The fourth lecture in Dr Rowan Williams' Gifford Lecture series, "Making representations: religious faith and the habits of language", was given on Monday 11 November 2013 at the University of Edinburgh.
As the huge media coverage of internet abuse has made clear (not least the appalling targeting of women on Twitter and other social media platforms), when public conversation is debased, we all suffer - though those at the sharp end suffer most.
Given that the Church of Scotland, like all major Christian denominations, conducts a good chunk of its internal business in public these days (with the boundary between what is 'internal' and what is 'external' increasingly stretched), media and communications can no longer be thought of - if it ever could - as a specialist function alone.
As previously reported on Ekklesia, Professor Jolyon Mitchell from Edinburgh University delivered his inaugural lecture entitled 'How can weapons be turned into art? How can swords be transformed into ploughshares?' back in September last year. It is now available to view here on YouTube, and very well worth watching.
Church leaders have mostly been ducking for cover as the row over Occupy London on the steps of St Paul's has ratcheted up in recent days. The silence from Lambeth Palace until recently has been deafening.
Professor Jolyon Mitchell focused on the biblical and practical theme of 'swords into ploughshares' for his inaugural lecture in taking up a new personal chair at the University of Edinburgh on 15 September 2011.