28 January 2008

Generous Journal: My New Year's resolution

Oh dear, the Generous Journal has gone quiet due to my exile from my PC recently, and also because I must admit I haven't been doing anything generous. Well, no more than usual. I'm still refusing carrier bags, trying to buy local and ethical, giving to charity shops etc but I've not added anything new to my repertoire of generosity.

But - one of my New Year's resolutions is to learn more about the causes I back. Regular readers may know that a while back I had a debate about the effects of Fairtrade with a work colleague. Well, I say debate - I listened to her talk about her experiences in Africa where she believes she saw Fairtrade causing instability and conflict, and thought to myself 'I know that Fairtrade is right, but I don't know enough about it to argue.' It was embarrassing and, I have to admit, upsetting.

So this year, I'm going to get educated. Yes, I will never see first-hand the effects of Fairtrade because I can't drop everything and go do aid work in Africa. But I can learn more and find out whether my gut instinct that fair pay is always the right thing is the truth or just naivety.

I'm going to start by reading a book I stumbled across in the Geography section of Lincoln Waterstone's (don't ask why I was in the Geography section!) It's not as high brow as you might think - it's called 'Eco Chic' and is subtitled 'a savvy shopper's guide to ethical fashion'. While this is probably just a gloss-over of the ethical problems within the fashion industry, I'm hoping it will point me in the right direction to find more material to base my judgements on. In the meantime I'm going to continue with my gut instinct.

Knowledge is power.

200 word review: 'The Da Vinci Code' by Dan Brown

Sometimes you read a book you know you will be biased against. Having had people using ‘The Da Vinci Code’ to attack my beliefs admittedly made me prejudiced. But I gave it a try with an (almost) open mind. I still hated it.

This is a novel designed to cause controversy. The basic story is of a lecturer and a cryptologist seeking the Holy Grail in order to acquit themselves of a murder. Brown draws on legend, paganism, secret societies and conspiracy theory to argue that the Grail is the remains of Mary Magdalene, Christ’s wife, and that Christ and Magdalene have living descendants. I’m sure some of his argument was well-researched and based in truth but what troubled me was the lack of distinction between fact and fiction; the novel cannot possibly be wholly one or the other, and the failure to clearly separate the two could dupe readers into accepting fabrication as truth.

This isn’t my main objection, however. Religion aside, it’s little more than a mediocre thriller. It’s badly written with poor characterisation and a laughable plot. You can see why Brown wanted to create controversy – this book would never have sold as many copies without it.

This Week I will mostly be ...

... in less pain than last week (pulled shin muscles, inflamed coccyx, it's a long story)
... reading 'Eco Chic' by Matilda Lee
... wondering where January went
... buying cat stuff (we're getting cats in less than a fortnight!)
... watching 'A Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy' rented from lovefilm.com
... shopping with my Mummy on Saturday

21 January 2008

This Week I will mostly be ...

... getting the bus to work (bit wet)
... reading 'The Da Vinci Code' - or not actually, can't read on the bus
... feeling ill and achy because of the cold
... wanting a cat but probably not finding one :(
... eating chocolate. Hey, when it's this cold, you need fat for insulation!

19 January 2008


Sorry for my recent lack of blogging! As I may have mentioned before, my evil workplace has banned all personal internet use even in lunch hours, and when I get home hubby is plastered to the PC planning lessons until bedtime. So I've spent about 15 minutes in total using the internet for non-work purpoes this week. I'll try to chisel hubby away a bit more next week!

Anyway, nothing interesting's happening at the moment so you're not missing out.

08 January 2008

This Week I will mostly be ...

... reading 'The Da Vinci Code'
... looking into getting a pussycat :D
... relaxing now that the Christmas season is officially over
... getting back to normality - singing class, youth club, hubby being back at work ...
... eating mince pies and chocolate (leftovers from Christmas)
... seeing what happens

01 January 2008

200 word review: 'Thank God it's Monday' by Mark Greene

‘Thank God it’s Monday’ is a Christian book and bears the subtitle ‘Ministry in the workplace’ which made me panic– I thought I’d be told to hand out tracts in the office. But while evangelism is discussed, Mark Greene mostly deals with your faith should affect your working life. After all, many Christians spend most of their waking lives at their workplace, and wherever we are, God’s there too.

Much of the book made uncomfortable reading, because Greene challenges the view of work that I, and most of my peers, hold – that work is an inconvenience and bosses are to be moaned about. Greene reminds us that God put us in that job for a reason, He chose our bosses, and we should work as if He is our boss. However, I think it’s a shame Greene doesn’t deal more with situations where people hate their jobs and feel stuck – much of his discussion is based on his apparently rewarding work in advertising. A few pointers for people who are not fulfilled by their job might have been helpful. However, it has really challenged my views and hopefully will make me a better example of a Christian to my workmates.