Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The unjust steward

Interesting meeting on Christian ethics in business. We looked at the Unjust Steward (Lk 16:1-6) and for the first time I read the Greek. Give an account for your stewardship is give the logos for your stewardship. So part of the meaning must be that when we (as children of light) give the logos we should be at least as shrewd as the children of this world..

Many examples of bad stewardship in literature, few of good ones (except perhaps Gandalf)

Monday, May 30, 2005

Humility - again

Back from Sun/Mon sailing. Our goals were (a) to complete a race - which we did on Sun, and (b) not to come last, which we did on Mon. In good winds our boat sails v fast and we were lying 4th and powering up to the leaders, but then the wind dropped and in bad winds we sail v. slowly, so came 2nd last. Getting slowly better but it's suitably humbling to see how much we have to learn.

French Non must be good news - the draft Constitution was far too long, and the Oui campaign was effectively "we are the political elite - trust us".

Tried to help daughter's friend with RE homework over the phone. The Cosmological Proof is not "everything has a cause, so God must be the first cause" because the fallacy (God does not have a cause) is too obvious. People 1000 years ago were not stupid - far from it. I remember reading of someone who remarked in the presence of Godel that there had been nothing really new in philosophy since Aristotle. But, if you except Godel and arguably Keirkegaard, there is a lot of truth in that.

Friday, May 27, 2005


Advance cheque arrived today - problem: what should I buy with it, it ought to be something lasting. Or perhaps I should donate half to Charity and buy something with the other half?
Final 'scoop' material arrived for appendix B. Due to mistaken setup by ISPs we nearly missed it becasue an email didn't get through ("for the want of a nail...")

Meanwhile someone asks John Polkinghorne about new physical theory so I have to look into it - just possible that there is something in it but v v unlikely. Still, keeps me on my toes.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

This weak machine

Big controversy in Nature's letters page last week becasue the Editor suggested that scientists should teach in schools how religious people reconcile their faith to science. Dawkins et all object because 'Many scientists deem' this impossible. But it's Dawkins that has put people off science to a huge extent by his Selfish Gene nonsense.

Small mistake by one of our ADSL providers and another small mistake by our ISP in the attempts to rectify it has knocked us off email for most of the day. Seeing the big effects of 'tiny' errors in the human world how anyone can fall for 'genetic determinism' and the idea that we are 'machines' is - logically - beyond me. But psychologically it absolves people from responsibility or God.

Not what Handel's librettist had in mind with "how vain the man that boasts in fight, the valour of gigantic might; and dreams not that a hand unseen, directs and guides this weak machine"

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Lovely, humbling days

Just back from 2 days sailing - but the waves were considerable. On Sat my crew (a13) decided she didn't want to go out so we practiced trapezing in the Harbour - time and time again. "You must find it boring dad?" but not at all, it was a joy doing the same thing each time and watching her getting better and better and having more and more fun and confidence. On Sun we went out for a race but the waves were considerable, and after 40% of the course my crew wanted to retire, so back to port. One step at a time.

Meanwhile an e-correspondent for Alton Abbey says she has been really helped by the fumbling words I sent her - she was attracted to email the monks becasue their smiles showed that they were deeply happy and centred (would that mine did!). The toil of websites is considerable and it's the occasional "wow you have really helped" that makes it all worthwhile.

Of course both the sea and doing, in a very small way, God's work through the web, are lovely and humbling.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


Went to memorial service for Italian husband of a friend. Short and with much love, and a bust of her late husband. Then party afterwards meeting a whole range of agreeable people - 2 of whom invited us to stay in their Villa in S of France. This is old stomping ground and we're sorely tempted. Also discovered that an old acquaintance is in a play in London - must go and see her.

Charles Handy says in The Hungry Spirit that he used to compose a putative funeral address - now he updates a letter to his children.

Looks as if the French will vote Non (though nothing is certain). This constitution is far too long - Plan B should be to slim it down to the essentials.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Weekend - abortion dangers

Lovely Saturday - a graduation ceremony in Cambridge and then lunch with almost all our family. Then today we missed the train to sea-sailing so decided not to go (tired) and so 9am Catholic Church, 6 mi run, swim, impromptu lunch with friends, and then evening sailing on the Thames.

I see that there is now evidence that abortions damage your future children. Of course women are not told.

Friday, May 13, 2005

An infinite good

An e-correspondent asks about non-Christians. I explain that John Polkinghorne is pretty close to being a Universalist.

The worry many people have about quasi-Universalism is that it seems to make proclaiming and embracing the Gospel un-important. But I observe that if there is a probabilty p>0 that someone will miss out on eternal loving union with God - an infinite good - through not truly embracing the Good News then it doesn't matter what the value of p is, it is still infinitely important that they do so. And p must be >0 because otherwise salvation is compusory, and not an act of love.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

A bit relentless

Wonderful Polly Paulusma had a gig on Tues in Camden - some super new songs as well as classics. Then Weds a City Lunch and a Client Dinner - so sadly ducked out of the WCIT Prayer Breakfast which I would have loved to have attended but which would have wiped me out!
Publisher seems pleased with the book - of which I have now delivered the last chapter. We've now finalised the contract (which I didn't get round to before) and he's increased the advance by 40% and the maximum royalties by 50%, as well as made various other improvements.

Friday - friend's opera in London, Saturday - Daughter's MA in Cambridge, Sunday sailing race - it's all a bit reletless, we're really glad of a night in tonight.

Rang up to speak to a fairly recently promoted top manager at a major multinational client only to discover that he didn't yet have a phone or a PA and the only way to contact him was email!

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Novels & Play

e-correspondent asks what John Polkinghorne thinks about the philosophy of Walker Percy - I mentally reply that "I have not so much heard as whether there be a Walker Percy" - must ask John.

Went to Julius Caesar last night w Ralph Feinnes and Simon Russel Beale. Amazing play, great actors, though I thought that Russel Beale should have been Brutus 'cos unless you really believe that "This was the noblest Roman of them all" the play, esp the 2nd act, doesn't quite work properly. I also do wish that directors would respect the text more, both in terms of the constraints it imposes on casting and setting (Simon RB certainly doesn't have a "lean and hungry look" - and the actor who played Brutus did) and in terms of verse-speaking - far too many pauses ... but it's still a fascinating play.

Monday, May 09, 2005

Not finished when finished!

Of course the 'final' text doesn't mean work on the book has finished - far from it. 2 long emails from publsiher already and I have a 'final' interview this lunchtime which will enable me to make adjustments to the 'scoop' chapter of the book.

Our lovely PA is leaving to spend more time with her pre-school children and although we thought it impossible that we'd find a replacement as nice our new colleague seems (starting later this morning) seems really wonderful. We'll stay in touch with Louise I'm sure, as we have with all the other PAs we have had.

Sailing race on Sun - greatly improved although technically unplaced due to not understanding the course properly. Then v inspiring service at (new-ish) Church. I'll be off our PCC soon so can then give a fuller account (perhaps) of what has been happening at (old) Church.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Finshed - for now!

Book finished and off to publishers - sure there'll be lots of work but at least can get back to normal life a bit now. It's really odd 'finishing' a book - there's a wonderful Churchill quote about how sick you get of it by the end, which I think was tongue in cheek.

Personal prediction of UK Election: 15% chance of Tory win (yes really, despite polls) maybe 20% chance of hung parliament, 50% chance of Labour win with majority of under 100, 15% over 100.

Sadly Iraq casualties climbing again.