"Be on your guard. Stand firm in the faith. Be brave. Be strong.
Be loving in everything you do." - I Corinthians 16:13-14

Archbishop of Canterbury Reads Stand Firm

How else to explain this:

THE Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has criticised the new web-based media for "paranoid fantasy, self-indulgent nonsense and dangerous bigotry". He described the atmosphere on the world wide web as a free-for-all that was "close to that of unpoliced conversation".

In a lecture to media professionals, politicians and church leaders at Lambeth Palace in London last night, Dr Williams wondered whether a balance could be struck between the professionalism of the classical media and the relative disorder of online communication.

Seriously now: "Unpoliced conversation"? Gosh, can't have that.

"Professionalism of the classical media?" He must be talking about The New York Times and Newsweek. Or perhaps CBS News.

If the archbishop is right - and he may well be - then the only reason there's "paranoid fantasy, self-indulgent nonsense and dangerous bigotry" on the web - at least as far as the Anglican crisis goes - is because there continues to be a vacuum where his authority and decisiveness should be. Fools have rushed in where angels fear to tread.

Here's hoping that the next time the archbishop is in the mood for invective, he'll instead take a stand on something that's truly important. Like, say... the apostasy that's eating away at his church from the inside.

Posted by Greg Griffith at June 15, 2005 11:12 PM (GMT -6:00)

Just can't have that old web unregulated. Obviously the prols just can't be trusted to evaluate that ole unfiltered news and sort out the truth. We need lords to tell us what is correct. Leave the thinking up to them.

# Posted by: Prophet Micaiah at June 15, 2005 11:24 PM

Look what happened when they let old Tyndall and Wycliff translate Scripture into the language of the plowmen--Schism!!!!

# Posted by: Prophet Micaiah at June 15, 2005 11:29 PM

I have always believed that conversation should be policed, especially if it's about topics that I enjoy. For instance, no one should ever say anything bad about Pete Sampras. Or me.

You know, two phrases are of interest to me. One is the term "classical" media -- which I presume he means mag and broadcast? Which is merely at most 120 years old. So that's an interesting use of the term classical. The other word was "disorder" . . . that seems to really disturb him -- although online media is really very similar to entering a cocktail party or bar or club, mid-stream, and so, though not regulated, is within a social structure -- which I suppose is somewhat disordered but networked, so to speak.

Those two words -- disordered and classical -- imply to me that some of this rant is generational. He has a fondness for the "old days" perhaps, and fear about the new media. [The above not meant to disparage any generational-challenged people on this blog.]

Reminds me of something interesting . . . a friend of mine sent out an email detailing something that had happened in an organization that very week [an employee said something rather odd "on record" to the press about the goals of the organization and embarrassed the organization] . . . my friend copied the head of the organization who replied with a brisk statement saying that he had dressed down the employee and chastising my friend for sending out the email, since it spread news [my friend was not on staff at this organization, but merely repeating what the employee had said on the record and his opinion about it].

I always thought -- but did not say -- that my friend did this boss a huge service. After all . . . everyone at parties and gatherings would have been talking about it -- without knowing about the boss's vigorous "dressing down" and repudiation of the statements.

Instead, everyone was talking about it -- while *knowing* about the repudiation, since the boss copied everyone.

To me, that's the power of email -- instant rebuttal and clarity that serves to head off the deeper, slower, underground, social news-spreading of people.

The principle to me is -- the news *will* eventually get out, even in the old Communist Soviet environment. That's the nature of "news". Seems to me, that often with the "new media" the frenzy of some people is that they are not able to prevent that news from getting out and believe that in the good old days they *could* actually control that news spreading in some way -- yet they ignore the deep news spreading that goes on every day among friends. But the more public the news-spreading, the more easily rebutted, clarified, and added to.

# Posted by: Sarah at June 16, 2005 07:14 AM

PS: Greg, you used the word "decisiveness" in relation to the Archbishop of Canterbury.


Do not do that again.

You know . . . there *are* other webmasters who could take your place.

