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HUMANISING WORK: Co-operatives, credit unions and the challenge of mass unemployment

Rainmaker Books, published 1 October 2014. ISBN 978-1-909863-02-6

E-book £2.49 Paperback £5.99 (+ £2 p & p)  Available from Amazon, Kobo etc 

Does the search for meaning in work matter? – and is it even possible to ask such a question against a backdrop of mass youth unemployment, widespread poverty and growing inequality? Drawing on the experience of the Mondragon co-operative movement in Spain and other innovative models of employment and enterprise from around the world, as well as the visions and values derived from his faith, Chris Beales explores how "work" might be humanised and education and employment made not only responsive to what the Economy needs but also purposeful, satisfying and rewarding for people.

PRACTISING JESUS

Published in paperback August 2013    ISBN 978-1-909863-00-2
£12.99     $19.99    Now available for £5.00 from the author (please email to cbeales@outlook.com)
UK p&p £2.00 (please enquire for overseas: cbeales@outlook.com)

ABOUT THE BOOK

 The title of this book is Practising Jesus. Chris Beales, its author, has had a life-long passion to make a real difference in the lives of ordinary people both in Great Britain and overseas. 

This book tells of the way his faith has changed and developed over nearly 40 years of ordained ministry. He has lived in various parts of England and worked for the Church of England, charities, companies and the British Government, where he pioneered Government's involvement with the country's different faith communities.

The challenges that have driven him are these: how to make sense of God and Christian faith in today’s world and how to live out the gospel in the midst of all the pressures and compromises of daily life. He is concerned to explore what it means to 'practise Jesus', how this impinges on political, economic and social issues, how to relate positively and creatively to people of different faiths and cultures - and how to find effective ways of working together to build a better world for everyone. 

It's not easy. But Jesus never said it would be.

“Don’t read this book unless you are willing to be challenged and unsettled about your faith and the way that it is possible for Christians to make an impact on society today...   Determined to bridge the gap between the sacred and the secular, nothing has ever been off-limits as Chris has collaborated with people of different faiths or of no faith...  Chris concludes his book by reflecting on his life and experience in the light of St Paul, who was also an entrepreneur. I hope this book will stimulate and challenge many people to apply their faith in practical ways in the world today”.

 From the Foreword by Dr Alan Smith, Bishop of St Albans 

Building New Communities in North-East England: Challenging Church and Society. A REPORT BY CHRIS BEALES, WILLIAM LEECH RESEARCH FELLOW IN APPLIED THEOLOGY.        February 2019

Across the North East England, large numbers of new homes are being built. Chris Beales identifies significant new housing developments being built or planned in each of the 12 local authority areas across the region. The challenge for us all is how to “build good community” and his aim has been to lay the foundations for new strategic thinking and action by Churches and others, working with landowners, builders, planners, communities and all involved. 

After a brief summary of the current housing situation across the country and in North East England – and the huge challenges facing Church and society – Chris surveys the history of housing and communities in the region since the first half of the 19th century and then looks, in particular, at some significant developments since the Second World War. In exploring present and future trends and requirements, he describes offsite construction and modular housing initiatives and also some innovative ideas to address housing need. Two workshops were held during 2018, in Newcastle and Darlington, on the theme of A House or a Home? – and these are summarised in the report.

Chris explores at some length what this all means for the Churches and for effective Christian engagement, before concluding: “If ‘Christian Hope’ is to have real meaning and substance in relation to housing and community – and especially new housing developments – it must be rooted, earthed, realised, incarnated in practical, purposeful action. The time has come to put community development (in all its meanings) at the heart of Christian life and witness.”

The full report can be read on http://leechresearchfund.org/previous-fellows/ and on https://www.cte.org.uk/Groups/256884/Home/Resources/New_Housing_Areas/Resource_papers_and/Resource_papers_and.aspx

THE BRUTALITY OF REALITY

Chapter by Chris Beales in  The Routledge International Handbook of Critical Positive Psychology, edited by Nicholas J. L. Brown, Tim Lomas, and Francisco Jose Eiroa-Orosa. Published September 2017.

What gives some people the resilience and strength to go on in the face of huge odds, while others suffer, become depressed and even give up the struggle?  Human resilience makes the world go round. But how do people cope with pain, grief, loss, exploitation and the meaningless existence of repetitive, backbreaking work? The are many good examples of the power of positive thinking, but it is necessary to temper these with realism – hence my title, The Brutality of Reality. I have chosen to focus on the subject of Work and ask: is humanising work possible?  I  use five examples drawn from across the world to explore the question, recognising that too many people feel alienated, undervalued, pressurised and stressed at work, so humanising work is a pipedream, an unrealistic aspiration - and their experience must be taken seriously. I have drawn on personal experience to explore the links between faith, spirituality, purpose and motivation – and the practical action needed to model new ways of thinking, organising and living. In the last part of my chapter, I have used a small survey of Afghan managers and professionals working in Kabul to examine what gives them the strength to go in in the face of great odds and the reality of brutality all around them.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Routledge-International-Handbook-Psychology-Handbooks/dp/1138961434   
  

 


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