A few days ago, I reviewed a volume of poetry by Rowan Williams, the current Archbishop of Canterbury. I knew a little bit about him before writing this, but a kind UK reader of that post sent me a couple links. One was the text of an address that Williams gave to a gay/lesbian organization. The other was a faithful evangelical critique of Williams’ positions. Having read through both, I was struck in the critique by how simple and honest the truth is, and, in reading Williams, how screwed up intellectuals can get.
Once the fog machine starts, an experienced audience prepares for some arcane theological sophistication, erudite and nuanced insights, and grappling with the contours of profound philosophical and relational questions. Which is all very well, but at some point even the biggest hot air balloon has to come down to earth. And when it comes down, the faithful Christian will mark well where it lands. “Therefore, caring homosexual relationships are not to be rejected out of hand . . .” And when it lands there, the saint with an open Bible is in a position to reject (with high-minded enthusiasm) all the theological noodling that went before the absurd conclusion.
For example, there are astrophysicists who, with their mathematical calculations, could blow both my doors off. I still have trouble after eight times five. They could fill up two blackboards with their chalky brilliance, none of which I could even begin to follow. But if at the end this macarena dance line of equations, they conclude with something like “therefore poodles are space aliens,” I reserve to myself the right to a horse laugh anyway.
Far from being an able shepherd of souls, Rowan Williams is one confused puppy.