The School of Life

The picture to the left is the shop-front of a group called The School of Life

The describe themselves as “a new social enterprise offering good ideas for everyday living”, offering courses, holidays, books, food advice, occasional talks and advice on finding a psychotherapist (among other bits and bobs). 
There is some relationship between these guys and the raggle-taggle bunch behind The Idler.  
There are number of things which I really like about what they are doing, which might take a bit of time to explain, if you would care to indulge me. 
1. They are and they’re not, counter-cultural
Last autumn I attended a ‘blah…’ day at CMS house, in Oxford. The day was lead by Brian Walsh and Sylvia Keesmaat, and centered around their book ‘Colossians Remixed’
I had the joy of sitting next to Pete Ward for the day, and here I must confess, like Jonny Baker ‘I am a disciple of Pete Ward‘.  Jonny has a very long pitch as to how and why this is the case, but for me Pete simply taught me to pray in The Spirit and trust my instinct, sound advice indeed. Anyway, I digress. Pete’s main beef with Walsh and Keesmaat’s reading of Colossians is that it was and is ‘anti-culture’, meaning they presented a picture of Christ who is against culture. Now, IMHO a lot of this boils down to  Neiburh’s models in ‘Christ and Culture’. In the current climate for many in the ’emerging/t church’ there is much confusion about this, confusion which is not helped by simplistic for-and-against arguments, not something which Pete can be accused of. 
Anyhow, back to ‘The School of Life’. This bunch are not simply presenting themselves as anti-culture, which is an impossiblity anyway, but rather applauded what they see as ‘best’, ‘meaningful’ and ‘beautiful’ in culture, and expounded on it. 
2. It’s Liquid 
There are different elements of The School which people can buy-into. There is not guilt element, demanding that people buy into everything, there are just lots of helpful points of entry to support people think a bit more about their own lives and what they want from life. 
3. The mundane is to be celebrated
A good example of this is a group which gathered for a ‘Heathrow Weekend’ (the pictures can be found on the ‘School of Life’  facebook page. This group, facilitated by  Alain de Botton, toured terminal 5 of Heathrow airport looking for the unusual and beautiful in the architecture and environment of the space. To me, this is akin to finding God in the everyday. 
Anyhow.. over the past couple of weeks I’ve found their stuff, and more particularly their approach, quite inspiring. 
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