Today we celebrate Candlemas. So I want to talk to you about candles. You’ve got one in front of you. Have you ever stopped to consider what a clever technology they are? Let me read out to you this description of how they work, courtesy of Chris Woodford of ‘Explain that Stuff’:
As well as Chairing Faith in Business here at Ridley, I teach leadership at Ashridge Business School. Over the last 10 years or so I’ve been lucky enough to help quite a wide range of leaders work out how to get better at what they do. I’ve taught the Head of Clouds at the Met Office, the Head of Killing at Bernard Matthews, and the Administrator of Tristan da Cunha. Read More
When I was little, harvest in our church was still about loaves and fishes. My church, All Saints’ in St Andrews, was built with money from the Younger brewing dynasty as a mission to the fisherfolk. Lady Younger wanted to plough the profits from barley back into the sea, to reap a fresh harvest of fishers of men. So our church was always hung with fishing nets at Harvest, and you’ll have your own memories, of churches full of sheaves of corn, windowsills groaning with marrows and tomatoes, and the altar obscured by harvest loaves and precariously balanced jars of jam. Today, our aim is to encircle the congregation with donations for the foodbank, and celebrate a very urban sort of harvest. Read More
The Pope (Retd) is to spend the rest of his days quietly in the Vatican’s Mater Ecclesiae nunnery (sans nuns). It may be that a scandal has yet to emerge, which would explain a little better why this pope really decided to retire, the first to do so in 600 years. But if he has genuinely decided to throw in the towel on grounds of ill-health, he may have just performed his most important act as a global leadership role model. His exit contains valuable insight for those in any sacred or secular profession, particularly where a role has become vocational.
Sermon preached before the University of Cambridge at Great St Mary’s on 14 October 2012
Maybe it’s not done to open a University Sermon with a reference to the rather lavatorial Viz magazine. But had you noticed that it has become a place of great theological insight? I think the God cartoons began shortly after the furore over the Muhammed cartoons. One that particularly stands out for me concerns the Super-heroes, Super God and the Son of Man Wonder. In the cartoon, they arrive at the scene of a variety of disasters, where they have to sit idly by, to avoid interfering with free will.
Of course it is the prerogative of the current age to be arrogant about everything that has gone before. But the seemingly minor and snap decision to drop the existing barriers on Sunday trading needs more thought, particularly as no-one seems to believe the line that this is only a temporary arrangement. The argument to ‘keep Sunday special’ isn’t particularly about Christianity, it’s about humanity. Read More
Sermon preached at Portsmouth Cathedral, Sunday 29 January 2012
The anthem for today is Beati Quorum Via by Charles Villiers Stanford. The choir might be interested to know that, while he was an undergraduate in the 1870s, Stanford was so cross with the Cambridge University Musical Society for refusing to allow female singers that he founded his own mixed voice choir. It was so much better than theirs, that the Musical Society gave in and agreed to a merger, so it is a particularly apt choice today. Read More
You may recall that a chapter on Corporate Psychopaths was included in the 2010 book I co-edited on Ethical Leadership. Its primary author, Clive Boddy, has been attracting some recent press attention on the subject, following publication of an extended version of the chapter in the Journal of Business Ethics. One of my longstanding worries about this very useful identification of a potential boardroom problem is whether the said psychopaths could then use this diagnosis to plead diminished responsibility for any perceived wrongdoing. Read More