Additional e-letters


Selected recent e-letters are included here, with short summaries.   Only the main articles, not the monthly side-bar information and links, are included ... these have all been added to the site pages.


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Giving negative feedback yet improving relationship

May 2004

An introduction to a strategy called "Win-Win Finesse," in a wonderful little book by Dr Paschal Baute which has significance for better forgiving and for spirit in the workplace and at home
Forgiving yourself

November 2003

One of the most important underlying questions which people have about forgiving is "How can I forgive myself?" - indeed many ask, "Is it actually even possible to forgive oneself?"  Answering this shows us an important dimension to self-knowledge.
Is there ever a strength or moral grandeur in not forgiving?

September 2003

When we want to convey disapproval, we may believe it is correct to withhold forgiveness.  Does this belief in a moral high ground have moral or spiritual value?  Desmond Tutu on South Africa's experience, and Simon Wiesenthal's The Sunflower.
 The Godfather Part 3:
Can a destructive man of power be forgiven?

August 2003

An exploration and reappraisal of the masterly and often mis-construed conclusion to Francis Coppola's The Godfather movies, in which the cold and terrible Mafia don Michael Corleone seeks forgiveness and peace.
Forgiving the people on whom we depend

April 2003

It's often hardest to forgive the people we depend on most in our lives - our parents and parent-figures, sometimes including life partners.  They give us our very sense of who we are.  Sam Mendes' magical movie Road to Perdition has some helpful insights.
Pre-emptive action and forgiveness

March 2003

Pre-emptive action, particularly the new US foreign policy, stirs up many reasonable fears in those who are not doing it.   Our mistrust of pre-emptive action makes it harder to celebrate one priceless form of pre-emption - active, unconditional forgiving.  With helpful words from Gregory Jones and Donald Shriver.
Seeing through the consequences when someone says 'No'

February 2003

Ernest Bevin said, "The first thing to decide before you walk into any negotiation is what to do if the other chap says 'No'."  Applying this to the preparations for war on Iraq, with helpful words from  Rollo May, JFK, Rupert Cornwell and John Shelby Spong.
Permanently criminalising someone

December 2002

Myra Hindley, who with Ian Brady tortured and killed five young people in the early 1960s. After her death the media suggested she was beyond forgiveness, asking "Should she have been forgiven?".  But 'should' is the wrong word - the point is that some people could.
The desire for closure

October 2002

Are some of us too eager to tie up loose ends, whether with al-Qaeda or Iraq, or witnessing an execution, divorce, changing jobs, etc?  Can we tolerate unfilled spaces in our lives?   With helpful words from Ron Carlson, William Bridges, and Wilfred Bion.
Forgiveness in the workplace

August 2002

Is the only response to workers' personal flaws or incompetence to sack them? How do we recognise personal worth?  We need to be more aware of the different forms of "communication relationship" and the power they give us.  With helpful words from Bob Ainsworth, Juan Carlos Ortiz, Adam Curtis and Charles Handy.
The grace to change the subject

June 2002

Changing the subject, raising new and more pertinent questions, is a sign of mature, wise leadership.  Yet forgiving goes further, allowing us also to re-examine and learn from the old issues.  With helpful words from Lord Robertson of NATO, Jack Spong and Aaron Sorkin.
Leadership, organisation and forgiveness in the Middle East

April 2002

The idolising of nation-statehood is one kind of leadership, but it cannot bring peace here.   Are there leaders who can put issues in a larger perspective, creating rather than defending?  With helpful words from Desmond Tutu, Michael Lerner and Tony Blair.
Forgiveness: a world of 'both-and'

March 2002

We get a bigger and less simplistic picture of our world from inside forgiveness.  Rather than relying on a theme of unity or oneness all the time, forgiveness sees two dimensions at once - the faulty and the improved versions.  With helpful words from J R R Tolkien and Tom Trzyna.
Creative authority: convening a 'just conversation'

February 2002

Leaders with real authority can 'author' a new beginning for wrongdoers and those affected by them.  They create space to tell our story, and to hear others'.  With helpful words from Carly Fiorina, Henri Nouwen, and Nelson Mandela.
Responding to another person's lie

December 2001

Truth and lies are neutral in themselves.  It is the use we make of them - to build up people and relationships, or to destroy them, to condemn people or to educate and help - which has deeper value.  With helpful words from Rob Sitch and Arun Gandhi.
Taking sides against evil

November 2001

This e-letter received many heartfelt and grateful responses, and is now presented as a full article

Examining the build-up towards armed response after 11 September.  Are some people irredeemably evil - so that their removal or destruction is the only response? 

We need to understand the 'things' which drive people, and oppose or take sides against these things, but if possible not against the people.  Loyalty can be just such a 'thing,' not a spiritual virtue.  But we also need to be honest and realistic about our lack of power and consequent defensiveness.  With helpful words from Jesus, JFK, Robert Bolt, Michael Griffin and others.

Justice : making restitution rather than retribution

April 2001

If our only concern is the 'eye-for-an-eye'  view of action and response, we turn justice into an 'equivalence to crime.'  Retribution becomes masked retaliation.   Some modern lawyers are recovering the wiser, earlier view of 'restoring peace' through restitution. 
When forgiveness gets a bad name

March 2001

The Clintons' departure from the White House illustrates how easy it is to cheapen forgiveness.  It is not a single act, but the power and the personal freedom and authority to live out transformed relationships in society.


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Last modified  16 April 2005