Friday, November 9, 2012

a rock badger for the archbishop

The high hills are a refuge for the mountain goats, *
and the stony cliffs for the rock badgers.
                       -- Psalm 104:19

Bishop Welby and his rock badger crozier

OK, I love the new future Archbishop of Canterbury already.  He sounds as though he has both a sense of humor and humility as well as the practical experience and breadth I read about in an earlier article (a bio:

The Telegraph reports:
In January last year Bishop Welby, then Dean of Liverpool, was reading a passage from Leviticus chapter 11 detailing Jewish food laws, listing a number of little known animals which are considered unclean to eat.

In the traditional King James Version, verse five advises against eating the meat of the “coney” – usually referred to by zoologists now as the Rock Hyrax – “because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof”. But in several modern translations – including the one from which he was reading - the animal is referred to in less poetical terms as a “rock badger”.

As he read the incongruous-sounding verse the Bishop began to giggle. Within moments he had lost his composure, sending the congregation into gales of laughter.

He was subsequently teased mercilessly about his “rocky moment” and when he was made Bishop of Durham members of the congregation had the crozier specially made bearing the unmistakable image of a Rock Hyrax from a picture downloaded on the internet.

A group of lay clerks also paid for him to sponsor one of the creatures at Edinburgh zoo.

“He has a habit, when reading the Bible of doing it in a Sir Humphrey Appleby voice, he dramatizes Bible readings and sometimes it is his undoing,” explained one member of the congregation. “It was like the ‘leg-over moment’, he was giggling and couldn’t stop, he said I’ll start that again but there were tears coming down his face, it was just so funny.”

A recent scientific study found that the Rock Hyrax, known for its unusual call, is one of the most sophisticated communicators in the animal kingdom.

If indeed this scientific study is accurate, I can't imagine a more appropriate animal for the future archbishop.  He's going to need all the communication skill he can muster, and then some.  May the Holy Spirit guide and inspire him in the years to come.

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