An Archbishop walks into a bar…

by Richard on December 13, 2008

It sounds like the opening line of a joke, but it’s not.

Solace invited Rowan Williams to share a question-and-answer session in a pub in Cardiff today. Sounds like it was an interesting session, with questions including “Can God mend broken Britain?” and “What’s hell like and who’s going there?”

One quetion stunped the Archbish, though. “Who’s he voting for in The X Factor?” I can’t say I’m surprised. He must have more important things to do on a Saturday night.

I speak as one stranded in front of the X Factor final. And I gave in and let my daughters vote for their favourites (Alexandra and Eoghan, as it happens) I’ll be glad when it’s over.

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }


Paul Martin 12.13.08 at 9:02 pm

Mmm I am tempted to vote for Alexandra but I’m probably too stingy to spend the money.

More than that I think these shows are farr too much about the musical establishment. I know it gives my age away but look back longingly to the days when not just punk but an array of bands with something to say (especially the mighty CLASH) came through without bowing down to the Cowells of this world.


Richard 12.13.08 at 9:53 pm

I can hardly believe I’ve even watched it, let alone spent money on voting. Beyonce is on the results show just now. At least she appears to be singing, unlike Britney the other week.


PamBG 12.13.08 at 9:56 pm

Huh? What language are you two speaking? ;-)


Tony Buglass 12.13.08 at 11:23 pm

Never watched it. Saturday for me means quality stuff - Harry Hill, Merlin, and Casualty. Yeah.


Kim Fabricius 12.14.08 at 5:24 am

Don’t get me started!


Richard 12.14.08 at 8:44 am

C’mon Kim, own up. Who’d you vote for?


Paul Martin 12.14.08 at 9:09 am

Actually Alexandra’s performance of the single was rather good.

Richard, Kim is probably in another world after watching Beyonce. He probably just has a rather fixed silly smile on his face at the moment.


Kim Fabricius 12.14.08 at 5:25 pm

Actually, my wife Angie, a real zealot, was on a school trip to Germany, so, on my own, I was tormented by neither song nor dance last night, nor the Tyneside tosh of the lachrymose Cheryl Cole. Mind, if I’d known Beyonce were on …


dh 12.15.08 at 12:53 am

I agree with Rowan on the hell thing other than the “being by yourself thing” which is half right. Also God does know and He states in His word a description of those who are going there. So for me yes God knows and we as Christians can get a clear idea from Scripture how to go to heaven with the opposite stated in Scripture as well.


Richard 12.15.08 at 8:33 am

“I agree with Rowan on the hell thing…”

I’m sure that will come as a great relief to him! ;)


PamBG 12.15.08 at 9:55 am

Hang on,Richard, Rowan is only half-right. :D


Richard 12.15.08 at 3:20 pm

Well, yes. But it is proof-positive of Rowan’s intellect. After all, half is much better than you or I usually manage. :)


Kim Fabricius 12.15.08 at 3:41 pm

Poor dh. Rowan reflects, and you, brandishing the Bible like a brick, adjudicate. You always seem to take doctrine as a secure possession that you can control and use at will, and ask of a theologian only that he talk about what you already know, and thus confirm you in your opinions. This strikes me as a desiccated kind of faith with no real possiblity for surprise and growth. But what do I know?


dh 12.15.08 at 3:42 pm

I guess Rowan believing that hell is a literal place and that people actually goes there is a lot more in line with Scripture than what you and Pam state on the subject. While I may not 100% agree with him on the subject of hell, his view is much more in line to Scripture as compared from what I have heard from you and Pam on the subject. I don’t mean to be harsh. Just giving an explaination as to why I agree however partly with Rowan and disagree 100% with you and Pam on it.


dh 12.15.08 at 4:11 pm

KIm, I’m not using Scripture like a brick. I’m just pointing out where he is consistent with Scripture and where he isn’t. How should I expect surprise when Scripture states specifically how to enter heaven and what happens to those who don’t? It seems to me that much of some theologians become “self-fulfilled prophesies” or conclusions that come from “preconceived ideas”.

With regard to being surprised and for growth. There has been much that I have read that I have changed been surprised, etc. When I read Revelations on day I was surprised to know that when Christ comes back at the time of the Second Coming that He will land on the Mount of Olives and it will crack open making a new river Zechariah 14.


Kim Fabricius 12.15.08 at 4:19 pm

I’m sorry to have to inform you, dh, that Rowan hardly believes that hell is a “literal” place and that “people actually goes [sic] there.” Here is what Rowan has to say about hell in Tokens of Trust: An Introduction to Christian Belief (2007):

“… once you realize that it is not about other people but about you. And that is the point of thinking about hell. We cannot know if anyone is ever in such a condition, but we have to know the proper fear that the choices we make are capable of destroying us. Christian theology has commonly taught that hell is our decision, not God’s (apart perhaps from the most extreme of sixteenth-century Calvinists …). We have made ourselves deaf to God’s words; and the most truthful image we can have of hell is of God eternally knocking on a closed door that we are struggling to hold shut.” Is it too much to hope that you will take time to reflect on that last sentence before telling us that Rowan clearly contradicts God’s Holy Word?


dh 12.16.08 at 2:59 pm

So I’m deaf to God’s Word’s when God’s Word is descriptive in exactly what is going on there? Also, I agree it is God’s decision with regard to heaven and hell but God’s Word specifically states how one enters heaven and states what happens to those who reject Christ to the point of death. It mentioned “weeping and gnashing of teeth”, “fire brimstone and pillars of smoke”.

Also I HAVE reviewed the last sentence and here is what I say about it:
Also, where in Scripture does it say that God will knock on peoples beyond death in light of “It is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgement.”? It seems to me a little “adding to Scripture” to suggest that people can convert afterdeath.

With my earlier response I was just trying to point out from his specific response how I could and/or God’s Word could agree with him. It seemed on part of his comments, if alone, I could and I also was pointing out how rephrased I could and/or God’s Word.

After reflecting on the last sentence he is inconsistent with God’s Word in light of “It is appointed unto man once to die and after this the judgement.”


Kim 12.16.08 at 3:16 pm

Hey, dh, what about people who don’t have any teeth? Will dentures be provided? And the “fire [and] brimstone and pillars of smoke” - I am quite sure that modern health and safety regulations won’t permit such hazards under any circumstances.


dh 12.16.08 at 6:17 pm

Kim, well since God’s Kingdom is not of this world then the authority of the modern health and safety regulations are only within the jurisdiction of this physical realm. Also, here is a passage from Jesus in reference to Pontius Pilate that can include those in charge of these “health and safety regulations”: John 19:11a “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.”

The fact remains it is only by the Grace of God that we have the opportunity to even have Salvation made available to us let alone having health and safety regulations while we live on this earth. “All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God.”

P.S. I was really trying to be humorous yet serious at the same time. Hopefully you can where the humor is and at least appreciate it. Knowing you though you might see the whole thing humorous. Hopefully that part of the dichotomy is not the case. :)

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