Rules for life

  Newsletter 03 August 2021  

Dear Friends,

Welcome to June's MeetPrayLove newsletter

A month or so back I went away with my sister to York for the weekend. She lives on the south coast of England and I'm in Dunkeld. York makes a good half way meeting house. We stayed in a very snazzy hotel near to the station and spent half the time in the swimming pool and sauna and the other part shopping, eating and visiting the Minster. While we were there my sister showed me a piece of social media that was being shared by the daughter of a famous actor who has recently died. The daughter said that these were the 'rules of life' her dad lived by:

Laugh; Be yourself; Be flamboyant; Don't worry about other people's opinions; Get angry; Always give it a go; Be kind and generous; Appreciate beauty; Don't take yourself too seriously; Never give up; Love with all your heart.

I liked this list because it felt 'real' and echoed the little bit I knew about the person. (Can you guess who the actor was? The answer is at the bottom of this newsletter.) This wasn't the list I would have written myself but it started me thinking about the list I would write.

Rules for life – pros and cons

Rules of life are apparently quite the thing at the moment. So maybe it's not that surprising that around the same time as my sister and I were visiting York I got involved in developing another such list. This time it was around the theme that the Methodist Church in Scotland will be using to engage with people at the Solas Festival, which takes place at The Bield in Black Ruthven, Perth 20-22nd June. We have decided to offer 'Nine simple ways to keep Mandela's legacy alive'. These are:

Make the best of your current situation;
Don't judge a book by its cover;
Use your passion to persuade others;
Change yourself first;
Don't be afraid to acknowledge weaknesses;
Get educated -- educate others;
Look people in the eye and shake their hands;
Maintain a sense of humour;
(For more information about the references see

Since working with these 'simple ways', I've noticed a few small changes in me. For example, I was going to a meeting that I didn't really want to attend with some people that I didn't particularly like and with whom I had quite a difference of opinion. But I thought to myself: 'Come on Sally, look them in the eye and shake their hand. Make the best of this situation.' And it helped... well, for a bit anyway!

It will be interesting to see how people at the festival connect with the thinking. However, what is good for the goose isn't necessarily good for the gander and I was surprised to find that another group of which I am part has agreed 'a rule of life' to which I haven't contributed. These things do happen – but I am in the slightly vexing position of feeling alienated from the group because it now has rules to which I haven't signed up. So there you go.

My thought, therefore, is that lists, rules and such like can be helpful and unhelpful. Groups that seek close identity through 'rules' can become exclusive in this pursuit. Yet without identity what is the group?

Perhaps because of these ambiguities I am very reluctant to say what it means to be a MeetPrayLove group ... other than it is more than one person that meets; and that they do something that they see as praying in order that they can try and make the world a better place. Nevertheless, I think that intentionality is important. There are loads of groups out there that 'meet and pray'. Perhaps one of the distinguishing factors of MeetPrayLove groups is that it is about people meeting in order to love: that this isn't an accidental outcome but the reason they meet. Beyond that I think it is for the groups to make up their own 'rules' or 'simple ways' – stimulated by others but uniquely their own. What do you think?

With all best wishes, and hoping to see some of you at the Solas Festival. Please come and say hello ... I'll be in the 'Madiba Yurt' all weekend come rain or shine!

Sally Robertson

MeetPrayLove Editor

MeetPrayLove is part of the Methodist Church and is open to all.

A prayer recommendation

How can a little circle of eighteen pearls make a difference in our frantic lives? Bishop Martin Lönnebo's contemporary aid to prayer has a pearl for each kind of occasion. You can carry the pearls with you wherever you go. Keep them in your pocket or bag, or around your wrist like a bracelet. Hold on to a pearl, be still for a moment, and get in touch with your dreams and prayers. The pearls come in different colours and slightly different shapes. The sand coloured pearl, for example, symbolises difficult times in our lives – times when life is like a remote wasteland. You can buy the bracelet in conjunction with the Pearls of Life book from Wild Goose Publications (

Answer: The rules of life mentioned above were lived out by Bob Hoskins.



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