Alan Wilson was born in Edinburgh, grew up in East London and Kent, and studied at St John's College Cambridge and then Balliol College Oxford, where he completed a doctorate in modern historical theology. Since October 2003 he has been Bishop of Buckingham. Alan is a member of the Council of Christians and Jews, the Howard League for Penal Reform, and the Ecclesiastical Law Society. He blogs at Bishop Alan's Blog.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Having a candidate I interviewed quote a post from my blog back at me, thinking it was by someone else, and giving fabulous feedback without realizing that's what they were doing.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Take time to find your voice, and let your blog cook slowly, by taking regular days off.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Ludwig Wittgenstein.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > A Prayer for Owen Meany.
What is your favourite poem? > 'Walking Away' by C. Day Lewis.
What is your favourite movie? > Crimes and Misdemeanors.
What is your favourite song? > 'Die Güldne Sonne'.
Who is your favourite composer? > Felix Mendelssohn.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > I was a teenage atheist...
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > The Golden Rule.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Logical Positivist reductionism.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Meg Wheatley's Leadership and the New Science. It helped me understand what true emergence is, and that you can't read what things ought to be from what they always have been.
Who are your political heroes? > Milton, Burke, Disraeli, Clement Attlee, Ken Livingstone.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'What would you mend your roof in the hurricane season?' (Lord John Russell on the Reform Bill, 1832)
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > Address inequality.
If you could choose anyone, from any walk of life, to be Prime Minister, who would you choose? > Sheila Cassidy.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > Environmental degradation.
What would be your most important piece of advice about life? > If someone tells you Jesus has miraculously healed their wooden leg, just kick them in the shins to make sure.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > Yes.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Integrity.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Egoism.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > Spammers, including fundamentalist cults of all kinds.
What is your favourite proverb? > 'Dolus latet in generalibus.'
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > I'd have taken up the offer to turn my thesis into a book.
What would your ideal holiday be? > Road trip in very large Winnebago across the US with all family (including kids' boyfriends / girlfriends).
What is your most treasured possession? > Apart from my laptop, my wedding ring.
What talent would you most like to have? > To be able to play the piano really well.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Designer.
Who is your favourite comedian or humorist? > Woody Allen.
Who are your sporting heroes? > Paula Radcliffe, the Jamaican bobsleigh team, Sir Steve Redgrave, Kelly Holmes, Amy Williams.
If you could have one (more or less realistic) wish come true, what would you wish for? > To write a short provocative book to stir imagination.
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I would like to go round lots of crappy local appeals for £1,000 for the scout hut, or whatever, and pay their bills so they could get a life.
If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner who would they be? > Hensley Henson, Frank Lloyd Wright, John Milton.
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