Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Once more with Rowan and Lulu

Oh, and speaking of children: my recent post on Rowan Williams' letter to six-year-old Lulu was the most popular post I've ever had at F&T. It was shared over 4,000 times on Facebook, and received loads of extra visitors from StumbleUpon. All in all, the post got about 27,000 hits in the first three days – and it's still making its way around Facebook.

I found this very intriguing: I wonder why Rowan's letter struck such a chord with so many people?


Sandra said...

It was a beautiful letter for sure. But it's probably more to do with the timing of the post. The Royal Wedding must have caused an increased interest in Rowan Williams.

Graham Hunter said...

I think it also seems to confirm what many of Rowan's supporters feel - that he is a brilliant theologian and pastor, who has this horrendous job of trying to oversee / hold together / mediate amongst the megalithic Anglican Communion as well as the CofE... Many of us are thankful that God's providence has put him in this role, while equally yearning for the day when he can spend most of his time exercising the pastoral gifts the letter demonstrated... (I've written to Rowan a couple of time, and received personal replies incredibly quickly - probably dictated to a secretary, but topped and tailed in his own hand, and wonderfully personal and pastoral...)

Anonymous said...

also: Royal Wedding

By Jarrod Longbons said...

Perhaps it is the royal wedding thing (people are always intrigued by images of a man with eye-brows like his voice, oh I would love a voice like that) but I think people are interested in questions like the one Lulu posed, but are also intimidated by technical (and in some cases "deep") answers. So a letter to a child is inviting, it ignites the curiosity, "can these questions be answered in such a simple way?"

Also, as a clergyman, I see how much "pastoral" relationships mean to people. Rowan Williams provides a bit of fresh air in this regard. Here we have a technical and brilliantly creative theological mind who also pastors people...caring even, for the questions of a young child.

That is my take on it, and I am happy to hear you received so much traffic over it. Cheers said...

The cute story, royal wedding, and concision is sort of a perfect storm... Also, for people that know his prose can be really difficult sometimes, the note to the child was very refreshing - and accessible.

Russell said...

On the back of reading the story on F&T I shared it within a talk I gave to some undergraduates, and they seemed equally impressed and intrigued.

I was speaking about the way we use "church language" which often we do not understand and really does not help illuminate, Rowan's letter did a really great job of keeping things simple. I try but inevitably fail, to emulate that approach.

roger flyer said...

I confess. I shared.

Rick said...

I second Russell. Rowan's ability to elucidate theological concepts without using cliches and "church language" lends much to my appreciation of his writing - and particularly to this happy example.

kim fabricius said...

Simple: it speaks to the child who lives in each of us but who has lost her way.

James said...

I think it is so popular because it is the exciting truth that thousands of years and thousands of hours of discussion and thought has brought about, in the simplest form, a letter to a child.

Paul Anderson said...

as an American college guy who loved the original post and reposted it on my facebook, I can assure you that my interest had absolutely nothing to do with the Royal Wedding because I had absolutely no idea that it was going on. In my mind it had nothing to do with the wedding.

His message was so fantastic because it was so beautiful, and the simple language essentially stepped out of the way to let the beauty shine through instead of hiding it in Christianese.

Joel Daniels said...

By the way, I've started posting PDFs of some of the more difficult to find essays by Williams on my web page -

At first I was concerned about doing so being of dubious legality, until the gospel unsettled my judgment.

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