Osama bin Laden's death has created some wonderful jokes but discretion advises me to not to repeat them here save to say that some of the best I have heard verbally I have not found yet on the internet. His death has also led, inadvertantly, to a weird legacy in the form of common cause for Anglicans and Episcopalians in the USA: going by internet comments on diverse sites, they are all united in being singularly unimpressed by ++Wright's attempt to suggest that the US acted this week as though it were cowboys in a Hollywood Western (see previous post) and not terrifically impressed by the Archbishop of Canterbury's intervention in media debate either (e.g. here and here).
[Aside: As I think further about the matter I think the mistake ++Williams and ++Wright make their criticism of the USA is that they do not allow for the fact that the USA is involved in a war. It is not a war in the WW1 and WW2 sense of 'war' with formal declarations from one country to another followed up by (or immediately following) invasion by one country of another (or of an ally). But it is a war of the late twentieth and early twenty-first century: an international network of fighters engaged in periodic action against one country in particular and as well as allied countries in a manner which is not readily categorised in terms of "freedom fighting" or "internal rebellion" or "civil war." Rules of engagement are having to be made without precedent. Osama bin Laden was not a terrorist like IRA terrorists once were within Ireland and the United Kingdom, nor was he a mere criminal. His actions did not entitle him to treatment we accord to criminals or to (at least some) terrorists (where their actions occur within the ordinary legal framework of the nation in which they seek revolution). He was a combatant in a war. So, yes, there are questions about whether he was armed at the point when shot, whether he constituted a threat to the Navy Seals and so forth. But there is no question in the minds of US leaders that he was an enemy who needed to be overcome and neutralised if the war on terror is to be won. It is not clear to me that capturing him, treating him to the usual protections afforded by the law when trying criminals etc, would assist the war on terror, since the very fact of his continuing existence, consistently communicated by a relentless media, would constitute greater inspiration to his network than news of his death.]
Meantime life goes on and a sermon awaits tomorrow on the raising from the dead of one genuine fighter for freedom, Jesus Christ our Lord. Any help with this question on John's "third" appearance narrative of Jesus and his disciples would be appreciated (21:1-14): why do the disciples after two previous recognitions of the risen Jesus now not recognise their Lord on the shores of Galilee?
It strikes me that whether we understand John's gospel to be the most historically accurate or the least historically accurate (but theologically deepest in mining the resurrection for meaning), this question is quite a deep one. It might be too difficult to answer or its answer might yield tremendous theological fruit.