30 June 2008

Tea: Special Events with Friends

Almost any occasion is an occasion for tea, but sometimes there are special occasions which call for dressing up and being quite posh.

I've had high tea or afternoon tea with missionary friends in Brisbane, Denver and other conference sites.

I've been to The Drake in Chicago more times than I can count, but that's cause I can't count very high. San Francisco does afternoon teas well, right in Union Square.

I'm planning to visit Sydney soon and will scout out the nice places.

In Cincinnati I recommend The Cincinnatian, though if someone could recommend local neighbourhood tea shops, I'd appreciate it.

In Denver, The Brown Palace of course.

In Indianapolis, The Canturbury Hotel will treat you right. Good memories there.
If you're traveling in the UK, try this directory for places enroute.

Suggestions? Always outshone by a cuppa in the home of a good friend, these special afternoons sit long in my memory.

Top 50 Productivity Blogs

We have all this technology . . . and no time to do anything cause our phones BEEP and our calendars ding and our texts flood in and instant messages interrupt and . . . . STOP!

Some friends and volunteers confess, often sheepishly, that they do not have a cell phone or do not email. I hug them and celebrate with them at their freedom!

When did we allow convenience to dictate! I remember reading a small book called Tyranny of the Urgent.

When Charles Hummel wrote his classic essay "Tyranny of the Urgent," in 1967, he identified the telephone as among the worst offenders against our peace and complacency. And that was before we carried the offending instrument with us everywhere and embellished it with email, computers, cameras, downloadable ring tones and music files.
Another quote:
"Your greatest danger is letting the urgent things crowd out the important."
Check out a list by Evan Michael on the Top 50 Productivity Blogs.
I'm always looking at ways to tame the tech monsters that can distract from what we are really trying to do. Choose well. Use techonology instead of allowing it to use you.
It can be insidious. Chargers, docks, beeps and panic!

Find within the list those things that will simplify your life, helping you to accomplish the things you have chosen to do. Be intentional. Live well.

I remember when gas was 23 cents a gallon!


Photo albums.
An address book.
A calendar in my pocket.
A phone hanging on the wall in the kitchen.
(This one looks just like the one at Granny's!)

How times have changed.

I remember when baked potatoes went in to the oven for nearly an hour, sharing space with the meatloaf or roast.
I remember when each day of the week had a household task assigned to it: Groceries on Monday. Vacuum & dust on Tuesday. Windows on Wednesday. Laundry on Thursday. Ironing on Friday.

But hey, I remember when gas was 23 cents a gallon.

29 June 2008

Liminoid? Shared Liminality?

From We need transformation, not false transcendence

I am convinced that without experiences of liminal space (that place where all transformation happens), there is no truthful perspective on life. Without truthful perspective, there is neither gratitude nor any abiding confidence. It is precisely this deep gratitude and unfounded confidence that I see most lacking in our people today, even the people of the church. It makes me wonder whether we are doing our job. We are not being initiated into the mysteries.

Victor Turner, in his classic study of initiation, The Ritual Process, says that some kind of “shared liminality” is necessary to create what he calls communitas, or what I would call church. Communitas in a spiritual sense does not come from manufactured celebrations or events. Haven’t we all tried that? It is forgotten the next day or even the next hour. It depends on artificial stimulants of food, drink, music, shared common space and energy. It is really lovely and probably necessary, but it does not transform. It merely sustains, and it is often unfortunately diversionary from the deeper task.

True communitas comes from having walked through liminality together -- and coming out the other side -- forever different. The baptismal drowning pool was supposed to have ritualized just such an experience. But something happened along the way. Baptism became a pretty blessing of children.

Why don’t we have much communitas on the other side of the pool?

Maybe because there is no drowning pool to sacralize our drowning experiences, and there hasn’t been for centuries. Why is it that we experience both liminality and communitas much more in groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, in places like Ground Zero, in people like cancer survivors, than we do in most churches? Why is it that church people by and large mirror the larger population on almost all counts (and this can be statistically verified) except that they happen to self-identify as Christians?

With some grand exceptions, of course, I would have to say that we are not a genuine alternative to mass consciousness. On the whole, we tend to be just as materialistic, just as warlike, just as individualistic, just as protective of power, prestige and possessions as everyone else. We pray together on Sunday mornings, and most of us do have several moral stands through which we define ourselves. They are not necessarily the moral stands of Jesus, however. For example, Jesus never mentioned issues like abortion, birth control, or homosexuality, but he made an awful lot of simplicity of lifestyle, status reversal and open table fellowship. Really quite amazing.

Not bad, just dangerous
At the risk of being unfair and even making some enemies, I am going to say that much of the church I have experienced in my 58 years of life and 31 years as a priest is much more “liminoid” than liminal. Liminoid experience substitutes group think, shared and engineered feelings, mass reassurance and group membership for any real or significant personal transformation. It works real well. It creates false transcendence in just enough dosage to inoculate people from Real Encounter. It takes away one’s sense of aloneness and one’s sense of anxiety -- and for most people this feels like “God.” And, of course, God is so humble and well practiced that God will use all of these things to bring us to Beloved Union. As I keep saying, these things are not bad, just dangerous and highly productive of delusion. In the world of the Spirit, the real sins are usually quite subtle. The devil is used to dressing in clothes that draw no attention to himself or herself, and if the clothes do, they usually impress us.

Join the conversation. Comment below.
Victor Turner, The Ritual Process: Structure and Anti-Structure (1969).

link to illustration by Stephen Foster

Happy Birthday, Robin!

Happy Birthday to Robin.
Happy Birthday to Robin.
Happy Birthday to Robin.
Happy Birthday, dear friend.

Prayer: axe, wall, bridge, mirror

If God is slow in answering your request, and you ask but do not promptly receive anything, do not be upset, for you are not wiser than God. When you remain as you were before, without anything happening, it is either because your behaviour is not worthy of your request, or because the paths in which your heart was travelling were far removed from the aim of your prayer, or because your interior condition is far too childish, when compared with the magnitude of the thing for which you have asked.

St. Isaac of Nineveh [Syria], The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life.

Prayer, according to its quality, is communion and union of man with God, by its action it upholds the world. It is reconciliation with God. It is the mother, but also the daughter, of tears. It is the atonement of sins, a bridge over temptations, a wall against affliction, a crushing of conflicts, a work of Angels, the food of the Incoporeal, future gladness, boundless work, source of virtues, cause of grace, invisible progress, food of the soul, illumination of the mind, an axe against despair, a proof of hope, a cure for sorrow, the wealth of monks, the treasure of hesychasts, the reduction of anger, the mirror of progress, the demonstration of stature, an indication of one's condition, a relevation of future things, a sign of glory. For one who truly prayers, prayer is the court, the judgment hall and the tribunal of the Lord before the judgement to come.

