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Posts from May 2012

Bishop-elect rocks the national paper.

The NZ Herald is the country's leading newspaper so we were holding our breath to see what this weekend's spread would say.

Not to worry.

In the interview with with our fearless leader Justin Duckworth, who is getting promoted to Bishop of Wellington, Catherine Masters of the NZ Herald does a FABULOUS job of capturing the spirit of our community, Justin's casual demeanor, and even spotlights our decrepit 17+ year dog named Socks. She gives a realistic and honest view of Wellington's bishop-elect:

Really, this was a wide-ranging and congenial chat with a 44-year-old who lives and breathes God, where just about every answer to every question can be related to God and where you get the feeling every conceivable discussion about God has already been held, and more than once, around the big kitchen table where this community of roughly 20 permanent residents and its frequent guests gather for meals.

Here the wood fire is kept burning, giving off a warmth matched only by the next Bishop of WellingtonInterview, NZ Herald

Have a read. Refreshing and heart-warming. 

Nz herald bishop interview

Related on TSK: The Dreadlocked Barefooted Bishop of Wellington

NO we are NOT living in a secluded commune!

How embarrassing! After all the news coverage we got last week, my friends and family now think I live in a COMMUNE!

Yes, a flipping' "commune"! When I was a kid in school at Orewa, one of our teachers was a bushy-bearded hippie who lived in a Puhoi commune. We thought that was weird. It probably wasn't as weird as we thought. But the designation as "commune" would never again be a positive thing in my mind.

I am not sure which of the reporters started called Ngatiawa a "secluded commune" [Dominion Post, perhaps?] but the misinformation spread and even the guy on TV used the word "commune". I am hoping NZ Herald gets it right this weekend when they do their big spread. [Hello?]

The media can be terribly ignorant when it comes to reporting about religion. Surely it can't be too hard to say the word "monastery"? Or "intentional community"? 

Some corrections are due:

Firstly, we are not "secluded". We are open to visitors all day long. In fact, my job today is to make tea and show hospitality to strangers, visitors and absolutely anyone who shows up. Every day there is someone on hospitality duty, keeping the tea pot warm and cooking nice little yummies for anyone who turns up.  There is a WiFi signal here that covers the entire community. We might be in a valley, and we might be ten minutes drive from the next big town, and its true we don't have cell phone coverage, but we are not secluded.

Continue reading "NO we are NOT living in a secluded commune!" »

Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

I just read two books by Michael Lewis. 


The first was his latest book called Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World. Love that title! The book gives some eye-popping background and tragic [and sometimes hliarious] narrative to the financial collapse in Greece, Iceland and Ireland. A great book if you want to understand the current-day woes Europe and the challenges it faces. Surprisingly short. Felt more like the first half of a book than the whole thing  . ..  but a great read.

What I found most interesting in Boomerang was how much much blame for the Greek mess Lewis assigns to the Vatopaidi monks, an historic reversal when you think of how the economic corruption of the church 500 years ago was cleaned up by a different set of European monks who launched the Reformation.

"In a society that has endured something like a total moral collapse, its monks had somehow become the single universally acceptable target of moral outrage." Lewis, on the Vatapaidi monks

As I suggested in Ka-ching in the Ka-church, it's time for another Reformation. In fact, I think there are a lot of parallels between then and now.

The other book by Michael Lewis was The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, which reads like a financial thriller as it traces the story of the Wall Street subprime collapse in 2008 and those who gambled on its demise, and won. I remember being in San Francisco in 2008, praying for the economy and here I am in San Francisco again, still trying to get my head around this gigantic disaster and the invention of these complicated financial instruments that hardly anyone, including the bankers selling them, really understood. 

Economics IS the conversation of our moment. I also recommend Economics of Good and Evil (2011) by Tomas Sedlaćek for a more philosophical understanding of our time and The New Capitalist Manifesto: Building a Disruptively Better Business by Umair Haque as a way for business to do good and create a better world.