You gotta love Damian Thompson

By Jonathan Bartley
April 14, 2009

A source of quiet amusement to a number of us at Ekklesia are Damian Thompson’s agitated rantings about us on his blog at the Daily Telegraph. We have a real soft spot for him although he doesn’t seem to know much about Ekklesia (for example that we are not Anglican but independent of the churches, that our roots are historic Anabaptist not modern 'liberal', that we have quite a number of associates, staff and contributors, that we work on a co-operative basis, that we raise about £250,000 a year for peace, justice and development work - including Catholic charities ... or even that ekklesia is a New Testament Greek term not simply a classical one!).

We offered to meet with him, extend the hand of friendship and tell him a bit about what we do, through our mutual friend Cristina Odone, but he declined the invitation on the grounds that he “might like us”, Cristina said.

Nevertheless, Damian seems to have developed a small obsession with Ekklesia over the last few years, and thinks (hopes perhaps?) that his constant abuse on his blog makes us ‘cross’. The time has come to reveal a little secret of which we suspect he is unaware. Every time he has another go at Ekklesia our own web pages seem to go higher up the Google search engine rankings when you search under Damian's name. So following his recent outburst if you search Google under “Damian Thompson” you get this page: entitled: ‘Damian Thompson gets a (nonviolent) mauling’ at number two or number three.

The page records an episode last year when he misrepresented what we said about White Poppies (not just on his own blog but also we believe in a leader for the paper, which was a little embarrassing for the Telegraph) and subsequently got quite a backlash.

Theologian Walter Wink has an interesting theological analysis which might relate to this. He points out that when Jesus urged people to "turn the other cheek" (something that we have tried to do with Damian) it also meant that what was being done by the assailant was exposed for all to see. I wonder whether this would qualify as a contemporary example...

(Incidentally, if you want to be better informed about Ekklesia than Damian, the good news is that it isn't hard, even if you're not a highly paid journalist. We have a detailed FAQ, an 'About' section, and a values statement.)

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