St. John of the Ladder

Memoralise transition


illustrate that . . . with knots in a piece of string

or a picture of a trail winding in to a circle or winding out from a center . . . .

over 40 days? . . . . in a wilderness? but without defined destination.

keep a calendar and mark off the days,

but that won't be right cause it's not about the destination so much as the journey . . . . .

I'm back to a string . . . but with beads . . . .

whether you throw it off a high cliff in to the ocean . . . . or bury it

or possibly mount it on a circle like a labyrinth as a memorial of the journey?

Of course journaling . . .

maybe just a word for each day,

a string of words that will read as one long sentence at the end . . .

28 June 2008

Tacey: Hooked on Spirituality, Pt 3

Rachael Kohn: You mentioned Aboriginal spirituality and Celtic spirituality, those are two traditions in which the spiritual yearning has found expression in forms, and even in organisation, and in law. And yet spirituality is often defined, and in your book sometimes I encounter descriptions of spirituality that tend toward a formlessness. So is there a tension between, I mean clearly there’s a tension between this pre-theological yearning and its actual expression?

David Tacey: Yes, and I think that’s important that we recognise that because it is as if a sense of spirit is re-emerging. I mean I actually do believe, academics say we’re in a post-modern society but I think what they haven’t yet realised and what I’m realising in relationship with my students, we’re also in a post-secular society. When people talk about the post-modern, they’re not aware that it also means after the death of God.

So that for instance we’ve got the philosopher Jacques Derrida now writing about the death of the death of God. So that we’re actually beyond the death of God now, into this new sense of spirit.

But you’re right, there is a difference between spirit which is formless and spirit which is formed. It’s almost as if society has undergone some cultural amnesia. Secular society has forgotten what religion means, has forgotten what it’s about. But we can’t actually forget spirit, because I think according to my definition of human nature, it’s inherent in us.

So that what we’re dealing with now, and particularly among the student body, spiritual yearnings that don’t have spiritual forms into which those yearnings can be readily placed, and that’s why students I think are suspicious of religions form. Some of them aren’t. I mean I get up to between 5% and 10% who really do want religious form, and some of them want it quite strongly, you might even say fanatically. But I’d say about somewhere between 80% and 90% of the students that I teach are very wary of form, because it’s as if they can feel spirit welling up in their lives and they don’t want to simply place a template on it immediately, they’re very concerned about allowing what is within to come out.

Rachael Kohn: David . . . in your book, you certainly do draw a strong opposition between spirituality and religion. Religion is tragic, old, choking on its own unwept tears, where spirituality is youthful, experimental, alive, risky, full of pain and exhilaration. . . .

David Tacey: . . . I’m not as suspicious of religious form as a lot of youth are, but I present you might say, a persona; I wouldn’t say it’s deliberately false, but it’s a deliberate persona to project to the students a sense that I too understand the limitations of form. I too understand that many, particularly of the Western religious forms, appear antiquated, out of date, lacking relationship with a society that’s experienced at least a half a dozen major revolutions in women’s revolution, sex revolution, race revolution, and a whole lot of other revolutions, civil rights, democracy, and to people coming out of the contemporary secular context, it’s as if religion looks like to some extent a dinosaur, antiquated. And yet at its heart, religion I think contains something which is eternally true, which actually never goes out of date.

So my task I guess, is to kind of meet the contemporary prejudices as you put it, half-way, and say Yes, these things do look terribly old-fashioned, they do look as if they’re irrelevant as so many of my students tell me religion’s irrelevant, and yet once they are awakened to the nature and direction of the spirit in them, they then begin to experience that that spirit seeks form, because I don’t think form is entirely just an imposition from above. I think spirit seeks form for its expression, so that for instance a student may enter the course feeling that spirit ‘bloweth where it listeth’, etc. and it’s best if we don’t have any religious structures.

But I would like to think that by the end of the course, they’re beginning to revise that prejudice and are beginning to see that spirit and form require each other, as a sort of marriage of spirit and form. Now form may need to be changed, and of course as we know, our Western religious traditions are not too keen on change. But youth, as you’ve suggested, are keen on change. So in other words there’s a grinding tension at the beginning between spirituality and religion, but as we deepen our understanding of spirituality we see that firstly it requires form and secondly that what looks initially as a dead religious system, has at its core, the same living spirituality. So it’s a matter of kind of, it’s a delicate process of building bridges between those two things.
Read the entire transcript of Hooked on Spirituality on the ABC National Radio programme The Spirit of Things with Rachael Kohn and guest David Tacey.

Liminality:threshold, betwixt & between

I could have written this. The concepts are clear to me and my lifestyle. But I did not. Someone else wrote it better than I probably could have. So read him . . .

. . . the word liminality comes from the Latin word “limen,” which means “threshold.” It was used by Arnold Van Gennep (1908) in his treatise on rites of passage to describe that place in between one social state and the next (for example, being single and being married). Victor Turner later expanded on this in his work on the Ndembu of Zambia, explaining that those in the liminal state (during a rite of passage) were neither here nor there, and in fact in between the structure of society.
This concept has since been defined in various ways to suit various fields of study, but I came across it while doing my MA thesis, a comparative study of the North American Indian trickster and the protagonist of the Korean “Tale of the Rabbit.” The trickster has a unique position in society, never staying in one place, always moving here or there, never really belonging to any one class or group—yet he is always able to penetrate the social structure at will, although he cannot remain there. The concept fascinated me, and I argued that it was one of the most important things Rabbit and the trickster had in common.I chose “liminality” as the title of this site because, first of all, I like the way the word sounds. It really just glides off the tongue. More importantly, though, I feel that the idea of liminality applies to my life. As a Westerner in Asia, I am between two cultures, never fully belonging to one or the other, but belonging to both at the same time. As a translator, I occupy the place between languages, engaging in a simultaneous act of deconstruction and creation. And in terms of my faith, I struggle to be in the world but not of it—a citizen of a land I will never see in this lifetime, a wanderer for whom home is wherever I happen to be at the moment. Maybe this is why I was so fascinated with the concept of liminality, why it spoke so directly to me.

. . . liminality represents the midpoint of transition in a status-sequence between two positions, outsiderhood refers to actions and relationships which do not flow from a recognized social status but originate outside it. . .

Using Sartre’s terminology, he states: “I see liminality as a phase in social life in which this confrontation between ‘activity which has no structure’ and its ‘structured results’ produces in men their highest pitch of self-consciousness” (1974: 255).
from Victor Turner “Passages, Margins, and Poverty: Religious Symbols of Communitas,” from Dramas, Fields, and Metaphors (1974).

And to read further: What is Liminality?

27 June 2008

Discipler: Tips & Topics

How do we handle difficult questions?
What does the Bible say? You should rarely, if ever, say, “I think . . .”
Point them to something more reliable because it’s not just about this issue, but about life habits that will serve them when you’re not around. EQUIP!

In essentials, unity. In opinions liberty. In all things, love.

Where the Bible speaks, we speak. Where the Bible is silent, we are silent.

