Friday, November 21, 2003


Denys Turner once remarked arrestingly on Jesus' silence before Pilate: it was, at a certain moment when God's person stood naked before power, the only possible response to a ruler who was actually a 'frivolous moraliser', he said. I'm still trying to summon the depths of that one. But it has echoes for me in this recent observation by Rowan Williams:

"Politics needs the challenge of silence as much as does the Church, especially when the language of public life is increasingly corrupted by an obsession with 'advantage' -- with all that means for the silencing of the other, the refusal to seek oneself in the other, the inattention and willful ignorance that more and more stifles political conversation. A political discourse corrupted in such ways is already on the road to the anti-language of totalitarianism...

"And what if theology in particular has become the victim of this political corruptness, and operates more and more in terms of advantage? It has to be taught in a different register, a different dialect, by writers who are more used to dealing in risk, perhaps."

From 'Bonhoeffer and the poets', in (ed. Elizabeth Templeton) Travelling With Resilience: Essays For Alastair Haggart (Scottish Episcopal Church, 2002), p216.

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