what you get here

This is not a blog which expresses instant opinions on current events. It rather uses incidents, books (old and new), links and papers as jumping-off points for some reflections about our social endeavours.
So old posts are as good as new! And lots of useful links!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

living each day....

The snow melted very rapidly – and today is a typical blustery but bright autumn day. The wolves are already here – devouring this week a small foal. As I waited at the station for my significant other, I read Thomas a Kempis’ The Inner Life – thanks to Penguin’s Great Idea series. Very powerful! I was amazed to find this passage – “You should order your every deed and thought as though today were the day of your death.......each morning remember that you may not live until evening – and in the evening not assume to promise yourself another day"!
I remember being so impressed by Stephen Covey’s exercise in imagining that we were observing our funeral – and hearing what people were saying and thinking of us!

We do indeed need to celebrate the past much more – while remembering (as writers such as Marcus Aurelius and Tolstoy have emphasised) that we do and should live only in the present. I suppose this is one reason for this blog – wanting to put my thoughts in order – aware of my frustration at how little, for example, of my father’s thinking had been left in writing. I have a few of his notebooks – but they are either of journeys he took with his own father or lists of quotations that he could use in his sermons. It was the same with Geoff Shaw when he died – he had been so busy succouring the poor and, latterly, trying to put a new quality into politics that he had no time to write anything.
I am reading a very thoughtful book which I donwloaded recently – “Questions of business life” which is result of one churchman’s humble attempt to answer the question of what Christianity can offer to those in the middle of business affairs. It is both a helpful summary of relevant literature and theological principles and their application to dilemmas such as accountability (the stakeholder debate), corruption and alienation. The book came out of the discussions held at Ridley Hall - which is an Anglican theological college in Cambridge. Its primary task is training people for the ordained ministry, and part of the author’s job is teaching them courses in Ethics and Leadership. But Ridley has also spawned a number of projects which reflect a concern to relate Christian faith to key aspects of contemporary culture. Business was one of these projects - with many seminars on concrete issues facing businesspeople successfully held. 
I admire such retreats - I have been invited both to St George's Hall at Windsor and to the Ditchley Foundation for weekend sessions on Urban Regeneration.
One of the principles behind that last workshop (Jan 1989) was to bring people together from sectors which did not normally speak to one another. Religion; trade unions; military, for example, were represented. As a result of that weekend, I had an amazing day (and lunch) in New Jersey a year later - courtesy of Monsignor William Linder whom I had befriended at Ditchley. He ran a series of community initiatives there - one of which was a restaurant in a converted church! The Priory Restaurant. As we ate with some of his selected colleagues for a discussion, I learned the meaning of "companion" - con-pane - those you eat bread with. Just as Marlyn Fergusson taught me the meaning of "conspirator" - con-spire - "those you breath with"!

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