Rowan Williams' archbishopric was and is far from perfect, says Simon Barrow. Of course. But if we too readily dismiss the attempts of humane, spiritual and thoughtful people like Dr Williams to point out that our difficulties are not just about someone else’s blockheadedness, we may be nearer the idiocratic realm and further from the hoped-for realm of God and of reason than we think.
Time and again in the midst of "events, dear boy, events" (Harold Macmillan's famous response to an interrogation about what is the biggest difficulty in being Prime Minister), I keep coming back to Dutch theologian Harry Kuitert's observation that while "everything is politics, politics is not everything".
The new story in the Middle East and North Africa region is only one year young and it will take a long time before we can pass any definitive judgments about its successes and failures, says regional commentator Dr Harry Hagopian. Here he reviews the recent House of Lords debate initiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, adding further commentary and elucidation for observers, journalists and policy-makers.