Coffee House

The Guardian’s latest crush: Justin Welby

20 August 2013

1:52 PM

20 August 2013

1:52 PM

The Church of England has had some surprisingly good press recently. Who knows how these things happen, but the media seems to have decided to stop attacking its homophobia, and to start praising its social vision. The change at Lambeth Palace seems to have prompted this shift, which is a bit ironic, as Justin Welby is far more involved in the sexually illiberal side of Anglicanism than Rowan Williams was, but never mind. It has also been prompted by persistently hard economic times: the Church’s involvement in deprived communities gradually wins it more attention. Maybe it has insights that normal political bodies lack.

Would you believe it? Some of the Church’s recent pronouncements seem to have penetrated the hardened atheism of two of the Guardian’s sassiest columnists. A few weeks ago Marina Hyde declared that she had a ‘crush’ on the new Archbishop of Canterbury, following his tough words about payday loan companies. And last week Zoe Williams declared herself similarly smitten by the Church’s stand against fracking. She said this: ‘I find my lack of faith ever more tested by a church that acts more like an opposition than the opposition.’

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These are remarkable statements that should excite feelings of reverent wonder in all Christians. Ms Hyde’s emotional attraction to the archbishop surely betokens a spiritual attraction to the person of Christ. Even more stunning is that the issue of fracking has proved an occasion of grace, opening Ms Williams’ mind to the divinity of our Lord. For what else can it mean, that her lack of faith is being tested?

Or maybe these writers are just sassing around, in their normal charming manner, and are not really rethinking their atheism. I might seem to be taking a couple of hyperbolic comments rather too seriously, but there’s a serious point here. The Church can fairly easily make political interventions that please the left, and receive some pleasant pats on the head. But what do these endorsements amount to? The Church does not exist to persuade people that it’s a force for social good. It exists to persuade people that the worship of Jesus Christ is a good idea. This is a taller order. How on earth can it make Christian worship seem the most important thing in the world? It is naturally tempted to put that vexingly difficult question aside, and focus on an easier one: what sort of things should it say about politics so as to win the vague approval of people like Ms Hyde and Ms Williams?


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Show comments
  • MrCravat

    This is the same man who knowingly presides over a Church with assets of £7 billion pounds and has a Pension Fund( ( £5.2 Billion ) that invests 10% of its cash reserves in Hedge Funds..

    I would have more respect for the CoE if it paid taxes on the £900million it rakes in…and even more respect if it did NOT claim back a 25% rebate from HMRC (84m) in the form of Gift Aid..

    Those leftists swooning over Justin Welby may well think again,especially as letters have been sent out regarding mineral right over the hundreds of thousands of acres of land they own..

  • Jane Doe

    ‘The Church does not exist to persuade people that it’s a force for
    social good. It exists to persuade people that the worship of Jesus
    Christ is a good idea.’

    No dammit it just an uppity political-and-social club and a big feudal landlord! Look at the value of the assets it holds!

    The c of e was formed by Harry VIII for person and political but NOT religious reasons…

    Love it! 😀

  • Dan Grover

    “Ms Hyde’s emotional attraction to the archbishop surely betokens a spiritual attraction to the person of Christ.”

    Hmmmmmm. He did, famously, have a particularly tough stance on Fracking, did Jesus.

  • Barakzai

    ”I find my lack of faith ever more tested . . .’ Eh? Oh, it’s a Guardian columnist. ’nuff said.

  • dalai guevara

    The notion that either the State Religion or the Head of State were in fact apolitical is a line dished out to the plebs to calm their unhinged anger about things. Of course anyone in the picture would know that this was never the case.
    So, given neither of them are apolitical, we ought to welcome their public statements and actions in the interest of the nation.

  • HookesLaw

    ‘Zoe Williams declared herself similarly smitten by the Church’s stand against fracking.’
    Should we take any notice of what newspaper columnists say? The Church has in fact opposed the protesters (who seem to be professional anarchists from all over the world who are not really interested in the issues) and has said fracking can help the poor and claims no official stance either way.

    The notion that the natural place for the church is the bigoted nutjobs of UKIP is rather amusing.

  • Drabble

    Welby has the makings of John Paul the second

  • Coffee House the Wall

    Time for those with a spiritual bent to come over to us.

    http://www.coffeehousewall.co.uk/the-coffee-house-wall-19th25th-august/

  • Emulous

    All stuff and nonsense.
    The established church is full of the backbone of England.
    It is more at home thankfully with UKIP than Miliband’s Agnostic Priests.
    Oh yes Nicky Gumbel may write for Speccie and peddle his evangelical socialist wares in the left wing BBC, Guardian and Independent.
    But the heart and sole of the Church is with us.

  • Austin Barry

    The CofE is on a journey from the Conservative Party at prayer, to the Labour Party at prayer, and will no doubt finish up, drooping, attenuated and frightened, as the Dhimmi Party at prayer. Rather than playing to the leftist gallery, the ABC should consider a more robust response to the attacks on Christians and churches in Egypt, Nigeria and Pakistan, or would that threaten domestic community cohesion and upset the likes of Zoe and Marina?

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Exactly. Far easier to pose and whinge about Wonga than oppose the murder of christians in the Middle East and beyond. Fck fracking and get on with challenging dhimmis in the Government, EU and UN.

  • brossen99
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