Monday, 28 June 2004

Gledhill on Conger

I reported yesterday what George Conger had said about Ruth Gledhill’s Times article that had caused the blogriot I described last Friday.

Today, Ruth Gledhill accepted Kendall Harmon’s invitation to respond and you can (nay should) read what she said in full here. A couple of excerpts dealing with the Lambeth Palace end:

…Sometimes beautiful stories just ride along the production line, like this one, and they almost construct themselves. They are so perfect that I wonder why some press officer or functionary - and there are enough of these at Lambeth Palace - hasn’t picked it up before it gets to me and binned it. That is the question George should be asking - why after all the hours of media courses, all the training and expense, no-one managed to see what an obvious and great (but clearly not entirely helpful to them) story this was.

…I really, really wasn’t taking pot shots at Rowan Williams. I adore him and think he is a wonderful archbishop, even if he does get lost in the poetry of his allusions sometimes - or at least lose the rest of us in them. My big, big, humungous plea for the Church of England is for his staff to see what his selling points are and capitalise on them. For goodness sake, the world would love an Archbishop who is a part-time Druid, who writes poetry, has a prophetic beard, can string several sentences together in one and peppers every paragraph with arcane references to City of God. They would love him if only his staff would let them. He is utterly brilliant and the perfect man for the job in the present age. They all need to lighten up a bit and let him go on radio and television more and charm everyone with his desert-like ascetic spirituality and his poetic take on the love of God. He could do it, he really could. I would like to think that their letting this book get out with his endorsement was actually a constructive attempt to begin doing just this, but somehow, I just don’t think so. I am afraid it probably slipped out on to my desk without them even knowing about it.

My own opinion remains unchanged: the most significant story here is the way internet blog readers responded to the report, rather than the report itself, and rather than the book or its foreword. But Ruth raises some other questions which may provoke comments from readers who have no interest in the bible paraphrase that started all this.

Posted by Simon Sarmiento on Monday, 28 June 2004 at 8:11 PM GMT | TrackBack
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Categorised as: Church of England