMBER HIM

From THE TELEGRAPH:

Dr Rowan Williams has refused to be drawn on the issue publicly, but has broken his silence to tell MPs he is not prepared for the Coalition to tell the Church how to behave. He told a private meeting of influential politicians that the Church of England would not bow to public pressure to allow its buildings to be used to conduct same-sex civil partnerships.

COMMENT: Rowan Williams is an academic. He writes books. I have never met an academic or an author who does not want to be remembered, to be referred to in books yet to be written.

But, perhaps, Williams is the exception that proves the rule. Perhaps he does not want to be remembered.

It doesn't matter. Because he is going to be remembered and is going to be in a lot of the future's history books.

My two favourite history books are "The Victorian Church" (vols. 1 and 2) by Owen Chadwick and "A History of English Christianity 1920 - 1990" by Adrian Hastings. Both these works are full of heroes, villains, those who were right and those who got it incredibly wrong. Williams will already know that he will go down in history as one of the latter. He knows that one day, relatively soon, same sex couples will be getting married in church in the same way that women have the vote and you can't discriminate against black people at work. He knows that a future archbishop of Canterbury will publicly apologise for the pain he, and his precious Church, caused LGBT people over so many years just as he has apologised for the slave trade and the pope has apologised to the scientists his church persecuted over the centuries. He knows all this, so his sacrifice of his own reputation is deliberate.

Maybe he thinks his is a Christlike sacrifice.

But Jesus made his sacrifice so that others might live. Williams' sacrifice, albeit not his intention, is the opposite. Jesus became one with those who suffer. Williams has declared himself to be one with those who persecute. Jesus sought unity through love. Williams seeks unity through law.

There is nothing Christlike in expediency. There is no worth in sacrificing oneself for a mere concept. In fact, such a sacrifice becomes abhorrent when it requires the sacrifice of human beings.

We will remember him.

Comments

WE WILL REMEMBER HIM — 33 Comments

  1. Preach it, MP!

    [Dr Rowan Williams has refused to be drawn on the issue publicly, but has broken his silence to tell MP: did anyone else for a FRACTION of a second read that wrong? ;-/]

  2. What a pile of it Rowan stepped in there. He takes his stand against the government imposing justice and equality on the church. I suppose he’ll go to the Tower before he compromises his principles. How courageous of him.

    That his churches are already being used to bless same-sex relationships is hid behind the veil of hypocrisy.

    Jesus said, “Take up your cross” and gave the leaders of his time a brutal tongue-lashing for laying heavy burdens on others and not lifting a finger to help them.

    We will remember him.

    Indeed!

  3. Don’t you run an ABC Wednesday (or something like that). As ABC stands for Archbishop of Canterbury he probably thought it was about him.

  4. “I suppose he’ll go to the Tower before he compromises his principles.” (Grandmère Mimi)

    “Forasmuch as my hand offended in writing contrary to my heart, there my hand shall first be punished; for if I may come to the fire, it shall first be burned.” (Archbishop Thomas Cranmer)

    +Rowan, please copy.

  5. So is he also opposing allowing religions that do want to celebrate same-sex civil unions from doing so as that is what the current debate is about?

  6. “It’s only possible for marriage to be between a man and a woman,” he said.

    Look the church carries on about what marriage is or isn’t yet marriage still keeps changing as times change. No one did more to try to put the sword into marriage than that great misanthrop St Paul. He urged people to stay away from it and the church did it’s best to make sure huge populations of men and women lived in separate quarters shagging when and where they could,… but avoiding marriage like the plague. Surely the church can hardly lecture the rest of the population on the topic.

  7. At some point, the church lost its way, thinking that its existence is its mission, and protecting the faithful (i.e., those with belief systems most likely closest to the perceived arhetype) its highest calling.

    I know I’ve said it before, and I’ll likely say it again, but some times it’s as if Jesus never were.

  8. I think what[s sad about Rowan is that he switched sides, so to speak, to try to keep the church together, which only assured he would rent it assunder even faster. He broke with his own beliefs, catering to those opposed, and manage neither unity, nor constancy, nor honor.

  9. @Erp: WORD.

    While we’re saying we’ll remember him, I can’t help but wonder if the better thing isn’t to forget him? [Y’know, ala the translation of the Cee-Lo Green song: “Forget You!” >;-/]

  10. So by trying to remain true to the Scriptural principle of marriage between men and women only Rowan WIlliams is in the wrong? Or pandering to the hardliners?

    Surely it is his job to keep to good doctrine even if it doesn’t please everyone. There is no Scriptural warrant for same sex marriage and most do not support it so why should Rowan support it?

  11. Doctrine is a human invention and a piss poor invention at that. But you are young, WP, and still in need of strict definition in your life. You will gradually become more independent and less scared as you get further from birth and nearer to death. In the meantime try not to hurt too many people.

