Long Trek

The Kindle is of course going to change our lives.  New calling – new ministry.  Have Kindle will travel so no need to hump dozens of heavy boxes of books with you.  But there is another problem.  All of us love a little peep at somebody else’s bookshelves – to see if they have bought any books since ordination.  And the Kindle changes the rules of that game

Anyway, I’m into the classic stuff at present.  Partly because it’s better and partly because it’s free – or almost.

I’m reading Shackleton’s account of his Antarctic journey.  They set off with decks piled high with coal – drifted in the pack ice through a long, dark winter and then saw the Endurance crushed by shifting ice floes.  They are now beginning a long trek across the ice, hauling boats with them on sledges.

In every sense, it is another world.  The First World War began as they set out.  They have no news of its progress.  No news of family and friends.  No ability to communicate their plight.  No Nimrod overhead plotting their position.  No camera crew from Sky filming for the rolling news programmes.  No hope of rescue.  No hope of safe return other than through their own resources.

It’s clear that they were a group of exceptional people – but you can also see that the challenge of leadership in such circumstances is extraordinarily demanding.  We are used to instant certainties – when – how far – how – how long?  They had no answers to any of those questions