What about when someone has an issue?
Know your boundaries and your resource people.
Know the policies & the law.
You are not a counselor. You are not an authority.
Do not let your need for feeling important jeopardize a student’s wellbeing.

Topics we don’t feel “competent” enough to tackle? Theological, social . . .
Maturing disciples must be self feeders; able to do our own theology so that we own it. Spoon-feeding the party line is not helpful in the long run. It is often easier and safer, but lacks integrity & longevity. We cannot get away from theological confusion. Satan thrives on it. So let's do our best to present ourselves to God as ones approved, workers who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handle the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15

What of the never ending arguments over speaking in tongues,
special gifts of healing or knowledge, etc.

Do you know what the Bible says on those things? Read it. Look it up. Reconcile the seeming contradictions within Scripture by checking the big picture. Reconcile the contemporary use or misuse of these gifts.

What about predestination, once saved always saved . . . . ?
If you hold a specific view, do you know why? Is there integrity in your theology?
Can you support it in scripture? If not, do the hard work. Then, do not dwell in the realm of argument while we have people who need to hear about the love of God and the grace provided us in Jesus.

It’s a journey.
Do not think that your answers will necessarily fit other people's questions. Just as you do not want someone else’s conclusions imposed upon you, do not impose, or use your influence, on them. Respect them and respect the process. Have integrity in equipping them scripturally, not indoctrinating them. Present the various views and challenge them to do their own theology.

When you feel out of your depth, tell them . . . . it’s okay to not know it all . . . . and then go with them to a reliable resource person who can open the Bible and walk you all through the possibilities, interpreting all of Scripture with all of Scripture.

What about gender roles?
Anyone who demands their rights, on any grounds, has disqualified themselves from serving or leading. Where in the Bible do we read about rights? No, we learn about privilege and gratitude and servanthood and mutual benefit of the community. While we argue rights, Satan is fighting the real battle.

And finally sexuality.
Yep, we’ve all got the wiring . . . . . some seem to get some wires crossed and express their sexuality in destructive ways. Taking a stand to love people is always a good stand. Taking a stand where the Bible takes a stand is also good because there is often a love motive in that as well. Why does God prohibit certain things? Usually we can draw the line back to a protective origin.

Appropriateness between sexes
Do not become emotionally involved with someone of the opposite sex who is under your leadership.
Do not disciple people of the opposite sex.
Do not meet up one-on-one or have ongoing conversations/texts/emails/social networking messages/talking in depth about personal issues with teenagers of the opposite sex etc.
The only recourse you have to an accusation made against you is denial, and that's not worth much. Don't get in situations where you can be accused.

The Transition Curve

How does organisational change management not apply to our personal lives?
Is the neutral zone liminal space?
Join the conversation! Comment below.

26 June 2008

Quotes from my reading

The truth must dazzle gradually, or every man be blind. " Emily Dickinson

"You have a disagreeable duty to do at twelve o'clock. Do not blacken nine and ten and eleven, and all between, with the color of twelve." George MacDonald

In a dialogue between Father Tim and T:

T took a drag off the cigarette and exhaled. "So tell me somethin'. Goin' back to bein' broke, how come you ain't broke?"
"I am broke. What I've found in being a priest is that we're all broken. Fallen is perhaps a more scriptural concept, but usually what falls get broken, so it's all the same." p 271 Jan Karon, in HTHS

The Jesus Prayer Pt 1

"The Jesus Prayer is a prayer of marvelous versatility. It is a prayer for beginners, but equally a prayer that leads to the deepest mysteries of the contemplative life. It can be used by anyone, at any time, in any place: standing in queues, walking, traveling on buses or trains; when at work; when unable to sleep at night; at times of special anxiety when it is impossible to concentrate upon other kinds of prayer."

Timothy (Kallistos) Ware. The Orthodox Church. NY: Penguin Books, 1993: 305 Kallistos Ware. “Ways of Prayer and Contemplation: Eastern.” Christian Spirituality: Origins to the Twelfth Century. Eds. Bernard McGinn, John Meyendorff, and Jean LeClerq. World Spirituality: An Encyclopedic History of the Religious Quest, Vol. 16. NY: Crossroad, 1988: 407.

Although some aspects of the Jesus Prayer may resemble some aspects of other traditions, its Christian character is central rather than mere "local color." The aim of the Christian practicing it is not humility, love, or purification of sinful thoughts, but becoming holy and seeking union with God (theosis), which subsumes them. Thus, for the Eastern Orthodox:

  • The Jesus Prayer is, first of all, a prayer addressed to God. It's not a means of self-deifying or self-deliverance, but a counterexample to Adam's pride, repairing the breach it produced between man and God.
  • The aim is not to be dissolved or absorbed into nothingness or into God, or reach another state of mind, but to (re)unite with God (which by itself is a process) while remaining a distinct person.
  • It is an invocation of Jesus' name, because Christian anthropology and soteriologyare strongly linked to Christology in Orthodox monasticism.
  • In a modern context the continuing repetition is regarded by some as a form of meditation, the prayer functioning as a kind of mantra. However, Orthodox users of the Jesus Prayer emphasize the invocation of the name of Jesus Christ that St Hesychios describes in Pros Theodoulon which would be contemplation on the Triune God rather than simply emptying the mind.
  • Acknowledging "a sinner" is to lead firstly to a state of humbleness and repentance, recognizing one's own sinfulness.
  • Practicing the Jesus Prayer is strongly linked to mastering passions of both soul and body, e.g. by fasting. For the Eastern Orthodox not the body is wicked, but "the bodily way of thinking" is; therefore salvation also regards the body.
  • Unlike Sanskrit mantras, the Jesus Prayer may be translated into whatever language the pray-er customarily uses. The emphasis is on the meaning not on the mere utterance of certain sounds.
  • There is no emphasis on the psychosomatic techniques, which are merely seen as helpers for uniting the mind with the heart, not as prerequisites.

A magistral way of meeting God for the Eastern Orthodox, the Jesus Prayer does not harbor any secrets in itself, nor does its practice reveal any esoteric truths. Instead, as a hesychastic practice, it demands setting the mind apart from rational activities and ignoring the physical senses for the experiential knowledge of God. It stands along with the regular expected actions of the believer (prayer, almsgiving, repentance, fasting etc.) as the response of the Orthodox Tradition to Paul's challenge to "pray without ceasing" (1 Thess 5:17).
Wikipedia lists numerous sources and background.

25 June 2008

Transitions: the process or an instance of



Thesaurus: transition noun
The process or an instance of passing from one form, state, or stage to another: change, passage, shift, transit. See change/persist.

Antonyms: transition n
Definition: change, often major

Antonyms: beginning, conclusion, end, finish, introduction, sameness, stagnation, start

Spiritual Journey in Margaret Atwood's Surfacing

A quote from a short but complex book with a theme of spiritual journey woven through.