; > )

# Posted by: Sarah at June 16, 2005 07:16 AM

I am one of the "generational-challenged," and it seems to me that the give-and-take of the conversations on the Internet more frequently lack the civility of face-to-face conversations. It also seems to me that the conversations on the television and radio more frequently lack the civility of face-to-face conversations. (Except for letters to the editor, the format for print media doesn't incorporate conversation.)Maybe I just work and live with a particularly genteel group of people.
Having said all of that, I love cyberspace. The constraints on my schedule are so taxing, this is by far the easiest way for me to engage in any conversation other than family, because it can be done a moment here, a moment there. Moreover, I see cyberspace as a teriffic place to spread the love of Christ. In obedience, Karen B. started an Anglican prayer blog a year and a half ago with no advanced planning, no start-up money. It has been a wonderfully successful ministry and a blessing to those of us who read it and contribute to it. I can envision many ways that the church of the future will operate in cyberspace, and I praise God for His providence.

# Posted by: Jill Woodliff at June 16, 2005 07:54 AM

Ironically, I have a certain degree of suspicion of Ruth Gledhill's motives in the way she has reported this. There is something of a spat going on between Ruth and the CofE. A week or two ago Ruth wrote a ridiculous scare story about 3000 priests being made unemployed in England, leading to a scathing response from Lambeth & Bishopthorpe. The BBC's reporting of the Archbishop's comments re. media gave a somewhat different picture (the BBC is hardly a blind supporter of the Church of England).

# Posted by: Tim Jones+ at June 16, 2005 08:27 AM

As the TV Batman show would have noted: Bam! Pow! Zap! You go Greg.

Okay, more seriously. Dr. Eyebrows is a MSM (“mainstream media” for the uninitiated) kinda guy. He has a press officer and gets published by a major house.

If it weren’t for pesky blogs, we wouldn’t know squat about what’s going on in ECUSA. Case in point: Go to Episcopal News Service and find something about our international crisis. That’s right, you’re smart—click on the ACC button. That takes you to
where you have a blurb about the upcoming meeting. Not a WORD (oops—a blog shout) about the potentially explosive presentations about our walking away from the Anglican Communion.

ENS serves the will of Griswold, who will go to his grave saying everything was really fine during his time in office.

Thank you blogs for making my life edgy and uncomfortable when that is needed, even if I have to tune out some of your denizens.

Signed: An ECUSA priest who has to hide, but who feels Overtheline.

# Posted by: overtheline at June 16, 2005 08:32 AM

Why/what do you have to hide, OTL?

# Posted by: Marty at June 16, 2005 08:57 AM

Overtheline has a point. If all our information came from one source only (conservative or liberal), we would, at the least, not be fully appreciative of one another's viewpoints, and, at the worst, duped.
There is no question that the Anglican blogosphere has been an integral factor in this crisis in that there are multiple sources of information and manifold opportunities for networking. There is no institutional monolith. The presiding bishop has squandered much of the authority of his office by squandering the credibility of his word and by disregarding covenant relationships with our worldwide brothers and sisters.
The cross, and the cross alone, has become our monolith. The cross, and the cross alone, is the point of unity. Diminish the cross, and diminish the unity.

# Posted by: Jill Woodliff at June 16, 2005 09:10 AM

Knowledge is power and those currently in power (revisionistas, Integripalians, Spongites, etc.) are terrified that the "moderate middle" might actually discover what is going on in ECUSA. Sarah was right on the money when she observed (on another thread) that there are soon going to be a lot of ex-moderates out there. Twentyfive years ago, I was considered to be a moderate. Over the years, as the orthodox conservatives have been pushed over the edge and out of ECUSA, what used to be considered moderate is now considered extreme orthodox. And now, I am in danger of being pushed out. If it wasn't for the blogosphere, I would probably still be sitting on my arse, sipping my single malt, and blissfully ignorant.

Granted the blogosphere has its faults. Sometimes it is hyperbolic and goes off half-cocked. Sometimes it is rough and tumble. Anonynmity sometimes leads to rude and insensitive behavior. Overall, however, it has been a Godsend to me and a lot of other people. The greatest innovations in history have all had their downsides (sliced bread goes stale a lot quicker). And anyone who believes that the ABC, ++Griswold, the staff at 815, Integrity, and every revisionista bishop in ECUSA is not secretly monitoring and paying attention (belatedly) to what is said on this and many other sites had better think again.

the snarkster

# Posted by: Michael Ware at June 16, 2005 11:42 AM

"Unpoliced conversation"?

Good work, Greg. As one who tries to do a little "google sleuthing" myself, it seems that you have documented that the Abp knows the existence of actual thought police!

