Take Back Your Life!

Take Back Your Life, by Sally McGhee

This past week I’ve been reading a book about how better to organize my life, and it is fantastic. Take Back Your Life, by Sally McGhee explains how to use Microsoft Outlook, synchronized with a PDA, to keep track of objectives, projects and tasks. And I can honestly say that it works.

One of the first steps, McGhee says, is to work out how many collection points we use. That is, how many locations do you collect information and tasks from? I was amazed to discover that I had 28 different locations. I’ve now reduced this to eight, which is far more manageable.

Next up, download the to-dos that you carry around in your head. I had eighty-one. No wonder I felt stressed, with so much to remember. I now have them typed up in my newly reorganised Tasks list in Outlook.

Thing is, I now have a full In-tray, and a bulging Tasks list because I’ve not reached the chapter on how you actually schedule these into your Calendar to make time to actually do them!

The Church Invisible

The Church Invisible by Nick Page
The Church Invisible by Nick Page

I’m currently reading this novel by Christian writer Nick Page. It brings together a lot of good current thinking and research into why the Church is failing. I included quotations from it in my sermons at both St Salvador’s, Stenhouse and the Church of the Good Shepherd, Murrayfield these last couple of weeks.

The challenge is, as the character Lydia says in the novel, not to tell people about the good news about Jesus. We have to be the good news.

Why do people hate America?

Why do people hate America?The latest in my series of political books is about the current climate of hatred towards all things American, brought to the fore especially by the events of September 11, and the subsequent so-called War on Terror, and the very recent, second Gulf War.

So far, I’ve got as far as the end of the Introduction, and so far I am impressed. This is a call for understanding, of the American culture, which seems its darnedest to become the global culture; of Western European culture; and of Middle Eastern, sometimes Muslim, culture. This requires dialogue, communication, open-ness.

I’ve visited the USA more than any other country, outside the UK. During my first visit there in 1989, when I was 17, I was awestruck by its vastness and enormity. During my last-but-one visit in 2001 I was quite disillusioned with America. It didn’t seem to live up to what it had previously promised to be: liberty and justice for all; I could see the cracks in the make-up. This year when I returned I had a more balanced view. As balanced as it can be in (a) California, and (b) living on Pacific Heights in a multi-million dollar complex! Our visit to Seattle I think helped.

I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this book. It, and Michael Moore’s book, has certainly encouraged me to take a closer interest in politics. Are we too apathetic about politics? or do those in power do their best to make the system so unreadable and untryable that we simply allow them to carry on because it the game is too difficult in which to get involved?

Stupid White Men

Blimey! I’ve not updated this in ages. I read a couple of books on holiday, which I’ll add soon.

Stupid White MenI’m currently reading Michael Moore’s Stupid White Men. Now there is a book that will get you interested in politics, justice and social action.

Parts of it are funny — it’s a very well written book — but other chapters have made me mad, furious, angry, and desperate to do something about the way that us humans treat other humans, and this amazing planet on which we are living.

Following my series of books about America, I’ve also got lined up to read A People’s History of the United States (1492-Present) by Howard Zinn, and Why Do People Hate America? by Ziauddin Sardar and Merryl Wyn Davies.

The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien
The Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

I am still slowly plodding through The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien for the second time. Frodo and Sam’s journey took them about a year from the Shire and back again. It took me about a year the first time I read it in St Andrews, this time it’s taking about twice as long. But I’m still enjoying it: Frodo and Sam have just reached the Black Gates.