Admiral of Morality: The Bishop of Windbag

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Bishop of Windbag

In his recent interview-cum-tirade with the always interesting Ruth Gledhill of the Times of London, the Bishop of Durham releases a torrent of charges, misperceptions, errors and outright spiritual and verbal assaults against the Episcopal Church and its people. This is his preferred method of assuring others that he is in the right, others are in the wrong, and that if they do what he tells them, they may continue to be his friend.

For a man letting it all hang out with work buddies over pints after a long shift on the husbandry grounds, his language may be understandable. For a bishop of God's church it is a curious display of intemperate politicking reflecting poorly on the man himself and compounding the sense that the Church of England's appointed leaders on most controversies consider themselves backed into a corner. From that corner continues to come a curiouser and curiouser brand of friendship revealing itself as a shaking fist.

Notably, Durham in his comments draws a bright line between rights and justice, and the pattern of Scripture--for a scholar of the Bible, a difficult line to argue under any circumstances, but for a politicking bishop, an easy and expedient case to make. Ms. Gledhill lets Durham go on and on for far too long, and one would hope that in future she or a thoughtful sub-editor might take the pruning shears to more of his offerings.

Certainly the interview makes clear that to his successes as Bishop of Durham and his accolades as a scholar of the New Testament, N.T. Wright has garnered another honorific--the Bishop of Windbag.


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