Posted by: jockmackenzie | February 27, 2016


Studded bike tire


READER OF THE DAY #34 – Russ (last name and picture withheld by request). I bumped into Russ the other day and asked what he’d been up to. He talked about riding to work this winter (basically across town) and using studded tires on his bike. As well, he told about how he’d taken a break from work to return to Divinity College and that he’s spent a few years preaching around Weyburn, Saskatchewan. (You know, Weyburn – on Highway 39 between Yellow Grass and Ralph) but that it was kind of out the way and the family preferred Red Deer.

Reading? Well, that turned into a bit a story. Russ complained that his high school English teachers had kind of spoiled reading for him. Once he discovered Cole’s Notes, he realized that the lengthy and onerous assignments he was given could be made less painful using the abbreviated version of Shakespearean plays, etc., so he went that route.

He did say that one of his weekly joys was to spend a great deal of Saturday morning at a nearby Starbucks reading the Globe and Mail – cover to cover. He explained that his wife was unaware that Saturdays have two six o’clocks; he made them both happy by making an early start for a java and a good read.

As with most conversations, the more you ask, the more you learn. I continued by asking Russ if there were a shortened version of the bible, a sort of Cole’s notes. He said there was and gave me a name but I must have gotten it wrong because my internet searches have proven unsuccessful. Russ also mentioned a short book that he finds impactful:

Leisure, the Basis of Culture

One of the most important philosophy titles published in the twentieth century, Josef Pieper’s Leisure, the Basis of Culture is more significant, even more crucial, today than it was when it first appeared more than fifty years ago. This edition also includes his work The Philosophical Act. Leisure is an attitude of the mind and a condition of the soul that fosters a capacity to perceive the reality of the world. Pieper shows that the Greeks and medieval Europeans, understood the great value and importance of leisure. He also points out that religion can be born only in leisure — a leisure that allows time for the contemplation of the nature of God. Leisure has been, and always will be, the first foundation of any culture. Pieper maintains that our bourgeois world of total labor has vanquished leisure, and issues a startling warning: Unless we regain the art of silence and insight, the ability for non-activity, unless we substitute true leisure for our hectic amusements, we will destroy our culture — and ourselves.

Leisure, the Basis of Culture

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