Anna invariably disappoints the Narrator. In her need to hide her natural state from David, Anna “blends and mutes herself so well he may not notice” (38), an interesting camouflage reference that doubles as a reference to her voice – muted. They are ‘best friend’ to one another, though the Narrator has known her only a couple of months. Anna is actually the person who has got closest to deciphering the Narrator’s life, albeit accidentally:
Everyone can do a little magic, she reads hands at parties, she says it’s a substitute for conversation. When she did mine she said “Do you know you have a twin?” I said No. “Are you positive,” she said, “because some of your lines are double.” Her index finger traced me: “You had a good childhood and then there’s this funny break.”
As we later find out, the Narrator does have another person to whom she was at one stage attached – her unborn baby – making this a remarkable piece of detective work by Anna.
Having heard reference to this book and its themes in various places, I hope to delve in to it soon. The thing is to find a time when I am in the right frame of mind. When will that be? Possibly when I'm not needed by others and can peel back a few layers and read with discernment of things spiritual, rather than purely academically.
For insight from others see: Academic Blog or Luminarium or Wikipedia.
Discussion questions from Reading Group Guides.
Continue the conversation by commenting here too!

24 June 2008

Tacey, "Spirituality a Receptivity to Mystery"

Hooked on Spirituality, Pt 2
"I think in some ways I define spirituality as a receptivity to mystery, a sense that there’s more to reality than meets the eye, that there are forces at work in life and even beyond life which a materialist world view doesn’t get at, nor does a humanist world view get at. And I would like to think to some extent of spirituality as almost prior to religion, that is to say, it’s the realisation that there is mystery and that there is spirit in the world before we’ve actually categorised it or before we’ve systematised it.

So what I try to do is work prior to religion. It’s almost my course is pre-theological, and you ask what’s on it: quite a few poems are on it, English Romantic poetry; I teach Aboriginal spirituality through the work of the Kimberley law man, David Mowaljarlai(see left); I teach eco-feminism and its point of view about the relationship between spirit and nature, and there’s also a component in the course on Celtic spirituality which is very popular, and I use the works of John O’Donohue, the contemporary Irish writer there. There are also other elements of the course, for instance I teach Margaret Atwood’s novel, Surfacing, which is very much about a personal spiritual quest of a young woman. That book of course was set a few years ago now. And those are the books which I use. So none of them are actually explicitly religious, but they’re all you might say, working on the spiritual level and trying to generate in the reader a sense of spirit."
David Tacey, Hooked on Spirituality, Sunday 23 February 2003 on The Spirit of Things with Rachael Kohn.

What are your thoughts on faith-spirituality-religion? Where do they differ?
Where do they overlap?
How would you illustrate them to explain your understanding?

Lord Jesus, have mercy. . .

I walked round and round and into the depths of a labyrinth, with only my friend Cheryl, on an autumn day in Indianapolis. Cheryl entered the labyrinth and maintained her own pace and space.

I had read a few verses of Scripture before beginning, and even carried my pocket New Testament with me, but my focus became very sharp as I walked deeper into the labyrinth.

Jesus. My focus was on Jesus. I started praying a short prayer, "Lord Jesus, have mercy on me." Then I started changing the intonation or inflection as I said it. With a different emphasis on each word, the prayer is almost different every time.

The initial mercy He has shown me has made all the difference in my life. The continued mercies He shows me throughout our journey together remind me of the depth and width and breadth of His love.

I started praying the prayer and adding a 'because" followed a phrase that clarified much for me. I don't think it clarified or informed Jesus of anything He didn't already know, but it was illuminating for me.

Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, because you can.
Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, because it is in your nature to be merciful.
Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, because I desperately need it.
Lord Jesus, have mercy on me, because I am lost without you.

The progression was from a focus on Him, His character & nature, to me and my dependence upon Him. Sometime I might share more of those phrases, but some of them are really only for us, Jesus and me.

We often make praying too hard. We often use far too many words.
Pare it back. Simplify. Focus.

23 June 2008

Book Club Titles

What I'm reading now with my Massey University Book Club:
For synopsis of The Time Traveler's Wife & discussion questions- Reading Group Guides.
The Prodigal Kiwi blogged on Salvation Creek some time ago, but truth still rings.

Want to join the conversation? Click comment below.

Jesus in me

You who are hidden and concealed within me,
reveal within me
your hidden mystery;
manifest to me
your beauty that is within me,
O you who have built me
as a temple for you to dwell in,
cause the cloud of your glory
to overshadow inside your temple,
so that the ministers of your sanctuary
may cry out, in love for you,
as an utterance which burns in fire and spirit,
in a sharp stirring which is commingled with wonder
and astonishment,
activated as a living movement
by the power of your being.

Prayer of John the Elder (John of Dalyatha)

The Syriac Fathers on Prayer and the Spiritual Life,
Introduced and Translated by Sebastian Brock (Kalamazoo, Cistercian Publications, 1987) 362.

Sixth International Conference on the Book

Who knew we had such conference available?

In the context of today’s rapid developments in information technologies, the book is indeed old medium of expression. Do the new media (the internet, multimedia texts and new delivery formats) represent a threat or an opportunity? What is the book's future, as a creature of and conduit for human creativity?
This conference will address the provocative suggestion that, rather than being eclipsed by the new media, the book will thrive as a cultural and commercial artefact. More than this, the information architecture of the book, embodying as it does thousands of years' experience with recorded knowledge, may well prove critical to the success of the new media.

The Book Conference is held annually in different locations around the world. The Conference was held in Cairns, Australia in 2003; Beijing, China in 2004; Oxford Brookes University, Oxford, UK in 2005; Emerson College, Boston, Massachusetts, USA in 2006; and the Spanish National Research Council, Madrid, Spain in 2007. The 2008 Book Conference will provide a forum for participants in the book publishing industry, librarians, researchers and teachers from around the world to discuss the past, present and future of the book, and with it, other key aspects of the information society, including publishing, libraries, information systems, literacy and education.
In 2008, the Conference is to be held at the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, USA from 25-27 October 2008. Main speakers will include some of the world’s leading thinkers and innovators in the areas of publishing, editing, librarianship, printing, authoring and information technologies, as well as numerous paper, colloquium and workshop presentations by researchers and practitioners.

The International Journal of the Book
Conference participants can submit papers to The International Journal of the Book, before the conference and up until one month after the conference. Papers submitted for publication will be fully refereed. The publication decision is based on the referees' reports.

22 June 2008

Joan Chittister's Story

On ABC (Australia)Radio National's The Spirit of Things.
This is an interview in which this remarkable woman, Sister Joan Chittister, tells us much about her personal story and the obstacles she had to walk through in order to become this "woman of hope and inspiration". Life is not some box of chocolates and it is enormous irony that so often our pathway to hope, truth and authenticity comes through struggle and overcoming adversity. Isn't that a central message of the Christ story though? Isn't that the real story of the Cross — not this game of "oh woe is me, look what a little goody-two-shoes I am being suffering with you Jesus?" but understanding how to turn adversity into alchemical gold that lights our faces with hope, strength of character, compassion, wisdom and the ability to inspire our children and our neighbours. If you need to search for this programme, look mid-June 08 or via Catholic Australia.

