So, farewell, Rowan Williams. Actually he still has nine months left as Archbishop of Canterbury, apart from the England manager’s job, the most poisoned chalice of all. But now he’s announced his departure, he’s on borrowed time.
In Britain we marvel at the excesses of American Christianity and pat ourselves on the back that it couldn’t happen here. But the position of Williams was such that his role was to paper over the cracks. We expect intolerant ravings from the Catholics and the Muslims but the good old CofE is supposed to be above all that, and in the minds of many is supposed to reflect both our spiritual (whatever that is) and our national identity. This wasn’t Henry VIII’s initial purpose, to be sure. Continue reading
Some quite shocking news this week. In France a gunman, over the last nine days, has killed seven people – three soldiers of North African or Caribbean origin and yesterday (March 19) a religious teacher and three children. Another teenager, shot in the same incident, is gravely ill. Whether the perpetrator(s) is an extremist right-wing, racist, anti-Semitic or something else is not much more than speculation at the moment. Hopefully he will have left enough clues to ensure his quick capture.
In England the shock was provided during an FA Cup quarter final. The Bolton midfielder, Fabrice Muamba, without warning and unattended by anyone, suddenly collapsed from a massive coronary attack and stopped breathing. It goes without saying that someone of his profession, especially a “box-to-box” midfielder like Muamba, would be regarded as fitter than virtually all of his contemporaries, and this made the news more shocking than ever. If nothing else, the event was a salutary reminder of life’s unpredictability. Muamba was on the pitch, unconscious, for six minutes, before being rushed to hospital. The players, officials and spectators couldn’t be fully aware of events, almost unique as they were, but there was a sense that something was deeply wrong. This was one of those “only a game” moments that we don’t see often enough. Continue reading