Bishop Pete of Willesden and the arrogant 'Tory Right'
This week His Grace tried to 'follow' the Rt Rev'd Pete Broadbent, Bishop of Willesden, on Twitter, only to discover that he had been blocked.
On enquiring politely as to the reason, His Grace was told that he was blocked 'years ago for (his) arrogance in taking the name of our greatest ever Archbishop for party political purposes'.
This came as something of a surprise.
Not least because Bishop Pete is a reportedly a card-carrying member of the Labour Party, as well as being a rather vociferous republican, and isn't entirely averse to using his position within the Church of England to advance his own party political purposes.
And neither is His Grace opposed to Bishop Pete doing so.
Even when, as Martin Sewell pointed out, he appropriates the name of Spurs for his own religio-political ends.
Bishop Pete's riposte was that 'Thomas Cranmer belongs to all Reformed Catholics and evangelicals, and shaped the CofE for good'.
His Grace has no problem with that: he agrees with Bishop Pete that the Church of England transcends party politics. But what is wrong with a bishop advocating a particular political worldview? Doesn't Bishop Pete effectively do that? Does the name of Spurs belong only to lefty Anglicans?
Bishop Pete is apparently all in favour of people of faith engaging in the political process, but his objection to His Grace is that his 'Tory Right approach is it's OK for Church to be in politics, provided it's their politics'.
His Grace has never, ever articulated any such thing: he is very much in favour of Socialist Christians and Liberal Democrat Christians and UKIP Christians and Green Christians and Communist Christians and BNP Christians and Monster Raving Loony Christians - provided that their religious beliefs and political praxes may be scrutinised, challenged and robustly debated. It is not a sin to remonstrate in church in order to discover a deeper political truth.
But Bishop Pete is of the view that His Grace believes 'it's OK for Church to be in politics, provided it's (his) politics'.
And he is blocked.
Which is a shame, because His Grace enjoys good-humoured and very congenial relations with other prominent lefty clerics, namely south-London priest Giles Fraser; the Bishop of Buckingham Alan Wilson; and the Bishop of Bradford Nick Baines. And he is permitted to follow dozens of bishops and archbishops with whom he has never exchanged a word.
But not Bishop Pete.
His Grace is going to ponder this matter very carefully, and go silent for a few days.. or weeks.. or permanently. For he never intended to besmirch the sacred memory of 'our greatest ever Archbishop'. Indeed, he is of the view that some of the thousands upon thousands (indeed two million) people who have read this blog since its inception seven years ago may have been inspired to discover more about the complex life and nuanced beliefs of the man; or to consider Anglican moral theology a little more deeply; or to reflect upon the murky and muddled Erastian doctrine of the supremacy of the state in ecclesiastical causes; or to have heard the gospel of salvation for the first time and learned a little bit more about Jesus.
But if all he has conveyed over these years is that the 'Tory Right approach is it's OK for Church to be in politics, provided it's their politics', then something has gone wrong. Not least because His Grace is ever so slightly more Whig than Tory.
And he has grievously offended a gracious bishop of the Church of England, and he didn't even know that he had done so.
Please bear with His Grace while he meditates and prays.