Another reflection from "That was the Church, That Was".
Some of the text spins me off into my own reflection - I started wondering about the similarities between Rowan Williams and that other scruffy beard wearer, not mentioned in the book as far as I recall, Jeremy Corbyn. The popularity of both among their followers is unaccountable to me. I've never understood a single sentence of Williams's writing. I can cope with the individual words. I understand the meaning of nearly every individual word. But put them together into a six-page sentence and I 'm lost. Yet the people who like him, love him. You can't say a word against him. The word I used was "incomprehensible." People didn't like it.
Likewise Corbyn. His cycling, I like. A solid workhorse, that bike. Good for the planet, good for the health, good for keeping plenty of space on the road. His bike is a winner. But ignoring the bike. His followers are convinced he's a genius who can save the UK. The rest of us consider him an utter liability to his party.
Williams's letting down of Jeffrey John is investigated at great length in the book - and used as a mirror to his saintly, otherworldly image. Likewise Corbyn's followers see him as a great idealist. Yet the rest of us wonder about his dealings with Iran and the IRA. How can a man who is the leader of a great "progressive" party make broadcasts for a country where women are oppressed, dissent is stifled, prisoners are raped and tortured? (I'm going to say that I think Rowan was pushed into a corner on this whereas Corbyn, free from responsibility at the time, has no excuse).
So both our bearded heroes are responsible for leading their respective organisations into irrelevance and obscurity, while their followers think they're great.
There are those who believe that the Labour party - or its grassroots supporters - are no longer a party. It has become a religious cult - investing its hopes in a bloke with a gray beard who can miraculously restore it to purity, regardless of what the real world thinks of it. If that's the case, maybe that gives us the clue to the Church of England. It's not meant to run society, or even align with society. It will break up into groups of increasing purity, increasing isolation. While the liberals will pat people's hands until they all die.And they'll read Rowan's poetry, obviously. He's a saint.