If You Meet George Herbert on the Road, Kill Him received its first journal review today, in the Catholic Herald. Along with some very kind words, Jonathan Wright (my new best friend) has given an excellent summary, of both the book and what I am trying to achieve by writing it.
Under the headline The Cult of Nice, Wright says:
Fear not. Despite his book’s eye-catching title, Lewis-Anthony doesn’t hate George Herbert. He’s actually quite fond of him, especially his poems. What he detests is the way in which Herbert’s legacy has been abused over the past 350 years in order to cultivate a paradigm of ministry that has long since become redundant. Some Church of England vicars still try to live up to the romanticised (historically exaggerated) image of Herbert as the beloved, conscientious minister, living in a bucolic idyll, being all things to all men. It is this phantom Herbert that Lewis-Anthony wants to slay. I’d be happy to join the execution squad.
I’m glad that my true attitude to George Herbert (the person) has come over so clearly. That has not always been the reaction to the speaking and writing I have done on the subject in the past year (some of the comments in Thinking Anglicans were particularly unthoughtful in that regard).
Modesty forbids me from quoting the adjectives in Wright’s review (oh well, if you insist: “compelling”, “wonderful”, “apt”, “witty”, “well-intentioned”, “sophisticated”), but my son especially like the way the review finishes:
…the Church of England is fortunate to have such a bold, idol-smashing thinker within its ranks.
Ahem! <embarrassed cough>
Please go and read it all.