"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.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Peter Owen Jones Letters from an Extreme Pilgrim

The alert follower of this blog may notice that I have added something else to the Heading. It was apparently the writer and campaigner Alastair McIntosh who said somewhere that there is no more noble cause than bringing beauty to ugliness. I don’t know exactly where he says this, which one of his books, or speeches, or articles. But what a lovely sentiment that is.
The other night I went to Rochester Cathedral to hear Peter Owen Jones, the Sussex vicar, read some of the chapters from his book Letters from an Extreme Pilgrim: Reflections on Life, Love and the Soul. He wrote these letters while he was living for three weeks in a cave in the Sinai Desert, lent to him by Father Lazarus, a Coptic monk and hermit. In this lovely collection he writes to those many who have shaped his life, to Joan, Daddy, Satan, God, the Girl in the Field (my favourite) and many more, including one to the Prime Minister, where he mentioned the saying from McIntosh. And in the questions that followed the readings he opened his heart and soul to us, displaying his vulnerability and humanity, his faith and his own personal struggles, in his own inimitable way. Peter is a treasure. Those of my English readers amongst you, do go to hear him if you get the chance. For whatever reason this latest book does not seem to have made it yet across The Pond.

And if you are not yet familiar with Alastair McIntosh’s classic book Soil and Soul I suggest you get a copy now and read it. Beautifully written, it is a kaleidoscope of Celtic faith, a call for ecological change, and as George Monbiot wrote, an adventure in theology, economics, ecology, history and politics.

Soil and Soul was an early inspiration for my own book; I discovered Peter Owen Jones more recently. Both authors have endorsed my book, as we all share similar views on the dangers of our current behaviour and our appalling treatment of this wonderful Earth.

"Humanity is set for a time of fundamental change. Our relationship with the environment is spiritless and broken. But we have also lost sight of the spiritual essence in our communities, our economy, in medicine and our creativity, even in our faiths. With its wealth of wisdom this wonderful book explores how we have arrived at where we are and what all of those who call themselves ' religious' or are otherwise ‘of good faith’ need to do to heal this wounded world." The Revd. Peter Owen-Jones, Author of Letters from an Extreme Pilgrim: Reflections on Life, Love and the Soul and presenter of the BBC TV programme Around the World in 80 Faiths.  

"In this book Eleanor Stoneham points to the central role of spirituality in healing the human condition in our troubled times. Nothing is more important if we are to have hope for a dignified future, come what may in the come-to-pass."Professor Alastair McIntosh, Author of Soil and Soul and Hell and High Water. 

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