"The penalty good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men." attributed to Plato

"Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing." attributed to Edmund Burke

Let's between us make the world a better place.

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Tourist or Pilgrim?

Letters from an Extreme Pilgrim: Reflections on life, love and the soul

I wrote on 5th November of the conference I attended organised by Resurgence: To be a Pilgrim or a Tourist. But I did not say much there about the session given by Peter Owen Jones, and for my money he was the most brilliant speaker of the day.
I love Peter, as indeed do many others. I am sure he has broken a few hearts in his time. But he is not to everyone's taste! Maverick priest he has been called by some. The Times has called him "the bravest vicar in Britain...a man living with his soul." But his message is clear, sincere and persuasive. We have to act as individuals and communities to restore spirituality back into our lives, for the sake of our future, because there is an emotional and spiritual illiteracy amongst our leaders, in local and national government, and indeed globally.
The computer age, Peter explained, has destroyed our calling to explore, and a general loss of hospitality is destroying the opportunity for pilgrimage. And pilgrimage is not the same as travelling. Intimacy is of the pilgrim, not the traveller. The experience of the pilgrimage enriches us, we return changed. As travellers the effect is short lived - we simply return to the life we were escaping from, the life we have created - nothing changes there.
Why are we still travelling? What are we looking for? Paradise is actually around us if we only have eyes to see. And he reminded us that holidays were actually "Holy Days," for rest and quality family time, not for frenzied shopping, consuming, driving, travelling, generally stressing ourselves!

This all reminds me of Peter's wonderful book I reviewed some time ago on Amazon; Letters From an Extreme Pilgrim: Reflections on life, love and the soul. (For some reason this is not available from Amazon.com).

Do read the book. It is a gem.

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