Disciple: the verb

I don't know who originally said this, but discipleship is

Walking so closely to Jesus that the dust
of His sandals settles on our robes.
Knowing His heart.
Representing Him fully in a hurting world.
It is NOT Christian education: transmission of information that fills the brain but does not transform the heart & life.

Discipling is relational, intentional, biblical, transformational, Spirit guided, and individually tuned to the journey of the disciple thus far.

One thing I’d really like to encourage you in as a discipler . . .
When you see God at work, work with Him. When you see that someone is on the verge of making the next step in faith, pay attention and encourage them appropriately.

21 June 2008

David Tacey on Spirituality

Hooked on Spirituality, Pt 1
David Tacey:
I think for many students today, spirituality is the only liberation ideology that they can see. In the sense that when I was a student, the liberation ideologies were mainly political, or they were feminist or they were Marxist or they were radical left, or something like that.

We’ve got to realise that what we’re dealing with in youth today is a generation, or some overlapping generations, for whom politics, feminism, the far left, these are almost myths of the past, of belonging to the ‘60s and ‘70s, and many of them despair at politics, and the ability of politics to effect real change and even major feminists are announcing that the feminist era is over. And so what’s left for young people to believe in? What’s left for them to feel is an opportunity for liberation and I think almost by default, Rachael, there’s a sort of sense that spirituality is there as something to explore, to bring personal and also social I think liberation.

You see because what’s happening is a spirituality movement or spirituality revolution which I think is very broad in society. The secular systems of education, health, politics etc. don’t really understand it and therefore often become quite fearful of it. Certainly as yet, there’s been no you might say, systematic attempt in tertiary education to actually grasp this student interest in spirituality.

I think what we’re doing here is rather sort of new and a bit unique. But the church is also suspicious because from almost the opposite point of view, because so much popular spirituality is not churchy and doesn’t fit in to doctrinal lines, so there’s a certain sense in which both our secular education institutions and our institutions of faith, neither of them are quite speaking to this particular hunger, and as a result, there’s tension between the three of them. And that’s what I try to negotiate. Read more in the transcript or download the audio.
David Tacey- At La Trobe University, I teach courses on spirituality and cultural studies, analytical psychology, and literature. I teach a 4th and 5th year subject on the theme of transcendence in contemporary philosophy, depth psychology and literature, and I alternate this with a subject on ecocriticism and environmental psychology.

Another Tacey link
"What I find particularly compelling about David Tacey's argument though is that he is not merely endeavouring to chart why this disjunction has opened up in Western society between religion and spirituality. At the core of this address is a powerful argument about why the decline of institutionalised religion is a bad thing and why we are called to do something about that and reverse the trend. He believes the institutional Church still has an important role to play in society and we are called to a responsibility to redress this situation. His argument though, is not some argument about power. It's about disconnecting religion from the power and allure of human politics and human egos and reconnecting it back to what it ought be connected to — spirituality … the power and allure that is found in the Divine, the ultimate powerhouse that drives, sustains and animates Creation." Brian Coyne PDF of lecture

Take, Lord, and Receive

Take, Lord, and receive all my liberty, my memory,
my understanding, and my entire will.
All I have and call my own.
Whatever I have or hold, you have given me.
I return it all to you and surrender it wholly
to be governed by your will.
Give me only your love and your grace
and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more.

St. Ignatius, from the end of the Spiritual Exercises

From Yearbooks to Face Book: Public Memory in Transition

By: Brian F. Clark, Dr. William Thompson, Jeffrey Matlak

The high school or college yearbook functioned as a form of public memory, a yearly memorial in print by which institutions constructed an approved visual and print master narrative of an institution and its members. Yearbook recipients traditionally created elaborate marginalia, a ritualized act of transgression (writing in a book) that transformed an institutional artifact into a more personalized one and created carnivalesque private counter narratives (pace Bakhtin) to an institution’s master one. The traditional yearbook is now nearly extinct—and nothing has quite replaced it as a site of institutional memory. Today, people memorialize themselves on the web using personal web pages, blogs, and social networking sites like FaceBook, MySpace, and Bebo to name but a few. Whereas traditional yearbooks memorialized the many (the institution), social networking sites celebrate the personal and attempt to create ad hoc group identities, i.e. “groups.” Paradoxically, FaceBook has institutionalized the carnivalesque, draining it of much of its transgressive power. This presentation will examine the ways in which the distinction between public memory and private memory, between, for instance, diaries and yearbooks, has been blurred to the point of erasure. Diaries in the form of blogs or social networking sites have become as public as yearbooks—and as institutionalized. What has been lost in this shift? What gained? And who, or what, benefits?
Read More Join the conversation! Comment below.

The Sixth Int'l Conference on the Book, 25-27 October 2008

20 June 2008

Questions of the Heart: Renovare

Examen is the Latin word for the pointer on a set of scales or balances. In the Christian context, it describes the practice of making an honest assessment of our life before God - our successes and failures, our rebellion and our obedience. This enables us to confess our sin and receive God's forgiveness, to discern potential strengths and weaknesses in our spiritual life, and to commit ourselves to realistic disciplines to promote our growth in Christlike character.

Contemplative: The Prayer-filled life
In what ways has God made his presence known to you since our last meeting? What experiences of prayer, meditation, and spiritual reading has God given you? What difficulties or frustrations have you encountered? What joys and delights?

Holiness: The Virtuous Life
What temptations have you faced since our last meeting? How did you respond? Which spiritual disciplines has God used to lead you further into holiness of heart and life?

Charismatic: The Spirit-Empowered Life
Have you sensed any influence or work of the Holy Spirit since our last meeting? What spiritual gifts has the Spirit enabled you to exercise? What was the outcome? What fruit of the Spirit would you like to see increase in your life? What disciplines might be useful in this effort?

Social Justice: The Compassionate Life
What opportunities has God given you to serve others since our last meeting? How did you respond? Have you encountered any injustice to or oppression of others? Have you been able to work for justice and shalom?

Evangelical: The Word-Centred Life
Has God provided an opportunity for you to share your faith with someone since our last meeting? How did you respond? In what ways have you encountered Christ in your reading of the Scriptures? How has the Bible shaped the way you think and live?

Incarnational: The Sacramental Life
In what ways have you been able to manifest the presence of God through your daily work since our last meeting? How has God fed and strengthened you through the ministry of word and sacrament?

Copyright © Renovare 2007

. . . adapt your word to my smallness . . .


"Whenever I think of your infinity, I am racked with anxiety, wondering how you are disposed to me... You must adapt your word to my smallness, so that it can enter into this tiny dwelling of my finiteness - the only dwelling in which I can live - without destroying it. If you should speak such an "abbreviated" word, which would not say everything but only something simple which I could grasp, then I could breath freely again. You must make your own some human word, for that is the only kind I can comprehend. Don't tell me everything that you are; don't tell me of your infinity - just say that you Love me, just tell me of your Goodness to me."