# Posted by: Eric "the Pietist" Swensson at June 16, 2005 06:10 PM

"Professionalism of the classical media?" He must be talking about The New York Times and Newsweek. Or perhaps CBS News."

Very good, yes, each one of them has been documented serving out-right lies in the last year.

Good writing.

# Posted by: Eric "the Pietist" Swensson at June 16, 2005 06:12 PM

Those who fancy themselves in possession of the enlighted and correctly progressive point of view do not like us plain ordinary and (oh so beneath them in intelligence and insight) folks talking to each other and finding out that we are not the only ones who are horrified by much of what they think is things happening as they should.

The internet is a great gift in helping so many connect and figure out what really is going on, and the only people disturbed by that, it seems to me, are those who think their points of view are the only ones that should be heard. The internet certainly beats the idiotic clap-trap on the tube these days. I thank God for it. Sorry, Your Grace.

# Posted by: BettyLee Payne at June 16, 2005 07:59 PM

I find all this information about "professional [classical] reporting" a farce, especially when we know that the leadership of ECUSA is always briefed on what to say to the media. And, I can hardly say that English journalism is anything above muckracking to begin with.

# Posted by: Anglicantotheheart at June 17, 2005 08:46 AM

Archbishop Rowan's comments were excellent. He was addressing an audience of media professionals, politicians and church leaders, commenting on the Christian (and expilicitly Biblical) aspirations for the role of communication in human affairs. Williams suspects that modern media, committed as it is to immediacy and urgency, struggles with religious matters because they are by their nature "apprehended in common practice over time." At the apex of his speech he makes it clear that Jesus, St. Paul and St. James warn of the dangers of "idle speech, speech that debases the currency because it is inflated, untruthful, aggressive, contemptuous or salacious. Corrupt speech, inflaming unexamined emotion, reinforcing division, wrapped up in its own performance, leaves us less human ... So the question for [a Christian] ... is what the responsibility of the media is for the quality of communication in a society." [para. 23]

I think we would all agree that web blogs, wonderful though they may be, are wide open to the kinds of dangers of which the Bible warns us. Journalists in the 'classical' media have developed codes of professional conduct which are intended to foster justice and trust in the way a society communicates news and opinion. Almost as an aside, Williams comments that one of the effects of the Web on the 'classical media' is to erode further the importance of good conduct in communication. This is the sense in which he speaks of 'unpoliced' conversation. Few of us commenting on sites such as this pay attention to the kinds of good practice developed for mainstream media over the 20th century, and yet sites such as this one have an ever greater role in driving the news agenda (such as Stand Firm vis-a-vis The Living Church this month). Most of us, I imagine, converse on this site in a far more aggressive and confrontational manner than we do in face to face encounters, and perhaps in ways which might be characterized as 'idle speech'. In comments I occasionally shoot off here, I have not ever rigourously checked my facts and sources because I don't think of myself as a journalist and haven't ever bothered to think about good journalistic practice. I have failed to police myself here, and unlike in a newspaper or TV station, there is no-one here to do it for me.

Greg drew attention to recent classical media gaffes as a means to deride the Archbishop's comments, but it is just that kind of situation to which the Archbishop was addressing himself; indeed, he commented specifically about the Newsweek example.

The Archbishop was not using invective against the web; he was reflecting carefully and prayerfully about a Christian understanding of communication.

# Posted by: Tim Jones + at June 17, 2005 09:31 AM

It really is tough on the liberals these days. They can't control the information flow any longer, and they are really MAD about it. Before the ABC there was FTG and other bishops lashing out at David Virtue. For all that liberals talk about change, they sure don't like the present free flow of information. This is a change that they cannot countenance.

# Posted by: Tony at June 17, 2005 12:02 PM


I agree that the archbishop's comments were not simplistic or completely one-sided. More than anything, my post was an attempt to point out the unfortunate fact that while a far more important issue - one that's crying out for him to take a clear, decisive stand - smolders into a fire that threatens to burn down the whole house, the archbishop has instead chosen to take a firm stand on... weblogs?

# Posted by: Greg at June 17, 2005 03:18 PM

Greg, Your writing is transparent and I don't think anyone can fault your handling of it.

Tim, you write very well, and are no doubnt a thoughtful priest, but it would be too easy to take issue with your words "idle speech." I am a 30th generation or so Lutheran and I have no "idle" take this stuff. Some are waiting to see what will happen and urge caution so that nothing untoward is happening and others of us are fighting a war of words because we read people like Michael Hopkins of Integrity and know they are happy to burn the church down if they do not get what they want. History will judge who was intemperante or who acted too late.

