Compassion is the fuel for a new economy

Chade-Meng Tan’s talk gave renewed hope to an idea I had for a model economic development and empowerment for youth that promotes the greater good. Last summer I  participated in a course at St. Bonaventure University’s Franciscan Institute. It was called, “Retrieving a Franciscan Philosophy for Social Engagement.” As part of the course I was required to come up with a timely application of the principles which we were studying. The following is taken from a paper I wrote this summer.

“Life reduced to its simplest equation is about relationships. Implicit in these relationships is contract. Most of the time the contracts are implied and at other times in the are complex legal agreements governing business transactions. We live at a time and in a culture that is desperately looking for  a response to life that is grounded in principles that respect both the buyer and the seller. Principles that invite not only common property but value for what we can call the common good? Some might argue that such ideas are too idealistic and that nowhere is there any evidence that anyone has successfully applied such an approach.”

Chade-Meng Tan’s talk provides evidence that such principles are used very successfully at Google. Glad to have found this talk and thank you to TED for publishing it.

[ted id=1113]

Franciscan Institute

Friday marked the end of the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University for everyone this summer. This was my first time as a student at the Institute, but I don’t believe it will be my last. What I encountered was beyond good. I was surrounded by scholarly yet un-pretentious friars, nuns and secular Franciscans and a smattering of others who all came to learn more about what it means to be Franciscan. I took a course called, “Retrieving a Franciscan Philosophy for Social Engagement,” taught by Keith Warner, OFM, Ph.D from Santa Clara University and  the St. Barbara Province in California. The course was more than I bargained for. Not only did I learn how much I didn’t know, but I came away with a renewed sense of purpose in my life and a future direction. I enrolled at the institute in March of this year. Little did I know that I would form lasting relationships with people I would scarcely meet elsewhere. My experience at the institute confirmed for me that I am truly a Franciscan. I got to attend daily mass which was the first time in a number of years that I had been to Mass with that frequency. The Institute revolves around the liturgy and the liturgy revolves around the Institute. We had class on July 4th followed by Mass and a barbecue at the St. Bonaventure University Friary. We celebrated the Feast of St. Bonaventure on July 15th and in between all of those celebrations I learned about the richness of the Franciscan Intellectual Tradition which up until then was only a phrase.

I learned about Peter Olivi, John Duns Scotus, Bl. Bernard de Feltre, St. Bonaventure, St. Francis, St. Clare, and many more. What it means to have a Franciscan social philosophy and be able to articulate it are not just words anymore. I came away with a renewed commitment to my vocation as a Secular Franciscan and a re-energized sense of purpose. I want to thank everyone who contributed to the experience in any way because it was one of those watershed moments that define a lifetime. Pax et Bonum.

Franciscan Philosophy of Social Engagement

I recently signed up for a course at The Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University. It’s my first course in a program of study that could lead to a Master of Arts in Franciscan Studies. I’m anxious and excited. I’m a layman, a Secular Franciscan, and I’m likely to be surrounded by highly educated Friars & Nuns who’ve had a number of theology courses. Nonetheless, I’m blessed to be included in such a group. In some way I’m pursuing a vocation I once considered as a young man.
Our teacher will be Keith Douglas Warner,OFM of the Saint Barbara Province. I’ve never met him, but he comes highly recommended and this course just kind of leapt out at me as I perused the course catalog a couple of months ago. The title of this blog is the title of the course. Dr. Warner included a reading list to our class that will provide me with more than enough to keep me occupied for awhile. Dr. Warner also provided a link to a fellowship whose focus is Social Entrepreneurship. I think this is going to be an exciting summer.