Karl Rahner SJ. Quoted by Elizabeth A. Johnson in her latest book,

Quest for the Living God: Mapping Frontiers in the Theology of God

(pub 2007), within the chapter titled: "Gracious mystery, ever greater, ever nearer"

I found this gem on Prodigal Kiwi

19 June 2008

18 June 2008

Proverb quiz

Match these up to complete the sayings in the way that makes the most sense.
Just for fun, jumble them up and see what you get.

1. All is fair
2. In for a penny,
3. Never look a gift horse
4. There are only twenty-four hours
5. There is safety

a. in the mouth.
b. in a day.
c. in love and war.
d. in for a pound.
e. in numbers.

Is common sense really common, especially across cultures where idiom and metaphor may not communicate accurately?

A life examined . . .

Ask God to help you identify the moment today for which you are most grateful. Recall that moment in as much detail as possible.
What made it so special? "For what moment today am I most grateful?"

Ask God to help you identify the moment today for which you are least grateful. Recall that moment. What made it so difficult? "For what moment today am I least grateful?"

Follow this with "When did I feel most alive today? When did I most feel life draining out of me today?"

Try to keep the Daily Examen as consistently as possible. At regular intervals look back over your journal entries.
What do you notice? Any patterns? Themes?
What might these writings be telling you about how God is speaking to you?
What do these writings suggest about your identity? Your purpose? Your direction?

The Daily Examen is an approach to grow in self-understanding and in openness to Gods love and God's self-direction for your life. Specifically, the Examen helps us get in touch with our feelings and reactions to daily experience and identify what gives us joy and what brings us sorrow. Experiences that seem small and insignificant at the time take on greater meaning when we recognize they are part of a larger pattern.

An online example of this approach simplified by a woman who used it as a family event each
evening. Angela York Crane describes herself as a woman who is a finder and holder of stories. living on both ends - an exploration of best and worst

"The unexamined life is not worth living." Socrates

Renovare has an excellent set of Questions of the Heart that go a bit further and address specific areas of life.

Sweetened Links: Leonard Sweet

I came across a sweet list of links that might be of interest to some readers of my blog. I'm not prone to puns, so do forgive me.

While I like to curl up on the couch, or out on the deck if it would stop raining, with a good book, I'm constantly amazed at the amount, and quality, of good material available online. What links can you share? Where do you go for inspiration, challenge, stretching or information?
The Prodigal Kiwi Blog also has an impressive list of sites of interest.

17 June 2008

Proverbial Sense

Knowledge is like fire;
you get it from your neighbour.
- Shona Proverb

Many stars cannot be concealed by a small cloud.
- Maori Proverb

Smell the Flowers -- Eat the Rice
A sailor, while bringing flowers to a cemetery,
noticed an old Chinese man placing a bowl of rice on a nearby grave.

The sailor walked up to the man and asked,
"When do you expect your friend to come up and eat the rice?"

The old Chinese man replied with a smile,
"Same time your friend comes up to smell the flowers."

Vulnerable Zimbabwe

The Reign of Thuggery By Joshua Hammer
Excerpts from NY Review of Books:

If Mugabe wins the election on June 27, his victory will represent, in part, the last, desperate gambit of a regime that long ago lost any shred of legitimacy. But it will also demonstrate how the possibility of genuine electoral change turned into a continuing nightmare—a nightmare of open, repressive brutality—thanks, in large part, to the refusal of Mbeki and other African leaders to intervene (with the exception of Ian Khama of Botswana, who has provided quiet support for Tsvangirai). This abdication of responsibility bears consequences not only for the future of Zimbabwe under the apparently unhindered violent rule of Mugabe, but also for the possibility of some minimal kind of multinational African concern for protecting democratic processes and human rights.

. . . Particularly distressing to Zimbabweans have been reports that 2,700 teachers have fled or were evicted, while dozens of schools have been closed down and 121 are being used as bases for the ruling party's youth militias. One of Mugabe's achievements was opening up schools to poor blacks. Literacy rates rose from 2 percent in 1990 to 70 percent in recent years. Now Mugabe has been destroying the country's education system.

. . . Not every SADC leader has followed Mbeki's lead: Botswana's president, Ian Khama, has been quietly providing Tsvangirai with government planes and other logistical support as the MDC leader travels around Africa, attempting to increase pressure on Mugabe. (The Herald commented that Tsvangirai's MDC was criss-crossing southern African capitals, "all in a bid to slough off its white western skin for an African one.") And Zambian president Levy Mwanawasa, the current chairman of the SADC, has been vilified as a neocolonialist by ZANU-PF officials for his outspoken criticism of Mugabe.

. . . This split within the SADC was perhaps most glaring during the notorious "Ship of Shame" incident that unfolded while I was traveling through the region in April. During my stay in Namibia, local newspapers published extensive reports on the odyssey of the An Yue Jiang, a Chinese merchant vessel that was carrying thousands of tons of arms and ammunition to the Zimbabwean government—some of it, presumably, to be used by the army and police to put down opposition protests. After dockworkers in the South African port of Durban refused to unload the vessel, the An Yue Jiang attempted to drop its cargo at the Namibian port of Walvis Bay. But Namibian civil leaders and union pressure obliged the government—normally friendly to Mugabe—to deny the ship landing rights, and it was forced back out to sea.

After a several-week odyssey, however, ZANU-PF officials boasted that they had finally taken delivery of the cargo. The An Yue Jang reportedly unloaded the weapons in May in the Angolan port of Lobito. From there, the cargo traveled by train to the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it was loaded onto regular military supply flights and flown to Harare. It was yet another example of how a lack of SADC solidarity in the face of Mugabe's abuses had emboldened and strengthened one of the world's most abusive regimes.

. . . When I talked to Tsvangirai at the end of his speech, I reminded him of our election-day meeting at his home in Harare. I asked him if he thought his life would be in danger if he went back to Zimbabwe. The regime was capable of anything, he replied, and "I'm as vulnerable as everyone else." His words, as it turned out, were prescient. The next day, Tsvangirai was forced to postpone his homecoming after MDC secretary-general Tendai Biti said the MDC had uncovered a Zimbabwean army plot to kill Tsvangirai using a team of snipers.

Volume 55, Number 11 · June 26, 2008 The Reign of Thuggery By Joshua Hammer

Thomas Paine, Common Sense

In the following pages I offer nothing more than simple facts, plain arguments, and common sense: and have no other preliminaries to settle with the reader, than that he will divest himself of prejudice and prepossession, and suffer his reason and his feelings to determine for themselves that he will put on, or rather that he will not put off, the true character of a man, and generously enlarge his views beyond the present day. Thomas Paine, Common Sense

See the first of a short series of posts on Common Sense, the phrase and contemporary usage.

16 June 2008

What makes a good VP?

Watch the video!