  12. MadPriest, you beat me to it. I was coming over to say to WP that, for me, people trump doctrine, always, always, always.

    WP, did you ever take time to reflect on the number of activities of our daily lives for which there is no scriptural warrant? I’ll wager that you engage in a good many of those activities yourself.

  13. Ahh but wait a second… I sin. I sin a lot, in fact I sin almost constantly (John Knox would probably say I do sin constantly) but I am disappointed in myself at my sinning and try to change. I beg Christ for mercy and I hope He hears my cries.

    Homosexuality is a sin, it is a sin that many commit and will continue to commit. But sin of any sort should not be tolerated within the church… repentance should be expected and by accepting homosexual marriage wouldn’t we be accepting something that is sinful as ok?

    People trump doctrine is true, however Christ trumps sin. He does not accept it or ignore it. SO why should we?

  14. WP, I wasn’t necessarily speaking of sinful activities. The Bible has nothing to say about much of what we do in our lives, so to use “there is no scriptural warrant” as part of your argument furthers your case not at all.

    If I did not know better, I’d thing you were old and set in your ways. Alas, you are young, but I can only hope not so set in your ways that you will stay stuck where you are.

  15. I sin. I sin a lot, in fact I sin almost constantly

    I very much doubt it. You’ll probably find that, like the rest of us, you’re just a bit of an arse at times.

    But, if you really are convinced that you have erred and strayed I suggest you worry about sorting yourself out and stop worrying about perceived naughtiness in others.

  16. Homosexuality is a sin

    No.

    If you have a Bible that says that, WP, then you KNOW you have a cr@p translation. Get rid of it!

    There is sin IN homosexuality . . . and it’s EXACTLY the same as sin IN heterosexuality.

    Well, not quite the same. There’s more sin in heterosexuality, because it includes ALL the sins of homosexuality (selfishness, greed, sexual objectification, etc etc etc) PLUS the sin of Power-Over Non-Heterosexuals.

    [While objectively heterosexuals are worse sinners then, I like to cut them some slack. They didn’t CHOOSE to be heterosexual after all!]

  17. “I beg Christ for mercy and I hope He hears my cries.”

    Oh my, how did I get behind on this discussion?

    I believe we all have hope, WP, which is far beyond a wish as I understand you to have used the word in this context.

    I wouldn’t put it quite the way you’ve phrased it, as Christ, IMHO, is far greater than a sum of teachings that allows this and “trumps” that. That was the law and If you are going to live by it, you don’t get to pick and chose. So, you’d better get busy, I suspect, but that’s entirely up to you.

    Meanwhile, I take great encouragement from the fact that most of Jesus’ words of condemnation recorded in scripture are reserved for the religious who would place burdens on others. Ironic, no? Jesus rocks in any age.

  18. So what is the option available to us? Do we change translations each time we find something we find personally offensive?

    Yes Heterosexuals sin as do Homosexuals… that is a truth we all agree on. However Homosexuality is referred to in both the Old Testament and the New as a sinful practice. So what do we do? Do we defend the Biblical text or do we reject it as outdated? Do we make a new text to match our social values or what?

    Are we the Church militant opposed to and in warfare with sin or are we a social group that accepts sin?

  19. WP, you must live as the Spirit leads you, and I do not believe such leading is idle. However, we are then called to live in peace with those with whom we have disagreement. But, keep in mind, it is those who believed they had perfect understanding of Biblical text, but were unable to live with those who they believed did not, who killed Jesus.

    It is only if we believe that the Spirit is dead, or impotent, that we then feel that we need to act as if we need to be doing the work of the Spirit. If the Spirit is alive, and I believe that is the case, then we really have no obligation in such debates but then to love. If we love, with God’s help, the other things will take care of themselves.

    My father, an evangelical man, understood this. He would have been considered by others to be a “literalist” when it came to his understanding of scripture, yet he knew all things had to be seen through the “prism” of Christ, and his practice of allowing others the grace and dignity of discovering that some times got him in trouble with the conservative crowd in which he spent most of his life. But, it was with a true sense of gratitude, that I chose as the inscription on his grave marker, “Christ our life.” I think it is in resting in that truth, that you will answer your own questions.

  20. That’s the stupidest and most arrogant post I’ve read in a long time.

    “Williams knows I’m right, and he knows that he will go down in history as being wrong! I tell you, he knows that his beliefs are wrong and will be disapproved of in the future!”

    Or maybe, just maybe, he disagrees with you.

  21. That’s the stupidest and most arrogant post I’ve read in a long time.

    “Williams knows I’m right, and he knows that he will go down in history as being wrong! I tell you, he knows that his beliefs are wrong and will be disapproved of in the future!”

    Or maybe, just maybe, he disagrees with you.

  22. “Williams knows I’m right, and he knows that he will go down in history as being wrong! I tell you, he knows that his beliefs are wrong and will be disapproved of in the future!”

    I can’t find this quotation in the post.