On the eve of retiring from his tenancy of the Archbishopric of Canterbury (thus head of the third-largest Christian denomination in the world), Rowan Williams has finally, publicly, utterly abandoned the pretence of being a Christian.
In last year's January the First broadcast, RW managed to restrict mention of Christianity until the last minute of a four-and-a half minute broadcast.
But this year he has succeeded in eliminating from his final broadcast any reference to Christianity whatsoever.
To be frank - such honesty comes as a bit of a relief.
I only wish he could have been honest about his apostasy a wee bit earlier - for example ten years earlier, before he took the Canterbury job...
Archbishop Rowan Williams' New Year Message
1st January 2013
I make a broadcast like this one, I’m acutely aware of the gap between
what I’m seeing here and what you’re looking at, at home. You see me
now sitting quietly in my study. What I’m seeing is a small crowd of
wonderfully expert and efficient technicians doing the filming,
meticulously checking the pictures and the sound. What we see happening
is only a small part of what’s going on in order to make it happen.
this last year we had a chance to notice this, for once, in a very
vivid way. The extraordinary events of the Olympics and Paralympics
last summer provided an unforgettable spectacle. But everyone who
visited the Olympic site or watched the broadcasts will have been made
aware of the army of volunteers who cheerfully gave up their free time
and worked away, without complaint, all hours of the day and night to
make these great events happen. They were the key people who translated
the Olympic vision into reality for the rest of us.
It ought to
make us think a bit harder about all the other folk who quietly, often
invisibly, turn vision into reality and just make things happen –
especially volunteers. Here at the Robes project, over twenty local
churches are combining to offer food and shelter to homeless people in
London. Religion here isn’t a social problem or an old-fashioned
embarrassment, it’s a wellspring of energy and a source of life-giving
vision for how people should be regarded and treated. So let’s
recognise this steady current of generosity that underlies so much of
our life together in this country and indeed worldwide.
based on one vision – to make our society, our whole world, work for
everyone, not just the comfortable and well off. And it’s a vision that
sometimes seems to need Olympic levels of patient hard work and
dedication. If you have the good fortune to live in a community where
things seem to be working well the chances are that if you slip
backstage you’ll find an army of cheerful people making the wheels go
round – and don’t forget just what a huge percentage of them come from
the churches and other faith groups.
How very good that people
like that are there for us, we can say – but as soon as we’ve said that,
we should be prompted to ask the tougher question: what can I do to
join this silent conspiracy of generous dedication? There’ll be those
who have time and skill and strength to offer; there’ll be those who
have less of these, but can support in prayer and goodwill.
we think about this silent groundswell, perhaps our minds can begin to
open up to the deepest secret of all – the trust that the entire
universe is held together by the quiet, unfailing generosity of God.
What we see and grasp isn’t the whole story – but just occasionally we
can get a glimpse. I hope there will be lots of joyful glimpses like
that for you in the year ahead.
Every blessing and happiness for the coming year.