What makes a good VP?
May 23: NBC presidential historian Michael Beschloss and NBC's Andrea Mitchell discuss the important traits of a good vice presidential running-mate.

What has Obama said about how he might choose:
"I would like somebody who knows about a bunch of stuff that I'm not as expert on," he said, and then he was off and running. "I think a lot of people assume that might be some sort of military thing to make me look more Commander-in-Chief-like. Ironically, this is an area--foreign policy is the area where I am probably most confident that I know more and understand the world better than Senator Clinton or Senator McCain."

"That last thing I'd say about a vice president is--obviously, you want someone who can be president and who shares a broad vision of where I want to take the country; don't have to agree with me on every particular, but shares with me a bias for opening up government, adding a rational discourse about how we're gonna solve problems, a bias towards empowering individual citizens."


He frequently waves off queries with a joke that the vice president has just two duties: casting tie votes in the Senate and inquiring daily about the health of the president. But that hasn’t stopped feverish speculation about his frequent companions on the campaign trail and those who have made the invitation list for weekend retreats to the candidate’s cabin outside Sedona.

Many believe that voters’ concern about McCain’s age – he will be 72 on inauguration day – means his choice for the No. 2 spot will carry a great deal of weight.

But there is little consensus within the party about what issue will define McCain’s choice. Should his team look to a candidate who could shore up his economic credentials? Should he choose a partner who could allay suspicions among some conservatives that McCain is too liberal? Or does he have the latitude to choose a candidate who might broaden the appeal of the Republican Party?

McCain’s most obvious task is finding someone the American people would view as a suitable stand-in as commander in chief.

Join in the discussion! Though the following comments suggest Obama will win the election.

Open thread: Obama's Vice-President (not Hillary)

Some considerations for what makes a good Vice President:
•Debater/public speaker/attack dog: the primary function of the V.P. in the campaign season. How well do they speak of the nominee? Defend him?
•Are they vetted? Any skeletons in the closet?
•Would they make a great President? Are they Presidential?
•Good relations with the Senate? Senate leadership?
•Diplomatic? They may have to break ties in the Senate.
•Are they too influential in their current position? They may not want to the day-to-day duties of the V.P. i.e. Funerals, etc.
•Appearance and manner. Unfortunately in this day and age you have to look relatively good and have a pleasant or appealing image.
•Are they media savy? Are they good a good communicator? Pleasant voice?
•Geographic and demographic concerns:
--Region/state: Can they offer a win in a key swing state or key region?
--Demographics: race, religion, ethnicity, class or income level they might appeal to.
•Issues. Do they offer experience on a key issue? Or if not, could they offer experience on an issue that is not currently talked about but that could become a winner?
•Do they line up well with the nominee on the issues? You do not want a counter-intuitive stance on the issues.
•Have they endorsed or supported the nominee through and through?

"I'm sure there are other considerations as well. However, I think that's a pretty good start."
By josephcast - May 30, 2008, 4:06PM

Prayer for Generosity

Lord, teach me to be generous.
Teach me to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost,
to fight and not to heed the wounds,
to toil and not to seek for rest,
to labor and not to ask for reward,
save that of knowing that I do your will.

St. Ignatius

15 June 2008

A conversation?

I went to a seminar on Ignatian Spirituality this week. As I go in to such encounters, I often wonder who else might sign up for such a thing? What type of people might be there, on a week day, all day, to pray?

The heater was humming in the corner and the chairs were arranged in a circle large enough to accommodate about 30 people. I took my place off to the side of where the leader's chair was.
Sister Anne gave us a general idea of how the day would proceed and then asked us to introduce ourselves briefly and state why we had come. Some people understood the word briefly and some did not.

We began with an overview of Ignatius' life so as to better understand his spiritual journey and how his prayer practices developed. the morning continued with a meditation exercise and an opportunity to peel away and be on our own for a bit.

At lunch time, we had the option of eating quietly on our own or in conversation with others at round tables in the dining room. I chose to sit with a woman who appeared to have some substance and wisdom about her. A man I had met in another context joined us and then, finally, another woman who had spoken up in our morning session.

We enjoyed our soup, buttered our bread and commenced a communal lunch, engaging in conversation about spiritual direction and what we had been reading. Eager to hear a sense of God in each of my companions, I asked open ended questions and leaned in to listen.

Over time, though, it became apparent that the last occupant at our table was not a good listener. In fact, she monopolised the conversation, uhmming her way through the gaps in her own stream of consciousness so as to maintain her right to speak.

As people who desire to have generous hearts overflowing with grace, the other three of us attempted to both listen and build bridges for another person to join in. At times the woman seemed to simultaneously argue both sides of an issue. I got confused, not knowing when to agree or even what the point was!

Sensing that her social skills were not only stunted a bit, but that maybe she had a mental health issue, we responded both professionally & generously, but possibly aware that our lunchtime was not going to be the highlight of our retreat day.

Part of Ignatian spirituality is to examen yourself, your day, to see where you were aware of God in the midst of it all.

I sense that, in the midst of it all, God was frustrated, not because I was, but because this woman had been repeatedly frustrated by faith institutions and by people. Her journey had not been an easy one and was not likely to find resolution soon. We are surrounded by people like that; wounded pilgrims who know there's something better and, often quite desperately, seek to find it.

May she know the peace of God, the joy and hope of knowing Jesus is in her corner, the consolation of knowing the most important battles have been fought, and won.

Common Sense continued . . .

So what is common sense? Tell me it's not dead!
I like the idea of a general conscious awareness. How about a filtering of information and a logical process of knowing what to keep and what to disregard?

Some say a common natural understanding? Hmm. Again we'd have to grapple with whether such concepts can be common anymore. And we'd have to take in to consideration that people understand things on various levels. Someone who can diagram the intricate technical details of an electronic component may not have the social skills to extricate himself from the mildest of dilemmas at a party. There are different ideas of sense:

Business sense or acumen, financial sense in being able to judge the markets and know when to make decisions.
Medical sense or emergency response abilities, almost innate or intuitive understandings of things that enable appropriate responses.

Horticulturally, common sense says that good soil is far more likely to produce a bountiful harvest than depleted soil.

Mechanical common sense says that machines need maintenance if they are to continue to run properly, and that oil is vital to an environment where many metal parts are interdependent upon each other.

Commons sense suggests that if you have good friends in your formative years you'll avoid a lot of heartache. The company you keep makes a big difference in the person you become.

Common sense says you'd save for purchases and buy on sale, rather than use credit, pay full price AND interest thereby increasing the cost of the item many times over.

Common sense says that showing respect to fellow human beings is going to produce better outcomes and mutually beneficial relationships.

Common sense says that if you pay enough positive and loving attention to child, you'll not have to devote so much corrective attention or negative reinforcement. Common sense suggests that spanking a child for hitting their friend is a bit short sighted, though my mother biting me when I'd bitten a friend was an effective deterrent.

