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Category Archives: change

Painting the future

Time & Eternity

 

The artist opened her paint box, dampened her brush and started. Before her was a handsome half-timbered house complete with moat and gatehouse. She worked on in that hot summer’s day. The picture developed but did not show the many visitors who trooped passed. She disliked their intrusion with garish tops and shorts into this piece of Tudor history.

Then she sighted an old man in straw hat and linen jacket stop and gaze at the house. He was perfect for inclusion just at the bridge over the moat.
Soon she finished her work as the shadows drifted towards afternoon. So, she collected her gear and arose. To her surprise, there beside her was the gentleman she had portrayed.

 

They talked, and she asked if he knew the house well.

‘Yes’ he replied ‘many years ago I lived here’.
‘My uncle once owned it and I stayed each summer as a boy ‘. ‘Do you miss it?’ asked the artist.

‘Yes, but you can’t turn the clocks back. Now it’s the property of the tourists who pay for the upkeep’.

 

He paused and said: ‘Why don’t you paint it again including the visitors-that’s the picture of the future?’

 

A few minutes later he left with the first picture and the painter started again remembering that time runs in only one direction.

 

 

 

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The Tree

4m1W7GThe tree remembered being planted in the churchyard those many summers ago. For he saw the young daughter of the squire slipping in a copy of that new book on ‘Pride and Prejudice’ to wile away the long sermon. This blissful rural scene was oblivious to the battles being fought on land and sea to fence in the tyrant Napoleon.
The tree brought to mind the parishioners chattering excitedly having been told of a war far away over whether humans could own humans; trees never own each other more than they can own God’s sunlight.

He then lived many summers and slept for many winters before Johnny, the blacksmiths boy, proud in his khaki uniform marched off to France.  A few months later, his family came weeping to the yard even though Johnny had no grave there.

It seems hardly any summers at all after the Great War, that his branches were swept back by a gaudily painted plane sprouting smoke and crosses flew overhead with another firing in pursuit. Now he saw the night sky filled with new stars, all talking to each other as they silently rotated above.
More recently, he was overjoyed when a young family came to stay in the disused church which had been converted to a house.  They played in his shadow and touched his bark in games. And so, he felt the pain even more as the chainsaw cut into his flesh to make way for another room for washing, games and fitness machines. But through it all, he knew sorrow for humans who neither live for summer or sleep in winter but destroy or are destroyed in ever season.

 

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A “Kodak” Moment!!

 

 

Kodak dominated the photographic scene for over 100 years. Almost everyone used their films and the phrase “a Kodak moment” meaning a phkodak tri-x film boxoto opportunity was well known.

What happened since then has become a story of failure and missed opportunities ending with Kodak filing for bankruptcy in 2012. Kodak had not kept up with digital technology.

 

Yet it was a Kodak engineer, Steve Sasson who invented the first digital camera in 1975. He is quoted as saying later, “it was filmless photography, so management’s reaction was, ‘That’s cute, but don’t tell anyone about it. Kodak’s leaders thought they were in the film business – instead of the imaging business”

 

Kodak chose not to pursue digital photography afraid of losing their profitable film sales.

 

It is so easy to get side tracked and lose sight of the original reason why we do what we do. Why I became a joiner, or a social worker, a mechanic or housing officer, a teacher or a gardener. This can also be true for our relationships, our hobbies and for the causes we champion.  If we take our eye off the ball, we can easily miss the point.

 

But there is a twist to the tale: Kodak is back again as a new company, concentrating on a specific market and knowing what it’s there for.  I hope they have learned and like us, will

 

Keep the main thing the main thing!

