God and Englishmen

 KillGeorgeHerbert  Englishmangod

oops – just missed it. I had wanted to post this on Saturday which is when the poet and priest George Herbert is celebrated in the lectionary. Largely because of a book If you meet George Herbert on the road kill him. Not a book I have read yet but am hoping to attend a seminar run by the author. Who argues that George Herbert casts a long shadow and has screwed up parish priests for generations by giving them an ideal which is neither appropriate or helpful.

The reason for this particular tangent is because I spend Friday morning with an old friend Cole Moreton talking to him about lots of things but particularly his up and coming book Is God still an Englishmman – which looks at English national identity – and how the English have continued to cast God in their image (though shall we say God has been on the move?). And English identity is nowhere near as polarised or conflicted as the intelligentsia or the BNP would have you believe.  Actually it is taking on all sorts of fascinating forms. Full on cooked Pakistani breakfasts before dawn (with halal meat) during Ramadan and goth morris dancers dancing to heavy metal tracks were some of the fascinating glimpses of the English determination to keep buggering on to use the immortal Churchillian phrase. And not to hide themselves in the folds of the St Georges flag.

I have put the interview on you tube – the limitations of the video form mean that I have had to chunk it down into 2 video clips. Enjoy! Cole is now a freelance journalist but in his last role was executive editor of the Independent on Sunday. Friday was a bit of a catch up for the two of us. The book is out at the end of April but you can follow Cole’s blog on the topic here

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