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How to Live a Simple Life

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default How to Live a Simple Life

Post by Dandelion on 16th May 2010, 2:09 pm

'How to live a simple life' stimulated a lot of family discussion this week, as the presenter travelled from Sussex to Devon without money, relying on the generosity of others to provide lifts for some of the way, and asking for food and lodging from complete strangers. What came out was the 'interconnectedness' of humans, and the way in which we try in our society to live individualistic lives (even by being self-sufficient. That made me stop and think!) This has led to further discussion about how ready we would be to give a complete stranger a bed for the night....

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Sparhawk on 18th May 2010, 12:24 am

I must admit for some reason we found this strangely compulsive viewing & I don't know why, unfortunately I think it was a little staged with "safe" fall backs there was no mention of breakfasts which I am sure he would have had in each place he had a bed, unfortunately I also think a lot was gained from the fact that the cameras were there...

I am sure we will watch the last one... I'm not sure why, but the series has definately provoked thought at sparhawk towers so that can't be a bad thing...

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 18th May 2010, 7:28 am

Hmmm. I watched both episodes of this on iplayer after reading discussion of it. Still not sure what I think, actually. The 'posh rock n'roll' vicar bit irritated me from the outset (was it just me or did he look like some odd mixture of the young Tom Baker and Brian Ferry?) - why not just have someone who looked like a normal vicar? or why did he have to play up the bohemian dress sense all the time? It detracted from the point of the exercise.
More fundamentally, whilst there were some interesting points raised I thought the main thrust of the thing was very self-indulgent and rather missed the point of St Francis. Particularly in the second part, he was not finding a way to live a simpler life as much as living off the toil of others. he might just as well have said "I'm going to live without money, so I'm moving back in with my parents."
Rattling on about how great it was to be vulnerable and completely reliant on the goodwill of others and how liberating that was for the soul struck me as really rather offensive. I would hazard that the majority of people who are vulnerable and unable to provide for themselves find it a dreadful and oppressive existence.

Did anyone else notice the slip BTW where he originally said he was taking no money for the series and his BBC appearance was being paid directly to his wife and family, and then later said some of the money would be paid directly to his family and the rest to him when they had finished the series. That struck me as two very different scenarios.

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Post by Compostwoman on 18th May 2010, 10:37 am

Hmm if I appeared in something and ithe fee was being paid to CM rather than me...what would be the difference?

Seems to be splitting hairs to me...presumably he will get the benefit/use of the money?

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Post by Adrian on 18th May 2010, 11:32 am

I couldn't agree more Billy - it was tosh

As a younger man, I was deeply moved and impressed by the simplicity and inter reliance of the Franciscans and very nearly entered a Franciscan community, so downloaded and watched the first episode with some keenness and just spent the time becoming more and more annoyed by posh vicar playing at being poor.

I thought it would be an interesting take on Voluntary Simplicity, something different to the usual televised middle class city folk buying a lifestyle.

Hah, I couldn't have been more wrong - all I saw was a former advertising exec playing at being a BBC style trendy vicar, playing at being a Franciscan. I would be more impressed if he had actually attempted to live a real Franciscan lifestyle instead of this self indulgent onanistic fantasy of a life.

I'm sure I'll watch the rest of the series, but so far, I ain't impressed.


Last edited by Badger on 18th May 2010, 5:44 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 18th May 2010, 12:47 pm

Compostwoman wrote:Hmm if I appeared in something and ithe fee was being paid to CM rather than me...what would be the difference?

Seems to be splitting hairs to me...presumably he will get the benefit/use of the money?

he is estranged from his family CW

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Post by Compostwoman on 18th May 2010, 1:07 pm

Ah...didn't realise that. Apologies to him then.

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Post by Dandelion on 18th May 2010, 8:37 pm

I found myself sympathetic to the expressions of embarrassment/horror when he asked people if they could give him a bed for the night, because although I hope that I would want to help someone in need, I'm afraid to say that I would probably err on the side of 'caution'. This has caused a lot of soul searching and discussion with friends - I think it's a part of our culture (but not a part to be proud of...) to be wary of strangers, and speaking to friends who are well-travelled, they assure me that this is not so in other parts of the world. A colleague from new Zealand says that in country areas, travellers would always be put up at farms, and the far east and middle east have much more of a culture of hospitality. An area I need to grow in, and a discussion which is sure to continue (until the stranger turns up and gets a bed for the night!!)

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 18th May 2010, 11:09 pm

I have offered hospitality to strangers in the past, many times, but if a trendy vicar trailing a film crew rocked up on my doorstep they would receive short shrift.
What would have happened had he not found shelter for the night in an episode? Would he have slept rough? Would he Fork!

