Monday, March 22, 2010

Education, and education

Monday morning was much lifted for me by a visit from my good friend Roy Thomas for a 'catch up' chat. Since the completion of the Spiritual Capital project, we've both been too busy to see a great deal of each other. We still share a strong desire to work out fresh ways to engage insight from spiritual traditions of faith into the very secular processes of business and governance. It's not to do with religious institutions exercising worldly power, but rather to do with the creative impulse and vision.

We're both interested in innovation, and I delight in learning from the fresh discoveries he makes in his journey through the world of business. I'm not so sure how much he gets from my fascination (and sometimes suspicion) with technological innovations and their consequences. He's no sluggard in applying the latest social networking tools to his own work. Way ahead of me in fact. But then, his social world is a lot broader than mine, voluntarily restrained in the effort to do real justice to the specific social context in which I'm called to minister.

In this meeting Roy introduced me to Edge - a website that make space for some of the most creatively prodigious and visionary minds on the planet to have their say in writing. There's a lot of new ideas to another website called TED which is, a video blog containing 10-20 minute long videos of talks given by distinguished thinkers from every imaginable discipline, either about their field of work, or their personal take on life. TED is educative, inspirational and insightful if you tend to sit about as I do, before or after prayer, or when I'm finding life hard going, as it takes me places I hadn't thought of going, engaging with ideas from a different angle. It's just a learning boost that restores confidence in humanity.

After lunch, over to Tredegarville School for my last 'God on Mondays'. A congregation of four children (all boys again) and eight adults, four parents and four staff. Judging by one or two reactions from staff, my departure from the scene hasn't really registered yet. Parents have talked with me about it often in months past. It makes me realise that how different is the place occupied by a priest compare to a teacher on their social horizon. Teachers are busy maintaining the school's high standards of pedagogy and pastoral care. The presence of clergy in the life of the school is in the background, dependable, a relatively maintenance free contribution to the welfare of the whole from the school's point of view, and that's fair enough. Once the immanence of my departure regisers, I fear it's going to generate a lot of un-necessary fuss. I'd just be content to fade into the background - you could say, like any other 'service providor' when their job is done, without the drama of big farewells.

We are, in the words of Jesus, no more than 'unprofitable servants'. And in that, so privileged to have even a tiny share in the ministry of the pedagogues.

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