Minstrels, monks, milkmen - what's the connection? This book is the story of one man who lived as a Carthusian hermit, became in turn a Cistercian monk, an Oxfam worker and a milkman, and who now finds himself at the age of forty a vagrant minstrel, an agent provocateur for peace and justice, trying to serve the cause of the dispossessed peoples of the world through song and silence, flamenco and his spinning wheel. An interesting rag-bag of experiences in itself. But in telling how he discovered silence, committed concern for the dispossessed, how to make a guitar out of waste wood from the monastery dump and many other things, Paul Baker offers his particular 'Monk's Story' as an example of the kind of creative surprise which most of us have locked away inside us. Above all, the book expresses his own conviction that each person is uniquely and irreplaceably special, with astonishing possibilities for discovery and growth.He suggests that in dispossessing much of the rest of the world for profit, we Westerners have dispossessed ourselves of the less material values which make for a human quality of life; we have suppressed precisely this expectation of being surprised by ourselves and by others, and become afraid to take the road of personal growth. He suggests that the great issues of the present day - to disarm or not; unemployment; waste and recycling: energy - offer magnificent opportunities for releasing ourselves and society as a whole into a way of balance and beauty, of mutual respect and sharing between individuals and cultures. By complementing the book with an appendix of practical suggestions for making positive changes in day to day life, Paul Baker hopes to provide some starting points for other people to discover their own excitement with life.
Of Minstrels, Monks and Milkmen by Paul Baker was published by SCM Press in November 1981. The ISBN for Of Minstrels, Monks and Milkmen is 9780334011590.