John Lilburne's journal about burnt houses and issues of life and material things.

 

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1541 L Thu 27 Dec 2001

There have been lots of houses burnt down in New South Wales, Australia. One story is on the front page of The Australia today, by David King.

Priest loses all while saving church

Father John Evans knew flames were surrounding his home when bushfires raced through the Blue Mountains on Christmas night, but all he could think of was saving the church he had served for 32 years. ...

It explains how in saving the church his presbytery with family possessions was lost. "Our material things are wonderfully precious but life is more precious," he says after describing the things lost.

It reminds me of the book by Allan Carlson "From Cottage to Work Station" which I finished on Christmas Day. It deals with the material things of the industrial age and life -- particularly in the family. It highlights the tension between the two.

It describes the problem and past attempts at solutions, without really giving a solution. Writing in 1993 he discusses technological solutions:

In practice, though, the promised technological rescue of family life rarely materializes. Experiments in telecommunicating between home and central office have, so far, had mixed results, and have yet to make a statistical dent. Similarly, home-based entrepreneurial ventures carry all of the risks normally associated with small businesses and report the same high casualty rate, a fate usually rooted in undercapitalization. Moreover, home schooling exacts a high structural, emotional, and financial price among families so engaged, costs rarely affected by the available electronic gimmickry.

In the end, there are no easy, indirect solutions to the dilemma of the family in industrial society. Mankind cannot escape the dictates of its biological nature and the innate drive for a stable life within a family. Nor can it permanently tame the revolutionary thrust of industrial capitalism through state power without putting itself at even greater risk. (pages 167 - 168).

I have found it interesting. It seems to bring together my training as an Industrial Engineer, my career in the Australian Defence Force and studies in theology.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 27 December 2001.