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Post by Compostwoman on 18th May 2010, 11:12 pm

I have as well ( yes a bit risky but hey life is all about taking risks....!) admittedly before I had a child....and yes I would not have offered if they had had a film crew trailing them! ...

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Post by Guest on 20th May 2010, 6:40 pm

I think he is a typical vicar as you need to have an income to go forward for ordination. Yet again it is one year only with a camera man in tow who was not doing the same as him - not a "mate" which I think would have worked better. I know Satish Kumar and he walked from India to New York without money but had a partner with him. When he walked around Britain it was organised to have places to stay.
It did annoy me that it would take Peter OJ several years to learn how to grow his own food and look after his chickens properly, and he was hiding some major problems (wife/teenage children/alcohol) which started oozing out. It would have done him better to have walked more as that slow process would have worked out more from him.
But I think it is a series that he is bold to make and am glad he made it. The crucial thing was that he knew he had to give back somewhere along the line.
The spiritual side of what he is doing is only lightly touched upon but it is there and it will be interesting to see the final episode.

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 20th May 2010, 7:14 pm

I thought he walked to Washington and Moscow and London? What was the significance of New York? And whilst he did do that without money (although I am not sure how the Atlantic was crossed, or the Channel without money) was not the purpose of that trip about nuclear disarmament, rather than simple living?
My problem with the series is not the sincerity of POJ as much as the fact that he, clearly consciously on his part and the part of the producers, comes across as a posh bohemian sort and he plays up the little boy lost looks and so on and as a consequence huge swathes of the viewing audience will dismiss as posh twattery what could and should be a very interesting and valid subject.
Given that he is supposed to be living by Franciscan codes there is precious little actual discussion of St Francis and his beliefs.

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Post by Dandelion on 20th May 2010, 10:17 pm

That's true - I had the impression that Francis lived as he did because the church had become so corrupt, and needed a radical change. I'm not certain that he intended everyone to live as he did. I've spotted a book on Franciscan spirituality which OH has borrowed from someone, so I could find out (but I have to read 'Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death' first - maybe this sums up where I am spiritually....)

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The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually. We have learned to fly in the air like birds and swim in the sea like fish, but we have not learned the simple art of living together as brothers and sisters.

-Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Post by Adrian on 20th May 2010, 11:39 pm

One thing that is missing from Trendyvicars show is humility, he seems to think that his passive aggressive look at me style of living simply is omehow exemplary of Franciscan humility, care of the environment and selflessness.

“True progress quietly and persistently moves along without notice.” Giovanni Francesco di Bernardone

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Post by Guest on 21st May 2010, 4:47 pm

About Satish Kumar:
Wilhelm Von Rhomboid wrote:I thought he walked to Washington and Moscow and London? What was the significance of New York? And whilst he did do that without money (although I am not sure how the Atlantic was crossed, or the Channel without money) was not the purpose of that trip about nuclear disarmament, rather than simple living?
Yes true he did go on to Washingston (after Moscow, Paris and London) as he wished to make a deligation to President Kennedy (and the other nuclear power leaders in the other capitals). Whilst Satish and friend walked 8,000 miles Kennedy was killed. He was deported out of France to Dover and he had a ticket purchased by Bertrand Russell to New York. He also flew to Tokyo and took a boat back to Bombay but most of the work was made by his legs. In doing so he was free from his origin and destination....etc.

I think Peter OJ has not given himself time to go through the true process necassary especially as he has a lot of baggage to put down before he can see his true self and start to rebuild from there. To do it in front of a camera doesn't make it any easier! I agree about the humility point Badger but that takes time to "discover". Eating only once a day and being so hungry you sit outside McD eating a hamburger (thought the no wheat eating would go out the window!) is one step!!!

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Post by Adrian on 22nd May 2010, 1:18 am

Ok

So having now watched the trip to see Satish, my opinion has been tempered somewhat.

Mainly by the people he met, I am still finding it hard to find a point of connection with trendy posh vicar, but I did feel that he was genuine in his affection for the people he met. At least he did meet with one of the Friars minor

It will be interesting to see next weeks

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Post by Guest on 23rd May 2010, 5:16 pm

Episode 3 shows how difficult it is to find an answer in the open, confused world. The monks and nuns are entering an institution that can sheild them. Peter OJ, like myself, has to try to walk the two worlds. There are places where the transferable unit of money is needed. And yes he could have asked 10 parishoners to pay his insurance or he could do what we do and work for money only to pay the necassary bills.
The whole concept of only taking what you need I think he did address (I would have given the large choc cake away to a family that needed a treat!). He also did the asking for help and offering help. But the occassion that made him take his hat off (literally) was when he thought he could plant a wood in an agricultural field! And that my friends is where our basis must lie as people in the western world seem not there for the guiding but giving something back to the Earth as more and more is destroyed by and for our fellow men is necassary NOW.

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