 

 Written by Chic Lidstone, Industrial Chaplain to Dundee, Scotland 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Going backwards with Starbucks

As I sat in the Starbucks today I had a sudden realisation. For a quickA_small_cup_of_coffee glance around confirmed that I was the only ‘leisure’ coffee drinker in the place. Since in this coffee house outside the Metro Centre in Newcastle, the customers were all surrounded by laptops, netbooks and phones. Business meetings predominated but singletons tapped furiously on keyboards surrounded by A4 pads creating undoubtedly the next… Starbucks

 

It seems then that these specialist coffee outlets have rediscovered the Georgian Coffee House. Actually the first coffee house in England was established in Oxford in 1652. However the idea soon spread to London. In time they became business hubs with no less than Lloyds of London, the London Stock Exchange, Christies and Sotherby’s all having their origins in these establishments. Whether they had the same bored and surly staff that I encountered in Starbucks today history doesn’t make unclear.

 

However, the earlier Restoration coffee houses had another clientele; because in that turbulent era they were the centres of political agitation and dissention. So much so, Charles II was all for closing them down. A reputation they were to reinvent in 19th Century Europe where they brought artist, writers and intellectuals together for discussion and debate. Now if Starbucks and its ilk were do that, we may indeed see a revisiting of something else – fresh thought to go with the fresh coffee.

 

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Locomotion–changed the World

It is not everyday, we see something that has genuinely changed the world. But today I did and it is called Locomotion. Nowadays, it looks distinctly ‘old hat’ yet as Pete Waterman explains, when it was first seen in action it must have been as exciting and frightening as the Space Shuttle. Nevertheless, when its inventor George Stephenson let loose this contraption on the unsuspecting British and hence the globe, he was really launching the first system of public transport. and so in some ways Locomotion became less Space Shuttle and more prototype Jumbo Jet.

Of course Locomotion was the first steam locomotive to run on rails. But what I had failed to grasp prior to visiting Locomotion’s home at the ‘Head of Steam’ Museum at Darlington was that well before its first run in 1825, rail line systems were an extensive mode of transport in Georgian Britain. The only difference was that it carriages and trucks were horse drawn. Not surprising then that the first time Locomotion tasted speed was when it was carried some of the way from Newcastle to  its start up point of Darlington on such a waggon.

Its first run along the Stockton to Darlington line complete with a load of coal and a carriage for the Directors of the whole project was a immediate success. So much so the coal was given away to the poor. There is no record of the passengers being charged at all let alone asked to pay the extortionate fare required today to travel on Britain’s railways.

It is ironic then that despite this little loco ushering in mass travel by train, it only pulled carriages of passengers one more time. The rest of its 40 odd years of working life was drawing coal from the Durham coal fields to provide steam for the factories and ships of the growing industrial revolution. Yet Locomotion’s efforts not only brought in that era, it helped also to power it as well.

 

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Street Preaching – effective?

This is worth thinking about!

The Pondering Alchemist

Well these are my highly critical observations about street preaching, at least from within New Zealand.

People Type A attempt to preach on the streets to People Type B.

People Type A are different people to People Type B.

Too different.

When Type A speak, Type B struggle to understand what they are harping on about. Type A conform to the injection myth which is that no matter what I say or how I say it, because it makes sense to me it will make sense to you. Therefore the more I inject information into you, the more you will hear from Jesus. Thus the louder I preach, the better the message gets.

But no matter how ‘anointed’ we think we are, people cannot make sense of a different language. Hardly half the story spurts out as Jesus is ripped out of his own context. And let’s be honest, it…

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The one age of man

air cadets in aircraft

air cadets flying

Having spent the day involved with a youth leadership day, I suddenly realised something and it is this. With growing years, what is important is not the gathering of further facts, wider wisdom or specific techniques. It is a gradual dawning of how systems, groups and individuals work. For if time teaches anything at all, it is the sense of how to do tasks, how people will respond and why things are worth achieving in the first place. On the other hand, grey hairs do not usually equate to energy and enthusiasm, they rarely bestow boundless creativity and hardly ever inspire that absorbing curiosity which are the hall-marks of the young.

What’s to be done?

‘Simples’ as the advert says. We need to think again in the West of one world. Not just poor and rich, one background with another but young and old harnessed together in harmonious effort to turn our problems around. However, to achieve that would take real leadership and not just for a day.

 

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