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Archbishop of Canterbury on tweeting and touching

Archbishop of Canterbury on tweeting and touching

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, says that when it comes to reconciliation and church conflict, it is essential to remember the value of being in person with “touch”:

For disputes within church communities, Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel makes it quite clear that personal interaction is essential – yet all of us feel that when someone has done something wrong, we should all say so! Electronic media breaks through locked doors, and pierces people painfully. It is not for all of us to set everyone right on everything. There’s a point at which we need to leave it to those who know people to speak to them personally and quietly – in spaces where the tone is subtle and full of love. That is how people can be put back together rather than torn apart and left lying around in electronic media space.

Love often says don’t tweet. Love often says don’t write. Love often says if you must rebuke, then do so in person and with touch – with an arm around the shoulder and tears in your eyes that can be seen by the person being rebuked.


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Jeremy Bates

I trust that the Archbishop is not thinking of himself here. I hope that he is not saying that he may be “rebuked,” but only by those who can speak to him in person.

If that’s what he is saying, then we should all beg to disagree.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is a very public role, with wide responsibilities that affect millions of people.

Those millions of people no doubt will have things to say about how the present Archbishop carries out those responsibilities. Very few of us can say these things to him in person.

So if the Archbishop is truly trying to set a rule for church leaders such as himself, then someone with power is saying to those without it, “Don’t even try to hold me publicly accountable.”

If the Archbishop is really telling the rest of us to be more quiet, then perhaps instead he should grow a thicker skin?

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