From a disturbing book to being in it together
I am reading No Cross, No Crown, William Penn’s exposition on the Quaker testimony to simplicity. He condemns all worldly pleasure-seeking, sends all who make their living from the pleasure industry to the plough, and expects us to get all our pleasure in Heaven after a life of doing God’s will by helping others. Why was his message so attractive in the 1690s? How can modern Quakers live it down? As far as I can see, the regime that came closest to putting his ideas into practice was that of Mao Zedong.
Now, though, we have modern reasons to promote William Penn’s view: we have to kill extravagance to save the planet. But what do we say to the shivering stallholders selling beautiful fripperies in the Christmas markets in our town centres – go make solar panels? Can theological readers help me with this disturbing book?
Story of forgiveness
I was fascinated reading about Letlapa Mphahlele’s visit to Britain (22 November). A few years ago we had a ‘forgiveness’ conference here in Findhorn. I bought, then, a book called The F word: Stories of Forgiveness produced by The Forgiveness Project. Letlapa Mphahlele’s and Ginn Fourie’s story is one of the many in this beautiful book. I highly recommend it.
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