The archbishop of YouTube

By Simon Barrow
January 2, 2008

Rowan Williams' "God doesn't do waste" New Year's message is only one of a whole host of YouTube offerings bearing his imprint.

You certainly can't accuse the archbishop or his advisers of being unproductive. The message is important too. But how many people who aren't alreday tuned into the church in some way are likely to be impacted by a strange, bearded figure in vestments wandering around trying not to look and sound too patronising?

Dr Williams is not, at heart, an establishment figure. But the mantle he is being asked to wear by the Church of England, and the way he is being asked to wear it, make him look just that. It's a tremendous shame, because there's a lot more to him. And because if the heart of the Christian message is, as he rightly says, that in Jesus "God identifies completely with our flesh and blood", then the church needs to share in that identification, rather than appearing to offer a quaint Victorian version of it.

Imagine the impact if he'd have introduced an ordinary recycling worker and allowed him or her to put the message across. Well, it's a thought. Here's the video:

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