# Posted by: Pietist at June 17, 2005 05:44 PM

True, the web is rough and tumble and easy for almost any idiot to say anything. That's why I have Truth or Fiction site bookmarked so I can check out stories that don't ring true. We need discernment in all things. That said, the net is the most democratic media around. It is open to all, not just to some one who owns a press or TV station or a big press corp. Formerly the news could be "managed" by what was not permited to be printed or broadcasts. After people like Drudge, Virtue, and all the others were releasing stories and scooping the major media they had egg on their faces having to report what their nemesis had alreay written so that it influenced them to open up a little and get their spin in first. Now the public gets to judge. The Committees of Correspondence in the Revolutionary War kept up the pressure. Now God has give us an even greater tool for which I am thankful.

# Posted by: Prophet Micaiah at June 18, 2005 07:16 PM

Hello Everyone,
I am having to work this Father's Day which is perhaps a good thing since this is the first father's day since my Father went to the lord last Novenber. Inspirit of the day I want the HOC
to become the Man he should be, We as men have been demasculinized by today's society. In our way of trying to reach our feminine side we have lost what God wanted us to be MEN! Too many times we as father's have been lax in our responsiblity
to be the primary leader in our family. We as Men and fathers and heads of our family have to be in the forefront of making Jesus our Master. But for that to happen we must be masters of our own family. Not in the way of a tyrant, but in the way Jesus would do it. Faithful Husband and lover of his Church "his" family. to give ones life for it . Guide it to the way of his father. Disipline
it , be a role modle for it! Sadly Grizz and Dr. Eyebrows , ("I just love that") have not taken seriously their role as father's of Christ's Church. They have forgotten that they are MEN!
Sadly they have fallen to the secular stance of being "DEMASCULINIZED" by the very troop that they are supposed to defend us and the church from. And have catered to their every whim. Well I for one are VERY disappointed in their lask of manhood.They as men should have put a stop to this nonsence when it started. And it all started with the ordination of women priests. There again they pawned off their responsibity of being Father's of the church to the woman. I am proud of being a father but I have to hang my head in shame when I see the example they are setting to other Father's in their flocks. It is saying "it's all right don't be a dad" Let your wife have all responsibilities of your childre's upbringing. It's alright to leave your family and not support them by way of money or being a parent they can count on. You get the point.
It is just a fact A wife can go to church every Sunday or even everyday , pray at every meal, Pray rosary everyday , if the father doesn't do it then the wife is looked on by the children as a misfit, some one shuned. She is not taken seriously. If you want Jesus in the life of the family the father has to be the one to make it happen. That is why God made us man and woman.
Man being the head of the family, kills the game , provides security, gives his life for his family!
Fathers don't give up your GOD GIVEN RIGHT! to be men!And mothers don't give up your GOD GIVEN RIGHT to be mothers of your children and wifes to your husbands, DEMAND you be treated that way! Expect your husbands to allow you to be feminine.
But in the same breath allow your husbands to be masculin, it will work , God guaranties it. try it guys and gals you might just get what you wanted all along.

# Posted by: Paul R at June 19, 2005 01:16 PM

I hit post by mistake, but I have said enough,
I did want to close with a prayer to all fathers and the women and children who love them.
God; Bless us your children , may we always follow your son Jesus to you our father , love us and may we love each other as you love us. May I end with this: Glory to the father,and to the son,
and the Holy Spirit: as it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen
Bro paul

# Posted by: Paul R at June 19, 2005 01:28 PM

There is grave events happening in Nottingham.
The ECUSA is being treated like they belong there!
Everyone PLEASE check out the AAC news letter.
The Anerican Anglican Council ie: AAC press release on the Anglican Consultative Council Meeting: Episcopal Church's "Unofficial" Delegation Defies Primates' Instructions
June 20 , 2005 The Archbishop of Canterbury is not doing anything to stop them! Don't take my word for it look for yourselves , Email me and I will forward the DOC. to you.
I hate it when I am Right!
Bro Paul

# Posted by: Paul R at June 20, 2005 11:43 PM

the web site is americananglican.org
bro paul

# Posted by: Paul R at June 21, 2005 12:02 AM