Common sense suggests that you can make your phone calls from home for a flat fee thereby avoiding exorbitant monthly bills for a cellular phone. Common sense also suggests that if you have a cell phone, it is not designed to enhance your driving ability.

Common sense might result in people treating each other well in traffic, sharing the space and lowering stress, rather than treating other cars as machines, forgetting that they are very likely driven by people much like yourself.

Common sense suggests that if everyone picks up after themselves, no one person has to pick up much at all. That if all the dishes end up in the dishwasher, or at least near it, then mama doesn't have so much to do.

Common sense suggests that if you plant a garden or go fishing or raise your own chickens, you'll have the added pleasure of knowing you can provide for yourself with less reliance on big companies and a world economy in disarray.

Common sense suggests that disasters do happen . . . floods, storms, earthquakes . . . and that if you have candles, matches, blankets, easy prep food and extra water on hand, you'll see your household through it much better than if you're not at all prepared.

Common sense suggests that if families share a meal together most days of the week, communication will be better and major catastrophes avoided by early appropriate response from parents and siblings.

Got any more common sense to share so as to make it more common?

Continued from a previous post. Read more . . . .

14 June 2008

Book List - BBC Top 100 Books

In April 2003 the BBC's Big Read began the search for the nation's best-loved novel. To suggest I endorse all of these would suppose I have read them all. Neither is true. My book club and I are knocking off a few of these and we're making our own lists.

Below are the nominees from number 1 to 100 in numerical order!

1. The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
2. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
3. His Dark Materials, Philip Pullman
4. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
5. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, JK Rowling
6. To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
7. Winnie the Pooh, AA Milne
8. Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell
9. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, CS Lewis
10. Jane Eyre, Charlotte Brontë
11. Catch-22, Joseph Heller
12. Wuthering Heights, Emily Brontë
13. Birdsong, Sebastian Faulks
14. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier
15. The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
16. The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
17. Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
18. Little Women, Louisa May Alcott
19. Captain Corelli's Mandolin, Louis de Bernieres
20. War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy
21. Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
22. Harry Potter And The Philosopher's Stone, JK Rowling
23. Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, JK Rowling
24. Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azkaban, JK Rowling
25. The Hobbit, JRR Tolkien
26. Tess Of The D'Urbervilles, Thomas Hardy
27. Middlemarch, George Eliot
28. A Prayer For Owen Meany, John Irving
29. The Grapes Of Wrath, John Steinbeck
30. Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
31. The Story Of Tracy Beaker, Jacqueline Wilson
32. One Hundred Years Of Solitude, Gabriel García Márquez
33. The Pillars Of The Earth, Ken Follett
34. David Copperfield, Charles Dickens
35. Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
36. Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson
37. A Town Like Alice, Nevil Shute
38. Persuasion, Jane Austen
39. Dune, Frank Herbert
40. Emma, Jane Austen
41. Anne Of Green Gables, LM Montgomery
42. Watership Down, Richard Adams
43. The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald
44. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Alexandre Dumas
45. Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh
46. Animal Farm, George Orwell
47. A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
48. Far From The Madding Crowd, Thomas Hardy
49. Goodnight Mister Tom, Michelle Magorian
50. The Shell Seekers, Rosamunde Pilcher
51. The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
52. Of Mice And Men, John Steinbeck
53. The Stand, Stephen King
54. Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy
55. A Suitable Boy, Vikram Seth
56. The BFG, Roald Dahl
57. Swallows And Amazons, Arthur Ransome
58. Black Beauty, Anna Sewell
59. Artemis Fowl, Eoin Colfer
60. Crime And Punishment, Fyodor Dostoyevsky
61. Noughts And Crosses, Malorie Blackman
62. Memoirs Of A Geisha, Arthur Golden
63. A Tale Of Two Cities, Charles Dickens
64. The Thorn Birds, Colleen McCollough
65. Mort, Terry Pratchett
66. The Magic Faraway Tree, Enid Blyton
67. The Magus, John Fowles
68. Good Omens, Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
69. Guards! Guards!, Terry Pratchett
70. Lord Of The Flies, William Golding
71. Perfume, Patrick Süskind
72. The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, Robert Tressell
73. Night Watch, Terry Pratchett
74. Matilda, Roald Dahl
75. Bridget Jones's Diary, Helen Fielding
76. The Secret History, Donna Tartt
77. The Woman In White, Wilkie Collins
78. Ulysses, James Joyce
79. Bleak House, Charles Dickens
80. Double Act, Jacqueline Wilson
81. The Twits, Roald Dahl
82. I Capture The Castle, Dodie Smith
83. Holes, Louis Sachar
84. Gormenghast, Mervyn Peake
85. The God Of Small Things, Arundhati Roy
86. Vicky Angel, Jacqueline Wilson
87. Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
88. Cold Comfort Farm, Stella Gibbons
89. Magician, Raymond E Feist
90. On The Road, Jack Kerouac
91. The Godfather, Mario Puzo
92. The Clan Of The Cave Bear, Jean M Auel
93. The Colour Of Magic, Terry Pratchett
94. The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
95. Katherine, Anya Seton
96. Kane And Abel, Jeffrey Archer
97. Love In The Time Of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez
98. Girls In Love, Jacqueline Wilson
99. The Princess Diaries, Meg Cabot
100. Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie

Many book review links can be found at The Complete Review

Facebook: a tool for organisation?

While most people use Facebook as a social networking tool to keep up with friends, rellies & colleagues, Facebook can also help you get things done.

A plethora of third party Facebook apps are floating around out there, most of them about as useful as a fish on a bicycle. However, there are some diamonds among the coal - and these are the ones you can use to launch your Facebook profile into the efficiency stratosphere. Keep reading to find out how to customize your Facebook into a productivity launchpad.

Writing helps
Zoho: You can add Zoho to your Facebook profile; this gives you the power to write all your office-ish documents.
MyLists allows you to create simple lists and share them with others.
Files gives you up to 1 GB of free online space from which to share any kind of file: text, audio, video, etc. (Requires a Box.net account.)
Swap and share files with Divshare, up to 200 MB in size.
Get the calendrial (new word, peeps) power of 30 Boxes in your Facebook with the superbly executed 30 Boxes Facebook app.
View your Google Calendar events within Facebook with the GCal app.
Stay on top of the hip and the happenin' with the Upcoming.org application; get info about events before they happen.
Photo Editing & Storage
Use Picasa within Facebook with the Picasa app; you can upload photos, resize them, share images, and more.
Read your favorite RSS feeds from within your Facebook profile with MyRSS; offers a few hundred categorized feeds from which to choose from as well as adding your own feeds (doesn't seem to be a bulk import option though - perhaps you can sneak 'em in via OPML?).
Share what you're reading via the Google Reader app; displays only your shared items.

You can also play Scrabble, do fridge magnet poetry and all kinds of other things that eat days & years off our lives.

The helpful bits of this post were thought out by Wendy Boswell, Lifehacker's Weekend Editor