Sunday, February 03, 2013

Twenty Questions to a Fellow Blogger Part CLVII: Archbishop Cranmer

Archbishop Cranmer takes as his inspiration the words of Sir Humphrey Appleby: ‘It’s interesting,’ he observes, ‘that nowadays politicians want to talk about moral issues, and bishops want to talk politics.’  It is the fusion of the two in public life, and the necessity for a wider understanding of their complex symbiosis, which leads His Grace to write on very sensitive issues ‘with moral seriousness and intellectual rigour’. His Grace is an Oxbridge-educated theologian who, in the religious realm, is a member of the Church of England, and in the political realm, a supporter of the Conservative Party. Since the Church of England long ceased to be the Conservative Party at prayer, he holds the two ‘in tension’; the latter increasingly at arms length (at least). He has written on issues of Anglican thought and his works have been widely disseminated and published. His forays into the political realm have occasionally landed him in hot water, and these have been known to result in martyrdom which appeared terminal.  But, never one to doubt the reality of resurrection, he now lives on ‘to investigate and expose religio-politics or politico-religiosity, whatever the cost'.

What made you decide to start blogging?

At the time (2006), there was no platform at all which dealt with the intersection between politics and religion. As Sir Humphrey observed, "It’s interesting that nowadays politicians want to talk about moral issues, and bishops want to talk politics." An awful lot of voters want to discuss both. His Grace explains upon his blog: 'It is the fusion of the two in public life, and the necessity for a wider understanding of their complex symbiosis, which leads His Grace to write on these very sensitive issues.'

What is your best blogging experience?

It depends how you're defining 'best'. In terms of objective blog 'hits', it must be this. In terms of widespread publicity, it must be this and this. In terms of subjective satisfaction, it is this

And your worst?

Dealing with incessant spam, irritating trolls, and the hordes who descend daily in order to impugn motives, misrepresent content, or attack the messenger instead of dealing with the message.

What do you regard as your best blog entry?

Again, it depends how you're defining 'best'. The 'Royal foetus' blog went global, but took no time at all to write. His Grace's preferred 'best' are those that have usually taken hours to write and attempt to deal with more nuanced matters of theology or philosophy. But these tend to attract few comments, generate little Twitter interest, and generally don't sit well at all in the blogging medium. Here's a couple: Mainstream Conservatism and Gay Gordon, Camp David and Gay Shame

Favourite blogs?

Those His Grace reads frequently, if not daily: ConservativeHome, RightMinds, Harry's Place, Daniel Hannan, Norman Tebbit..

Where should religion and politics mix and where should they stay seperate?

When religion is properly understood and applied, it is acutely political because it manifests itself in the public sphere. Where politics is properly understood and rightly concerned with peace and justice, it touches upon fundamentally religious themes. Bishops have every right to speak out against governments, and Margaret Thatcher had every right to deliver her 'Sermon on the Mound'. The two realms may sharpen each other, like iron upon iron. Christians are commanded to be salt and light - not in their places of worship, but in the world. For the true believer, there can be no 'separation', though there may be perfectly acceptable limits of fusion and intrusion. 

Given the current problems facing the Church of England, how do you see it's future?
The Church of England has faced problems since its foundation: its opponents have prophesied its demise for five centuries. Under Archbishop Justin Welby, it will do as it has always done - feed the poor, house the homeless, comfort the weak, educate the ignorant, worship Jesus and glorify God. The media will ignore all this, preferring the interminable debates over second-order ecclesiological issues and peripheral theological minutiae.

How do you see ecumenical relations between the Christian denominations developing within the next forty years?
Wandering in the Wilderness of Zin.

Is there anywhere abroad which you haven't been to, that you would like to visit?


Is there anywhere abroad you have visited, that you would love to revisit?

Jerusalem - again, again and again.

Who, excluding the present one, do you think is the best Prime Minister and if different, the best Conservative Party leader?

Benjamin Disraeli - for both.

Which political figure (apart from Margaret Thatcher) has been your greatest inspiration?

It's odd that you specifically exclude Margaret Thatcher, as though all 'right-wing bloggers' are myopically unable to see beyond the Britain of the the past 30 years. The answer is Aung San Suu Kyi. Thank you for not excluding her. 

Favourite Bond movie?


Favorite Doctor Who?
Jon Pertwee.

Chocolate, vanilla, or mint?

They all have their place, depending on if it's a drink, ice cream or Easter egg.

Which Band, past or present, would you most like to see in concert?

Beethoven conducting his Ninth Symphony in Vienna's Kรคrntnertortheater.

In terms of visiting for the weekend, Oxford, Cambridge, or Barsby, Leics..?

Cambridge - they were the happiest of days. Oxford holds too many bad memories. Bud God still loves Barsby.

Favourite national newspaper?

The Catholic Herald.

What would you say your hobbies were?

Praying, blogging and drinking wine - not necessarily in that order

And what would you say were your three favourite songs and three favourite books (Bar the Bible and The Complete Works of Shakespeare)?

Songs: Amazing Grace; When I survey the Wondrous Cross;
Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien 

Books: The Book of Common Prayer (1662); Thomas Cranmer (by Diarmaid MacCulloch); Thayer's Life of Beethoven

No comments: