Friday, 16 March 2012
Rowan Williams moves on
I heard about William's resignation in college today and my first thought was that much as I love all the drama (stifles yawn...) I hope that we won't see too much bitching and in-fighting. Then on the way home I heard someone from Reform saying how we needed a chap who would uphold biblical teaching (about women and gays, obviously...is there any other kind of teaching?) and someone from Inclusive Church saying that we need someone who can engage in a relevant way with the issues of today ( those would be issues about women and gays then?)
It seemed particularly apposite that Rowan Williams chose to bow out, wise man, on the very day that the Government launched its consultation on gay marriage. The Government seems to be quite clear that it is not consulting on whether to have gay marriage or not, it is just consulting generally, then it will go ahead no matter what. Whatever my own views on the whole subject, I can't help but feel that this railroading on a matter which many people have such strong views on may be unwise. There is already a great deal of anxiety (paranoia?) amongst some Christians and the Government's apparent disregard is likely to just fuel the sense of marginalisation and the sense that faith is being "driven out of the public square". Some of the more inflammatory statements by people such as Cardinal O'Brien will also serve to feed a growing public perception of people of faith as bigoted. There is some stereotyping of Christians in Britain. It is not a happy state of affairs.
Some might say it is a difficult time to be a Christian and others that it is difficult to see the way forward for the Church. Williams has faced a great deal of criticism while in office, but I think we might miss his gentle and nuanced approach. I guess Rowan Williams, as he contemplates his future, might think that for him things can only get better. I am not sure the same can be said for the Church.